Mark Alles - Celgene

The new CEO at Celgene is stepping into a key industry role

Name: Mark Alles
Title: Incoming CEO of Celgene

Over the past few years, Celgene ($CELG) has emerged as a bellwether biotech among the bigger players in the industry. An aggressive player under CEO Bob Hugin, Celgene helped spearhead the aggressive pricing strategy that created a premium environment for late-stage drugs. And with Hugin stepping up to the executive chairman's job--where he will continue to play the power position on strategy--Mark Alles' rise to the CEO's suite will be closely watched by rivals.

At the recent J.P. Morgan event in San Francisco, Hugin told a group of reporters that there's no such thing as fair pricing when it comes to an experimental drug. At the end of the day, he noted, a deal is going to be cheap if the drug you're acquiring works. And it will be too expensive if it fails.

But that dichotomy didn't slow Hugin one bit, and it's likely to continue to inform Alles on his new role.

That thinking helped drive a $7.2 billion deal to acquire Receptos, largely for a promising oral autoimmune drug in Phase III. The deal proved to be near the end of a 3-year deal frenzy in biotech that had raised valuations to a peak. The big slide came a few months later.

As CEO, Alles will have a much bigger role in assessing values and strategic direction for the company. Celgene's aggressiveness came at a time when a number of Big Pharma companies had largely stepped out of biotech deals. With pharma now looking to see if values have fallen far enough to make some assets worth a pact, Celgene will continue to be a closely watched player. And as Alles sets his own tone in his growing role at Celgene, the accent on attitudes will be influential for everyone in the business.

-- John Carroll (email | Twitter)

For more:
Celgene ends horse race for Hugin's successor, tapping Mark Alles as new CEO
Who's going to run Celgene when Bob Hugin hangs it up?

Mark Alles - Celgene
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