Looming patent expirations on key Gilead HIV drugs have weighed heavily on the company's stock price. Martin deserves credit for building Gilead into the dominant HIV drug company but he's also at fault for letting that coveted franchise stagnate.
Multiple acquisitions and partnerships in other disease areas have proven to be expensive failures. Most glaringly, Gilead's efforts to develop its own Hep C drugs have gone nowhere, a corporate embarrassment given Gilead's supposed antiviral drug expertise.
Everyone can agree that Gilead needed to do something to reinvigorate growth. But is gambling $11 billion on a risky Pharmasset acquisition the best idea Martin could come up with? Right now, the deal smacks of desperation, which is enough to land Martin a spot as a worst biotech CEO nominee.
Mitch Gold, DendreonOne year a champ, the next a chump. That's the predicament in which Dendreon CEO Mitch Gold finds himself exiting 2011. The huzzahs of 2010 -- FDA's approval of Provenge, unbound optimism for the launch of the first prostate cancer immunotherapy, not to mention winning TheStreet's Best Biotech CEO of the Year Award -- are now tattered memories. Gold's 2011 has been a living nightmare largely of his own making. He mispriced Provenge, overestimated patient demand for the cancer immunotherapy and was wholly unprepared to deal effectively with the inevitable reimbursement concerns and questions that come with a new and novel therapy. As a result, Dendreon's stock and reputation are in tatters. Shareholders (those who stuck with the company) are P.O.'d, some are calling for Gold's ouster. Provenge, once the most talked-about prostate cancer therapy, is at risk of falling into irrelevancy due to competing drugs that are easier to use and just as effective. Remember when other companies wanted to be "the next Dendreon"? Today, not so much, which is why placing Gold on this list was one of the easiest decisions I've made in a long time. Joseph Zakrzewski, Amarin A stunning inability (or unwillingness) to communicate with investors lands Zakrzewski a worst CEO nomination. Exhibit A: Zakrzewsi opens his mouth to titillate shareholders with the possibility of a lucrative takeout. Naturally, this sets expectations sky high. Said expectations crash and burn when no deal is delivered, taking Amarin's stock price down with it.