Two high-profile biotech CEOs assess impact of reform bill

Two of biotechnology's highest-profile CEOs--one on the way out of his job and the other enduring troubled times--took a moment to reflect on the industry's future in light of the new healthcare reform measure. And they highlighted some starkly contrasting views.

Jim Mullen (photo), scheduled to leave his job as CEO of Biogen Idec in June after coming under fire from Wall Street raider Carl Icahn, told the annual meeting of MassBio that healthcare will "look a lot like the European system" from now on.

"The environment to launch new products... is going to be tougher, the pricing is going to be tougher, the probability (of drug approvals) is probably going to be more challenging," Mullen added, according to a report by the Boston Globe's Robert Weisman.

Genzyme CEO Henri Termeer (photo), who's also been feeling the lash of Carl Icahn recently, took a dramatically different stance, though. He saw the 12-year biotech haven for data exclusivity as a big boon likely to spur fresh investments in the field. And a new tax credit could help a host of start-ups.

The reform bill didn't focus on the cost of innovation, Termeer added. "It focused on the cost of access. In fact, you could say that innovation was somewhat talked about in a kind of benevolent way. There was support for the need to be able to take the risks that are necessary. This (Obama) administration is actually interested in innovation."

- here's the story from the Boston Globe