John Crowley (Brendan Fraser) is a man on the corporate fast-track, with a beautiful wife (Keri Russell) and three children. Just as his career is taking off, he learns that his two youngest kids have a fatal disease. John leaves his job and devotes himself to saving their lives. He joins forces with Dr. Robert Stonehill (Harrison Ford), a brilliant but eccentric scientist. Together they battle the medical and corporate establishment, racing against time for a cure.
Extraordinary Measures is a 2010 medical drama film starring Brendan Fraser, Harrison Ford, and Keri Russell. It is distributed by CBS Films and was released on January 22, 2010. It is about parents who form a biotechnology company to develop a drug to save the lives of their children, who have a life-threatening disease. The film is based on the true story of John and Aileen Crowley, whose children have Pompes disease. The film was shot in St. Paul, Oregon; Portland, Oregon; the Corner Saloon in Tualatin, Oregon; Manzanita, Oregon; Beaverton, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington. It is the first film to go into production for CBS Films, the film division of CBS Corporation.
Working-class father John Crowley is finally on the fast track to corporate success when his two young children, Megan and Patrick, are diagnosed with Pompe disease - a condition that prevents the body from breaking down sugar. With the support of his wife, Aileen, John ditches his career and teams with unconventional specialist Dr. Robert Stonehill to found a bio-tech company and develop a cure in time to save the lives of Megan and Patrick. As Dr. Stonehill works tirelessly to prove the theories that made him the black sheep of the medical community, a powerful bond is forged between the two unlikely allies.
Brendan Fraser plays John Crowley, a biotechnology executive whose two youngest children were afflicted with Pompe disease or acid maltase deficiency. In the film his children are aged 8 and 6.
Along with his wife Aileen (Keri Russell), he raises money for research scientist Robert Stonehill (Harrison Ford), forming a company to develop a drug to save his childrens lives.Brendan Fraser as John Crowley
Harrison Ford as Dr. Robert Stonehill
Keri Russell as Aileen Crowley
Courtney B. Vance as Marcus Temple
Meredith Droeger as Megan Crowley
Diego Velazquez as Patrick Crowley
Sam M. Hall as John Crowley, Jr.
Patrick Bauchau as Eric Loring
Jared Harris as Dr. Kent Webber
Alan Ruck as Pete Sutphen
David Clennon as Dr. Renzler
Dee Wallace as Sal
Ayanna Berkshire as Wendy Temple
P. J. Byrne as Dr. Preston
Andrea White as Dr. Allegria
G. J. Echternkamp as Niles
Vu Pham as Vinh Tran
Derek Webster as Cal Dunning
John Crowley makes a cameo appearance as a venture capitalist.
Adapted by Robert Nelson Jacobs from a nonfiction book "The Cure: How a Father Raised $100 Million—and Bucked the Medical Establishment—in a Quest to Save His Children" by the Pulitzer Prize journalist Geeta Anand, the film is also an examination of how medical research is conducted and financed.
Filming took place at several spots in and around Portland, Oregon, mostly at the OHSU Doernbecher Childrens Hospital, Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the Nike campus in Beaverton, Oregon. This was the first time Nike allowed filming on their campus and they donated the location payment to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. During filming, the working title was The Untitled Crowley Project.
In the film, the children are 9 and 7 years old. Their non-fiction counterparts were diagnosed at 15 months and 7 days old and received treatment at 5 and 4, respectively.
Myozyme, a drug developed for treating Pompe disease, was simultaneously approved for sale by the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency. Henceforth, more than 1000 infants born worldwide every year with Pompe disease will no longer face the prospect of death before reaching their first birthday for lack of a treatment for the condition.
The screenplay by Robert Nelson Jacobs is based on Geeta Anands book The Cure (ISBN 9780060734398). Parts of the book first appeared as a series of articles in the Wall Street Journal.
The small start-up company Priozyme was based on Oklahoma City-based Novazyme. The larger company, called Zymagen in the film, was based on Genzyme in Cambridge, MA. Novazyme was developing a protein therapeutic, with several biological patents pending, to treat Pompe Disease, when it was bought by Genzyme. The patent portfolio was cited in the press releases announcing the deal.
According to Genzyme, Dr. Robert Stonehills character is based upon scientist and researcher William Canfield, who founded Novazyme. Roger Ebert, in his review, says the character is based on Yuan-Tsong Chen, a scientist and researcher from Duke University who collaborated with Genzyme in producing Myozyme, the drug which received FDA approval.
The film opened to mixed reviews. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 27% based on reviews from 136 critics, with an average rating of 4.8 out of 10. The sites general consensus is that "Despite a timely topic and a pair of heavyweight leads, Extraordinary Measures never feels like much more than a made-for-TV tearjerker." Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 0–100 reviews from film critics, has a rating score of 45 based on 33 reviews.
Richard Corliss of Time magazine wrote: "Fraser keeps the story anchored in reality. Meredith Droeger does too: as the Crowleys afflicted daughter, shes a smart little bundle of fighting spirit. So is the movie, which keeps its head while digging into your heart. You have this critics permission to cry in public." The New York Times??? A. O. Scott said in his review: "The startling thing about Extraordinary Measures is not that it moves you. Its that you feel, at the end, that you have learned something about the way the world works."
Ramona Bates MD, writing for the health news organisation, EmaxHealth, stated that the film brings attention to Pompe disease. Peter Rainer from The Christian Science Monitor mentions that Big Pharma got a surprisingly free pass in the film and that it will come as a surprise to all those sufferers struggling to get orphan drugs developed.
Jef Akst, writing for the journal, The Scientist, stated that the film is good depiction of the "hard to swallow fiscal issues of drug development".
The film opened at #8 on its opening weekend, taking in $6 million. The film experienced sharp declines and only remained in theaters for four weeks as it only earned $12 million, making it a box office bomb.