Valeant Pharmaceuticals is Soldiering On - Pharmaceutical Executive


Valeant Pharmaceuticals is Soldiering On

Pharmaceutical Executive

Pradefovir is a synthetic nucleotide (adenosine) analog for the treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis B. In October 2001, Valeant entered a development and license agreement with Metabasis Therapeutics, the drug's maker. Under terms of the deal, Valeant is primarily responsible for the clinical development and registration of Pradefovir, currently in Phase II.

Although outsiders are impressed with what Tyson and his team have accomplished so far, the mystery surrounding most of what Valeant is banking on has left many on the fence about whether the company can live up to its ambitious long-term projections.

Those inside Valeant, however, could not be more firmly situated on the side of certainty.

"We don't have a flavor-of-the-day strategy," Bailey says. "The three-point strategy has been a theme since we joined this company. If you heard us back then, you would have heard the same things you're hearing today: We have a focus, we're targeted toward that, and we're all here for the long term. Some companies have an eight-year turnaround time. We're already done with that. We're already on to the growth."

Tyson clearly envisions a grand destiny for Valeant, seemingly convinced that anything short of attaining it would controvert the natural order of things. "When I joined Glaxo, they had just achieved $500 million in sales," he says. "Now it's a $30-billion-a-year-company. Zantac was the product that put them on the map. Right now we're a $700ish-million-a-year company. We're looking for our brand-name launch that has the potential to be as big as Zantac."

But when asked to reel his reflections a little closer, to comment on what impresses Tyson about his individual achievement, the man who most give as their reason for being at Valeant at all appears befuddled—embarrassed even.

He manages, "I'm always amazed by the opportunities that I've had—people I've met, places I've seen. I thought the world was 15 miles outside of Ithaca. The important thing to me is that I know where I came from, and if not for a few things, I could be right back there."

When Tyson talks, whether in response to a question directly posed to him or to qualify an answer initially sought from someone else, the room falls silent. His team, mostly men who admit to spending more time with their leader than their wives, listen as intently as if it were the first time they ever heard him speak.

He continues, easing slightly, becoming aware of the opportunity to do what he does best—turn the attention to his team. "If you talk to the people I went to high school with, they'd tell you I've always been concerned with people and relationships. The sum of this company is passion for people and commitment to performance. Most people have commitments, but they don't end up pulling them across the finish line. This team has a commitment to and record of pulling things across the line."

Save a few head nods, Tyson's squad sits motionless and silent—at attention. But the sentiment in the room is certain and universal: huah.


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