The most influential people in biopharma today

Biopharma is in for a transformational year in 2016. Lawmakers are clamoring for drug price reform. Patients are protesting for faster FDA approvals. Patents are under fire from value-seeking hedge funders. And the industry's least-welcome spokesman is live-streaming the whole thing.

This year, some of the fundamental pillars of the industry suddenly seem vulnerable. The rise of biosimilars is poised to cut into pharma's cash reserves, while the once-reliable demand for biotech IPOs has all but dried up. What makes a drug approvable is the subject of a newly heated debate, while the financial wizardry that once made drug companies a sure bet has come under intense scrutiny.

We've put together a list of the people in and around biopharma who are poised to play major roles in the industry's evolution. Some are recent hires hoping to rescue moribund giants, while others are long-tenured veterans trying to steer their firms into brighter futures.

Each is facing a make-or-break 2016 with wide implications for the drug business as a whole.

Can Ian Read's Pfizer ($PFE) deliver on its big goals after a record-breaking merger? How will John Milligan keep Gilead Sciences ($GILD) rolling when its blockbusters plateau? Can Anne Wojcicki complete 23andMe's turnaround? And will Martin Shkreli stay out of prison long enough to start another company?

As is the case every year, "most influential" does not necessarily mean "most innovative," "most successful" or even "most admirable." Failures often change the landscape more than successes, as a few members of this list can attest. And kicking down doors can be more effective than building consensus.

Here are the individuals shaping the future of biopharma in 2016, whether through breakthrough science, back-room dealmaking or outright bullying. -- Damian Garde (email | Twitter)

Read more on

Suggested Articles

Two months of treatment with the diabetes drug Jardiance reduced pulmonary congestion and biomarkers of heart failure in pig models.

Neither dose of the NGF inhibitor hit all the co-primary efficacy goals, and both fared worse than placebo on the safety assessments.

Mustang Bio’s stock leapt more than 400% before settling down, on the news that its gene therapy cured eight infants with “bubble boy” syndrome.