Bob Duggan - Pharmacyclics

A happy billionaire demonstrates what biotech innovation is worth these days

Name: Bob Duggan
Title: Former CEO, Pharmacyclics

Bob Duggan probably knows more about getting value out of a biotech asset than just about any other executive in the industry. And he's been an influential player in the great game of dealmaking, which he helped make into one of the highest stakes contests on the planet.

Duggan's dealmaking skills--and influence--were on full display when he struck a $975 million partnership pact with industry giant Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ). J&J, as he likes to tell people with a laugh these days, wasn't his first pick as a partner. But by choosing to go with Paul Stoffels' team, he helped spotlight the big role that J&J expected to play in oncology. Their success developing Imbruvica helped prove that J&J knew how to pick the right program and set Duggan on a path to becoming a biotech billionaire in his own right. AbbVie's ($ABBV) recent deal to buy Duggan's company for $21 billion also set the high-water mark for what a pharma company will pay these days for the right biotech asset--which says a lot in these feverish times.

AbbVie CEO Rick Gonzalez was wooed into the bidding after having dinner with Duggan. He ended up going from zero to $21 billion in 48 hours of intense--some say a bit too intense--bidding, with J&J and evidently Pfizer ($PFE) in on the auction. That's $261.25 a share, twice what it was worth when the whole process began.

Duggan not only looked out for his personal net worth, but Bloomberg reported after the fact that the biotech CEO also made sure his top staff had jobs after the dust settled. It's that kind of personal relationship that earned him the obvious loyalty of his senior crew, which would prove enormously helpful as he steered the company to a breakthrough drug designation, plaudits for his senior staff, and a landmark M&A deal.

Duggan's management of Pharmacyclics is a case study in creating value and magnifying it. CEOs will be following his lead, or trying to, for years to come.

-- John Carroll (email | Twitter)

For more:
Surprised, stunned and supportive: Analysts assess AbbVie's $21B Pharmacyclics deal
Pharmacyclics chief puts his staff in training to be geniuses
J&J, Pharmacyclics and the future of Big Pharma dealmaking

Bob Duggan - Pharmacyclics
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