Lilly CEO vows to steer clear of Abbott, stick with deals and alliances

Eli Lilly ($LLY) had a fresh blast of bad news to report today when it announced that an absence of efficacy data is forcing it to withdraw Xigris from the market. But don't expect problems either on the market or in the clinic to dissuade CEO John Lechleiter from his chosen business development path. When a Bloomberg reporter caught up with him recently to gauge his interest in part of the Abbott ($ABT) assets being split into two new companies, he quickly dismissed the idea.

"We don't believe large-scale combinations like that will add value for Lilly," John Lechleiter told the business news group. "We remain focused on our strategy, which includes smaller deals and alliances."

Ever since Abbott decided to split its conglomerate pharma analysts have been engaged in an extravaganza of speculation about which companies might be interested in swooping in to pick up some of the pieces. Roche execs have also sworn off making any kind of offer for parts of Abbott, making the pool of potential bidders quite small.

Lechleiter, of course, has been outspoken in his belief that the company has the resources at hand to intelligently advance new drugs to the market. And he's only shown an interest in relatively small pacts to bring in fresh prospects.

Some day that strategy may change. But Lechleiter clearly won't budge. In the meantime, Richard Gonzalez might well get his shot at running an independent pharma company with some ambitious late-stage development plans and a considerable amount of annual revenue to dicker with.

- here's the brief from Bloomberg