Knowing What You Know Now, What Would You Not Do Differently?
A: I WAS THE CEO of Pharmacia and Upjohn in 2000 when we had a chance to bid for Knoll. I already knew the sellers (BASF) in Germany from some of my previous connections, and I had visited their offices. I also had an edge since I knew the biotech space well. We bid $5 billion and thought we would get it. Abbott took it for $6.9 billion. And now, Humira is the world’s No. 1 pharma product at $15 billion in sales. When Abbott’s acquisition was announced, it was seen as a potential $500-million pipeline product. If I were to do it again, I would still not go over $5 billion. Outlier “gushers” only come once in a while.
Fred is the managing director at Warburg Pincus and former chairman of Bausch & Lomb. He has served as the CEO of several pharmaceutical companies and chaired significant pharmaceutical industry organizations.