So which names are floating by? Bob Ruffalo, Wyeth's R&D chief, who is remaking the organization with myriad metrics, although he hasn't yet completed his turnaround trick. John Patterson, who heads development at AstraZeneca and a board member. Joerg Reinhardt, the CEO of Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, and a former development head, but he's believed to be succeeding Dan Vasella. And there's Jeff Leiden, a former Abbott research head and COO at Abbott, who's now with Clarus Ventures.
For some reason, Mark McLellan, the former FDA and CMS czar, makes the list. As Longman points out, industry loves him, but he's more of a policy wonk now and unlikely to be content running a struggling research operation. Who else? Maybe a few research whizzes who've never held the top job: Mike Dohlsten, who heads discovery at Boehringer Ingelheim. Allen Oliff, Glaxoâ€™s discovery chief. And Marc Tessier-Lavigne, an academic who is No. 2 at Genentech.
In the end, In Vivo bets on an obvious choice: Pfizer's own Martin Mackay, who's worked in research for a dozen years or so and is believed to be the top internal candidate. Pfizer ceo Jeff Kindler may have little choice, though, unless he reaches out to academia, where stock options - even Pfizer's - are enticing.