In 1993, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declined to approve Malvern, Pa.-based Centocor Inc.'s lead compound, Centoxin, sending the company into a near-fatal financial tailspin. Today, after a drastic retrenching, Centocor has recovered to be listed as one of the top 10 biotechnology firms by market valuation in the Ernst and Young report "Biotech '95: Reform, Restruc- ture, Renewal." A new angioplasty therapeutic called ReoPro will likely receive FDA approval later this year, and another product called Panorex is proving significantly effective against colorectal cancer in Phase III clinical trials.

Looking back, company officials say, Centocor wagered too heavily on the fully integrated pharmaceutical company, or FIPCO, strategy. Rather than form alliances with other companies to provide costly business capacities it did not possess, it moved instead to develop these in-house.

"As it was preparing to launch Centoxin worldwide, the company decided to go with the FIPCO strategy," says...

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