Genentech & Abbott CEOs Roar


Art Levinson and Miles White are "Kings of the Jungle." At least Barron's thinks they are. The weekly investment periodical picked the pair as the only two from biopharma to make its annual list of the "30 Most Respected CEOs."

Barron's says White is "producing just what the doctor ordered." Cliche, perhaps, but the editors praised Miles and ABT for over the past three-year and five-year periods having "delivered the best stock performance among all of its Big Pharma peers."

They picked Levinson for his "labs of lucre." I'm not sure how the reason for the distinction will sit with Levinson or, for that matter, with people outside the investment community and inside the cancer community, but there it is. Barron's cites the $95-a-share takeout of DNA by Roche. "That is double the biotech industry multiple and a tribute to the research productivity that Levinson famously cultivated," Bill Alpert writes. He goes on to point out that Levinson's future at the company is up in the air, but that Roche wants him and his A-team to hang around.

Coincidentally, the "Pharma's Market" inbox got an anonymous email over the weekend. It was signed, "A Genentech Employee (Name withheld by request)." Art, could it be you? Kidding.

The subject line was, "Genentech Employee Fights Back." The two-page missive addressed as "An Open Letter to Genentech (DNA) Shareholders" somehow jumps from the Roche deal to the federal bank bailout, but mostly urges investors not to take the $95 and to instead wait for the results of the Avastin study on colon cancer to come out next month. "You are still the only ones who can decide to allow Genentech to be absorbed into the morass of Big Pharma," the unidentified person who claims to be a Genentech employee wrote. If indeed the writer works for Genentech, I get that he/she may not want to show themselves for fear Roche probably won't want to keep them around for very much longer, but on the other hand, if you're serious about putting up a fight it takes more than a rambling email to the news media (for some bizarre reason, the person apparently put it on a Bill Maher message board.)

Anyway, kudos to Miles and Art.

And, not to sound like a broken record or anything, still hoping for that interview Mr. Levinson, sir.

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