Shire Pharmaceuticals: A Study in Exponential Growth
By Charles Q. Choi

It's not every company that can go from $7 million in revenues to more than $1.7 billion in 10 years, but that's precisely what Shire Pharmaceuticals, whose hub lies in Wayne, Pa., accomplished in the last decade. The key to its success? Seizing opportunities that Big Pharma ignored.

Shire was founded in England in 1986 with just four employees. The company has gone from 540 employees in 1997 to roughly 3,400 now in 12 countries. Shire's rapid growth was driven by a strategy of mergers and acquisitions, with eight in the last 10 years. This strategy is focused on...

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