Director’s Corner

March 8, 2018

How not to do it? Mastering (or not) the hyperbole

In an age of incredible scientific advances and breakthroughs, it appears that the claims and hype may be progressing even more rapidly. Adam Feuerstein and Damian Garde at STAT very effectively highlight an example. Where are the days when the data spoke for themselves?
Jim Audia

Biotech is full of chest-thumping press releases. This one thumps really hard

STAT   |   by ADAM FEUERSTEIN and DAMIAN GARDE   |   March 1, 2018


Bantu, a Silverback gorilla, hits its chest at the Chapultepec zoo in Mexico City on January 09, 2014. Photo credit: OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images

It takes a lot more than a ho-hum, $100 million check to stand out in a biotech startup world awash in easy money.

You need a hyperbolic, chest-thumping press release. A pile of adverbs and adjectives helps. Include a quote from a Very. Important. Venture Capitalist. And by all means, make promises about how your drug will change life as we know it, even though it’s never passed through an actual human being.

Or, just copy what Rubius Therapeutics did on Thursday. We annotated its latest check-cashing press release.


Adapted (with modifications) from STAT, by Adam Feuerstein @adamfeuerstein and Damian Garde @damiangarde, published on March 1, 2018.