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'Earliest Form of Biotechnology'

William Marshall, the president of miRagen Therapeutics and co-owner of Twisted Pine Brewing, is at the forefront of both drug development and craft brewing, says Karen Weintraub at Stat News.

As president of miRagen Therapeutics, Weintraub writes that Marshall secured some $41 million last month to further develop a microRNA-based drug. She adds that the company started human trials of its anti-fibrosis drug, a process he says is "extraordinarily exciting and terrifying all at once." 

At the same time, as co-owner of Twisted Pine Brewing, Marshall experiments with different flavors, Weintraub says. He joined the brewing company, which was founded by a colleague of his from Amgen, about 10 years ago.

"[Beer-making] is the earliest form of biotechnology," he says. "The type of grain you use, the extent to which it's been roasted, the yeast you use, the hops you use — all these things affect the flavor and create an essentially limitless number of products you can put out."

Marshall adds that the brewery produces a lot of small-batch beers "with what we would call weird flavor profiles." One, Weintraub notes, includes five different kinds of peppers.