Even an added $15 billion stock buyback announcement and claims about transitory inventory issues couldn't shift analysts' attention from an increasingly urgent question: What can Merck do to reverse the company's woeful record in R&D?
As Merck works on rebooting R&D, the drug giant has rewarded a pair of its biotech partners in Canada for their progress with separate preclinical programs. This week Xenon and Zymeworks, both headquartered in Vancouver, have reported new developments in their partnerships with Merck.
While it's not a needed blockbuster approval, Merck's clinical crew has claimed a modest victory on the off-shoring front with a reduction in data-management expenses.
Roger Perlmutter is back. About a year after the Amgen R&D chief was squeezed out in a top-level reshuffling at the big biotech, Merck says they have tapped him to run the Big Pharma's research house, which has been consuming $8 billion a year without a lot to show for it.
It's a good time to be a biotech R&D boss. Emerging from the global financial downturn, the biotech industry has roared back with record market values and a steady stream of regulatory approvals. And top R&D executives are seeing that reflected in their paychecks.
Some analysts say that the new CEO at Amgen--Bob Bradway--will need to pull off licensing and buyout deals if he wants to earn a good reputation for an up-an-coming pipeline effort.
Roger Perlmutter appears to have no plans to slow down after ending his 11-year tenure as Amgen's ( $AMGN ) R&D chief last month after a major leadership shakeup announced late last year at the...