Will This Experiment Work?

Illustration for TIME by CLARK MITCHELL/4G-2

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 the U.K.-based pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline; at about the same time in San Francisco, Genentech, the pioneering biotech firm, 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 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Mullen is helping force the issue with his proposal last month to merge his company with...

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