NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With voting now open for the Best and Worst Biotech CEOs of 2014, @NiellsenEllie was curious about past winners (or losers) of this most illustrious award. It's an interesting group. Even more interesting is taking a look at what happened to them after winning their awards.
Last May, Meldrum persuaded Danish drug firm Lundbeck to fork over $100 million upfront in exchange for European commercial rights to Myriad's experimental Alzheimer's disease drug Flurizan. It wasn't the biggest licensing deal of the year, but certainly the most well timed since a bit more than one month later, Flurizan was gone, the victim of a failed phase III study. Unfortunately for Lundbeck, that $100 million payment to Myriad was non-refundable. Myriad lost Flurizan, which didn't really matter since very few investors thought it had any chance of working anyway, but the company got to keep the $100 million, which essentially recouped the cost of the phase III study. Some might call Meldrum's deal making dumb luck. I call it brilliant. Myriad Genetics was already under pressure from investors to stop spending heavily on drug development, including Flurizan, because it was muzzling profits in the company's fast-growing genetic cancer testing business.
In an incredibly strong year for all the big-cap biotech stocks, Hugin steered Celgene to the top of the heap. The multiple myeloma drug Revlimid remains Celgene's most important profit driver, but the company did well to diversify in 2013. Pomalyst, Abraxane and apremilast were all big winners for the company this year. Under Hugin's direction, Celgene also signed a large number of drug development partnerships for early-stage compounds, which makes the company a player in emerging technologies.
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