Looking ahead, Vagelos sees an epic battle between two contrasting visions of the industry. One is built around a model of diversification, where the big bets will no longer be placed on discovering new drugs, while in-house commitments to R&D shrink in favor of building closer ties to external players, including academia and small biotech licensees. The second is to retain a strong internal focus on drug innovation through continued emphasis on R&D as a key strategic function, with scientists at the top of the food chain. “I make no secret that diversification is a road to ruin, because there is an assumption that these new partners know something special about drug discovery … They don’t,” he says.
Chairman, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
Retired Chairman and CEO, Merck & Co.,
PharmExec.com October 1, 2011