Alzheimer’s Disease – Race for the Mind

Race for the Mind is a medical thriller that revolves around this enormous socioeconomic challenge and how the medical community and the high-risk, complex and controversial world of the pharmaceutical industry take it on.

The Stakes for the Race for the Mind Couldn’t be Higher:

* About 50 million people in the world have Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and by 2050 there will be well over 100 million.
* The annual cost to care for Americans with AD is projected to be $1.1 trillion in 2050; 1 in 3 dollars spent by Medicare.
* A patient is diagnosed with AD every 66 seconds – by 2050, every 33 seconds.
* AD kills more Americans than cancers of the breast and prostate – combined.

Race for the Mind is a medical thriller that revolves around this enormous socioeconomic challenge and how the medical community and the high-risk, complex and controversial world of the pharmaceutical industry take it on.

Race for the Mind describes the terrible odds, horrendous sums of money, the stunningly long drug development process and the courageous and dedicated men and women who devote their entire lives to helping millions of people they will never meet, live a longer and better life.  The pressure and enormous stakes of the Race for the Mind expose the most noble and misguided aspects of our humanity.

An excerpt from the book follows:

“I’ll prove the bastards wrong!” Jack grunted through clenched teeth.

“Pardon, Monsieur?” said the cab driver, glancing into the rearview.

“Je suis désolée,Monsieur,” Jack said, embarrassed by his outburst.

“Pas de problème?” replied the cabbie, shrugging his shoulders and returning his focus to the streets ahead.

Jack sank an inch or two lower in the seat and stared through the steamed window.  He found himself eye to eye with his own brooding reflection as the cab driver whisked him to Paris-Charles deGalle airport.

Jack Callahan had just been promoted to be the head of the European division of Covington Pharmaceuticals, the fifth-largest pharmaceutical company in the world.

His last assignment, as president of the U.K. subsidiary of Covington, had one-tenth the sales and less than a tenth of the personnel of his new assignment.  He heard that some thought this job was too much for him and was too soon. Many wanted his job.

Some said that Jack would prove the well-established Peter Principle in business, the idea that a manager rises until he reaches the position that finally exposes his incompetence at which point he is hurled brutally back down the ladder or off of it entirely.

Jack dwelled on the chatter he had heard about himself as he watched the shimmering city whiz by outside the cab’s window. Jealousy, no doubt, he reassured himself, and perhaps some anti-American biashe mused.

The cab sped along at a normal Paris city velocity, which is twice the speed of sanity and the cabbie veered, tires screeching, onto the Champs Elysees toward the Arc de Triomphe.

Jack listened to the tires moving over the old cobblestones, the sound from the tires varying in pitch with the speed of the car, humming out the sound of centuries coming together. An ardent student of history, Jack appreciated all the stories of this historic avenue.

He reflected that the cab carried him up the same thoroughfare on which Napoleon marched his troops; the same route along which the occupying Germans paraded into Paris and the liberating Allies later rode on to receive a hero’s welcome.

The architecture and stores along the Champs were now a mélange of styles and nationalities, an inconvenience for Paris considering its valiant but failed attempts to preserve its wonderful culture in all things.

Napoleon, the man whose passion for architectural order in his city even dictated the maximum heights of buildings, would be insane with rage at the current disorder of the Champs Elysees, in which Fouquet’s, the century-old icon of French cuisine, stood alongside such travesties as McDonald’s, Hard Rock Café, pizza parlors, Belgian moules-frites shops, and multi-national specialty stores.   This street, more than any in Paris, spoke in one breath of France’s glory years, its subsequent military defeats and the more enduring surrender to the forces of international commercial warfare and cultural dilution.

Jack could see the Arc de Triomphe looming ahead, a great white whale of a monument that seemed impervious to the gloom of this rainy morning. Jack recalled that Napoleon had erected it as a memorial to the French Grand Army and that later it became the site of the Tomb of France’s Unknown Soldier of WW I. The taxi moved towards the Etoile, a star formed by the eight streets feeding into the great place on which the Arc de Triomphe stood.  Jack never tired of admiring the Arc, and he decided to focus on that now – instead of the harrowing swirl of traffic through which his driver navigated.

At CDG, Jack paid the cabbie, grabbed his bag, and walked into the Air France terminal.  Less than two hours later he found himself on the plane that would carry him to JFK for his connecting flight to Las Vegas.

From the balcony of his 30 floor New York apartment, Shah finally spotted Mercury, his peregrine falcon, through the lens of his binoculars.  It had been more than two hours since Shah had raised his forearm and launched the bird; now it returned on its usual post-hunt route. Shah strained his eyes to see what Mercury had in its talons, but he couldn’t make it out. The raptor disappeared from sight before making his dive to Shah’s arm.

As Mercury reappeared and began his descent home, Shah frowned. When the bird alighted on Shah’s forearm with an impressive fanning of wings and feathers, Shah confirmed that for the third time in as many days, the falcon had returned without a kill.

“Mercury, of what use is a predator that can’t kill?” he growled to the bird through clenched teeth, “To survive, we must hunt and kill. The alternative is to starve or be eaten.”

Shah slowly, deliberately slipped the leather tether through the ring on his falcon’s legs as usual, securing him to his gloved hand.  With his free hand, he firmly grasped Mercury’s muscular body, pinning its wings to its torso.

With cold, emotionless and distant eyes, Shah plunged the impotent hunter into a bucket of water he had placed there if he needed it today. After fifteen seconds of twitching and thrashing, Mercury went still. Shah took the lifeless bird from the bucket and tossed it in the trash can with as much emotion as if he were disposing a wet newspaper.

“Kill or be killed,” he growled as he placed the lid on the trash can and gazed out over the city.
Now standing on the balcony of a similar high-rise building, this one his Las Vegas hotel, Dr. Nathaniel Shah, Executive Vice President of Research & Development for BPL, British Pharmaceuticals Limited, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, surveyed the madness that is this city.  A third-generation Anglo-Indian, whose family in Mumbai had strong and deep financial and political ties to Britain since the 1800’s. Shah’s position at BPL allowed him to afford the finer things in life, but they came with an annoying cost; his responsibilities to his boss and his board.

Right before leaving for Las Vegas, Shah had presented his annual budget to the BPL Board. A six billion-dollar R&D budget is a serious matter, one that BPL reviewed regularly, and with excruciating detail.

He thought the presentation had gone well, but explaining his programs to a bunch of mostly non-scientists who hadn’t the faintest comprehension of what they were being told, had become tiresome.

To Shah, his yearly budget presentation became a ritual akin to a prostate exam: an unpleasant, inconvenient but necessary probing.  On the other hand, with his great track record for delivering innovative drugs to market, the BPL board treated him like a king. As it should be, Shah thought.

Race for the Mind

About the Author:
Daniel Gerald Welch has spent his entire career in the pharmaceutical business – decades of experience in multi-national pharmaceutical companies and smaller, US-based biotech companies. He has had a leadership role in the development and launch of several “blockbuster” medicines; some the most prescribed in the world and others, breakthrough medicines for life-threatening diseases. Dan also worked in venture capital and private equity firms; essential sources of capital for developing new companies and medicines.

His experience leading over a dozen successful biotech companies includes roles as CEO, Chairman of the Board, Board Director and advisor.

Dan travels the world, loves his wife of 40 years, his two adult sons, fly fishing, ice hockey and everything about wine. He makes his home in California and Colorado.

To learn more about Daniel Gerard Welch, visit and to purchase his book:

100% of the profits from books sales will be donated to Alzheimer’s care, support and research.