Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Notes From BIO: Josh Boger Goes Back to Merck

Okay, no, this isn't a news flash. We don't have a scoop on what Vertex' outgoing CEO Josh Boger plans to do once he officially leaves the company he founded at the end of this week. And we certainly aren't predicting that he will return to Merck, where he began his career in pharmaceutical R&D before leaving to found Vertex in 1989.

But we do know what Boger did when it was time to step down as chairman of the Biotechnology Industry Organization: he returned to the legendary vision statement offered by George Merck in 1950, which served as the touchstone for Merck's vision of leadership for the rest of the 20th Century.

George Merck's famous advice--usually paraphrased as "putting patients first"--is not just a slogan, Boger observed, but a business plan, complete with the assertion that the "better" industry remembers that medicine is "for the people...not for the profits," the better the profit ultimately is.

It is also a mission statement for the future: "We cannot rest until the way has been found to bring our finest achievements to everyone."

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