The 25 most influential people in biopharma today

The anatomy of influence

On Tuesday, GlaxoSmithKline's Andrew Witty kept two promises he had made to investors and the pharma industry. GSK completed its three-year review of its drug development units, triggering a shake-up as the pharma giant reapportioned its 3.7 billion euro budget to back its most successful groups. And the company boosted its return on investment for late-stage development work, pushing the rate from 11% to 12% as Witty aims at the 14% mark.

Those numbers--which will be studied by every CEO in the industry--reflect what makes Witty one of the most influential players in the biopharma business. He's one of our 25 picks this year, our first look at the movers and shakers around the globe who are pioneering new ideas and pushing for progress in one of the slowest, least productive industries the world has ever seen.

It's no secret that despite a spike in FDA approvals, the biopharma industry has been going through a long and devastating innovation drought. The low rate of new drug approvals threatens the very existence of the pharma business as we know it. Only leaders who can buck that trend--and create one of their own--will survive.

It's against that backdrop that FierceBiotech and FiercePharma present a look at the newsmakers who promise to blaze a trail for others to follow. And it's not just a listing of CEOs. Our report includes an R&D revolutionary, a woman who built her own sizable venture in India, research executives busily mapping new R&D strategies, a developer-turned-university chancellor who has her own views on the brave new world to come and where academics fit into it, along with several others.

I wrote part of this report, with Suzanne Elvidge, Mark Hollmer, Ryan McBride and Tracy Staton shouldering the bulk of the work. I'd like some feedback here from readers for next year, when we'll be back with another annual report on influentials. - John Carroll, editor-in-chief (email | twitter) See the report >>