While I am sure some will read this as a disavowal of Peter Kim’s scientific approaches, I do think that’s a little too harsh. I think the more likely explanation is that Roger Perlmutter became available to lead Merck Research Labs for a second time — and that is simply all positive news, for Whitehouse Station.
I do think Peter Kim let himself be a little too wowed by “Fast” Fred Hassan’s “Five Stars” — he drank a little too much of Fred’s Kool-Aid — but just about everyone had fallen under his thrall at that time, as well, to be fair. As that last link notes, four and a half of Fred’s five stars have all but flamed out — they are brown dwarves, now. But I still think Peter Kim is a good science evaluator. That said, I do think Dr. Perlmutter is a better one.
From the Yahoo! News story/Merck press release, then:
. . .“Roger is a world-class physician-scientist with a proven track record of leading large research organizations and delivering a broad and diverse pipeline of medicines,” said Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer, Merck. “With his deep knowledge of the ongoing changes in the industry’s external environment and their implications for how we use R&D resources, Roger is ideally suited to lead Merck’s global research and development. I am confident that under Roger’s leadership, Merck will continue to build upon our legacy of translating cutting edge science into medically important products that make a difference for patients.”
Dr. Perlmutter was executive vice president and head of R&D at Amgen Inc. from January 2001 to February 2012. During his tenure, Dr. Perlmutter oversaw the development and subsequent approval of a number of novel biologic and small molecule medicines in the areas of cancer, endocrinology, hematology, inflammation and osteoporosis. Prior to joining Amgen, he was executive vice president of worldwide basic research and preclinical development at Merck. He joined Merck as a senior vice president in February 1997. .. . .
The year’s delay (leaving Amgen in 2012; silence until now) is very likely explained by Dr. Perlmutter’s Amgen consulting confidentiality/non-compete. He had to sit out a year, to let it lapse. As ever, we will now watch, with keen interest, how MRL views biologics — as that was Dr. Perlmutter’s wheel-house at Amgen. Do stay tuned.