Forbes is cheering the regime change at Merck and Pfizer (see below), specifically noting that Merck looks far more nimble under CEO Richard Clark (photo). Merck had five new approvals last year, which Forbes evidently thinks Clark can take credit for. Given the time that it takes to develop a new therapy, the lionization of the new CEO seems, to me, more a matter of great timing than leadership. Merck has been more aggressive lately, but we won't see the final results of those new moves for years to come.
This kind of report underscores a lot of what I find skewed about media coverage of biotechnology. When new, widely hyped technologies aren't immediately followed by FDA approvals, it's the fault of the companies. When approvals do come, it's attributed to something that happened just weeks or months ago. The time frame for biotech seems increasingly out of sync with news cycles, which are growing even more intensely short. That gap will only leave the broader public increasingly clueless about the realities of this business. - John Carroll