Friday, September 30, 2011

One-on-one with former Merck strategy officer Merv Turner, on the BioExec Institute

It’s pretty clear from its name — the BioExec Institute — that the University of California, Berkeley, program is for biotech industry executives.
The program of three two-day modules — Oct. 5-6, Nov. 2-3 and Dec. 7-8 — aims to connect vice president-level biotech managers with proven life sciences and venture capital industry veterans. Among the speakers this year are Merv Turner, the recently retired Merck & Co. chief strategy officer, as well as Kristin Peck, executive vice president of worldwide business development and innovation at Pfizer Inc.; and James Topper, general partner of Frazier Healthcare Ventures.
Turner’s perspective, for one, is particularly sought after. He started at Merck Research Laboratories in 1985, eventually becoming senior vice president of worldwide licensing and external research and Merck’s first chief strategy officer.
I spoke recently with Turner about the BioExec program and his views, from the comfort and safety of Big Pharma retirement, of the drug-development industry.

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