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TheStreet) -- A desperate, $11 billion Hail Mary acquisition, two botched drug launches, a clueless, tin-eared investor relations strategy, and an expensive and quixotic quest to develop a product no one needs -- these are the transgressions that have earned five executives the dishonor of being nominated for
TheStreet's Worst Biotech CEO of 2011 Award.
You, the readers, (the 99%!) will decide which of these five nominees is the worst of the worst and deserves to hold aloft the Nance Trophy.
The five Worst Biotech CEO nominees for 2011 are John Martin of
Gilead Sciences(GILD - Get Report), Mitch Gold,
Amarin's(AMRN) Joseph Zakrzewski, Al Mann of
Mannkind(MNKD) and Gregory Divis Jr. of
The Nance Trophy is named in recognition of David Nance, the former CEO of now bankrupt and defunct
Introgen Therapeutics. Few CEOs in biotech did more to hone the fine craft of investor bamboozlement and outright incompetence as Introgen's Nance.
Past winners (or should I say losers?) of the Worst Biotech CEO of the Year Award are
Elan's(ELN) Kelly Martin in 2008,
Genzyme's Henri Termeer in 2009 and Dan Bradbury of
Amylin Pharmaceuticals(AMLN) last year.
For the 2011 crowning, I'd like readers to cast the deciding votes. Read the following nominating summaries and make your selection in the interactive poll at the end of this story. Feel free also to post comments if you feel I left off a CEO deserving of shame. I'll tally the votes and award the trophy in a week.
John Martin, Gilead Sciences:
Honest to God truth, I wrote up Martin's nomination for worst biotech CEO on the Sunday afternoon before Gilead announced its audacious and unbelievably expensive
$11 billion acquisition of
Pharmasset(VRUS). A few days later, I sat down to reassess Martin's status. Did he still deserve the sting of this nomination? Or had he earned a reprieve, perhaps even a nod as a best biotech CEO candidate?
I decided that Martin still belongs here. The Pharmasset acquisition may transform Gilead into a hepatitis C drug powerhouse, or it might not. The Hep C treatment landscape is changing so quickly and competition is so intense, predicting which drugs may or not become future fixtures is nearly impossible.