The demise of biotech

AccCIO-Yikes-300x203POST SUMMARY:  Over the holiday week I had the chance to catch up with some business colleagues over a beer and great Boston seafood appetizers.  If you want an example how big pharma mentality can kill innovative biotech companies, look no further than the examples of Biogen and Amgen.

Amgen, at one time, was a great biotech company thriving on science and the strength of their people.  Their decline happened when they hired a CEO who had an investment bank background followed by an influx of people from BMS and J&J.  Soon after innovation was replaced by petty corporate politics and all the people who made Amgen great soon left or were given pink slips replaced by recycled big pharma people who were bringing in all their cronies.

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Then there is Biogen Idec.  There was a time when I would have loved to work for such a great biotech company, but that was before the influx of big pharma people (see the parallel here?).  According to people that I have talked with and the posts on Cafe Pharma Biogen has transformed itself into an organization modeled after big pharma.  Their DTC ad on one of their MS products is among some of the worst that  have seen, and even some recruiters are saying that Biogen has a level of arrogance they have never seen.

If you read the reports on what’s wrong with the pharma industry, most pinpoint organizational issues that are both outdated and dysfunctional.  At a time when game changing, people are needed management seems more concerned about the balance sheet than hiring people who can rock the boat to ensure innovative thinking.  What is so alarming to me is that I have seen an exodus of talent from both companies and while employee turnover is to be expected, no company can survive losing their best people.

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