Will This Experiment Work?

A biotech executive with a rare gene for profitability wants to discipline an often rowdy industry

James Mullen and the biotechnology industry arrived on the scene together by chance in 1980. That year he landed his first job out of college, as a chemical engineer for what is now GlaxoSmithKline, and at about the same time the pioneering biotech firm Genentech sold its first shares to the public. Now Mullen, 44, and the biotech industry are coming of age together--only this time it's no accident. As the CEO of Biogen, Mullen is helping force the issue with his proposal last week to merge his company with IDEC Pharmaceuticals in a $7 billion deal that would create the...

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