Jamie Heywood is a live wire of a man, a thin, energetic mechanical engineer who entered the biotech world after his brother was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 1998. Seeing the state of basic science around the disease, he started the world’s first nonprofit biotechnology company, ALS TDI, with his family. From that moment, he was never one to mince words.
So he made his frustration clear when he spoke for the first time publicly about what has been happening to his second company, PatientsLikeMe, which is being forced by a shadowy U.S. regulatory body to unwind an investment by China-based iCarbonX. At the conference where Heywood appeared recently, the Convergence Forum on Cape Cod, the room took on the tenor of a wake as he spoke about the government order.