Worst Biotech CEO for 2012…..

Worst Biotech CEO for 2012…..

December 10th, 2012 // 7:48 pm @


There is nothing like a drop in stock price to upset investors and employees who are counting on a biotech ceo to deliver the goods and make everyone not only rich, but also validate their decision to bet on an ambitious little company. But not every investor or employee is a winner, and that makes losers out of the ceo. But which biotech ceo is the worst?

The winner this year is Jim Bianco of Cell Therapeutics (CTIC), according to a reader poll conducted by TheStreet biotech columnist, Adam Feuerstein (see his piece here). He notes that Bianco has been a long-standing nominee for the prize and finally broke through the pack by engineering a 77 percent drop in stock price, despite winning European approval for a lymphoma drug.

“In many ways,” he writes, “readers are (dis)honoring Bianco for a lifetime of investor bamboozlement and self-enrichment. The numbers that define his career as ceo are stunning: total losses of more than $1.7 billion, a 99.99999999 percent drop in the value of the stock and total compensation for him and hand-picked team of executive cronies in the tens of millions of dollars.”

This performance helped Bianco garner 37 percent of the record-breaking 30,239 votes cast for the annual achievement. Last year, by the way, the winner was Mitch Gold, the recently departed ceo at Dendreon (DNDN), which is struggling to make its Provenge prostate cancer vaccine a viable treatment in the face of managerial missteps and rival meds.

The competition this year was fierce, though, as 31 percent of votes cast were for Jon Stonehouse of BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (BCRX), while Stephen Simes of BioSante Pharmaceuticals (BPAX) and Steven King of Peregrine Pharmaceuticals (PPHM) each attracted 16 percent of the votes.

In fact, Stonehouse made a last-minute bid for the award by firing half of his employees in order to preserve enough cash to pay his salary, Feuerstein writes. “BioCryst will also re-focus its research efforts on early-stage and unproven drugs for hereditary angioedema and hepatitis C even though scores of competitors in each disease class are about dozen years ahead,” he adds.

Feuerstein notes, by the way, that Amarin (AMRN) ceo Joe Zakrzewski worked hard at earning a vote-getting finish by taking months to finally launch his fish oil pill and proclaiming last night that he remains open to pursuing all possibilities for building the product into a big seller, which disappointed bullish investors who thought the delay signaled a deal with a parnter was in the works.

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