Good Science Doesn't Guarantee Profitability

[Editor's note: The following interview with Robert Teitelman took place on March 5, 1990, one month after Genentech Inc., a pioneer in the biotechnology industry, sold a controlling stake in the company to Roche Holding, Ltd., the Swiss parent of drug giant Hoffmann-La-Roche & Co. Teitelman, a senior editor at Institutional Investor, talked with Julia King, a contributing editor of The Scientist.] Q Who's managing today's biotechnology industry? Scientists or big business? A Early on it

Julia King
Apr 1, 1990

[Editor's note: The following interview with Robert Teitelman took place on March 5, 1990, one month after Genentech Inc., a pioneer in the biotechnology industry, sold a controlling stake in the company to Roche Holding, Ltd., the Swiss parent of drug giant Hoffmann-La-Roche & Co. Teitelman, a senior editor at Institutional Investor, talked with Julia King, a contributing editor of The Scientist.]

Q Who's managing today's biotechnology industry? Scientists or big business?

A Early on it was the scientists. There was a strong base of scientists at the top. It began to change in the mid-1980s, when financing became a problem. Wall Street wanted managers. The classic case was the removal of Walter Gilbert - a Nobel Prize winner - at Biogen. That was 1984 or 1985, [when] it was clear that the company was losing tons of money, and they had lost a series of races to...

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