Influence is a fungible asset.
A lot of cash on hand can help tremendously, of course. But at this stage, who in this business hasn't seen billions incinerated in pursuit of sheer folly? Far more influential is the savvy executive who can marshal experts as well as financial resources in pursuit of a smarter, better, faster way to develop and market important new drugs.
And intelligent research strategies are far more rare than we acknowledge.
You'll find some here in our second annual report on the 25 most influential people in the industry (find last year's report here).
Success also helps achieve influence, but this isn't a roster of who had the most new drugs approved or earned the biggest bonus. We've singled out the men and women who have made their impact felt on a broad number of industry players. So that means including an experienced R&D executive who started as a clinical scientist and today helps point the way for all developers when it comes to new and better cancer drugs. There's a regulator whose influence has been felt at every company planning to market a major new drug in the next 10 years. Showing leadership in research as well as commercialization--rarely seen in any one executive--helped one CEO get on the list after 25 years of patient labor.
One magnate can shift a new technology into the spotlight with little more than a smile and a nod. Another looks to create the national foundation for biotech, with an eye to building an industry for a generation by focusing on some of the most audacious cutting-edge research in the world. Several CEOs made the list by adopting a particularly aggressive strategy, moves that have improved valuations for many companies while raising the ante for others to play in some of the biggest games in drug research. And by single-mindedly focusing on assets, several have influenced a generation of executives looking for a winning strategy.
Some of these influentials are smooth. Others are rough. All of them will have to be reckoned with in one way or another.
Ignore them at your own peril.
I hope you enjoy this list, which we have organized alphabetically by last name. If you have someone we should consider for next year, I encourage you to drop me a line.
-- John Carroll (email | Twitter)