BMS chief promises to stay the course

Bristol-Myers Squibb chief Lamberto Andreotti (photo) has spoken. In his first interview since taking over as CEO in May, Andreotti promises the Financial Times that he'll stick with the master plan set by previous chief James Cornelius (photo)--in fact, he says, he worked closely with Cornelius in developing the strategy.

Ever since BMS cleaned house in 2007, Andreotti says, the new top managers have been rethinking the company's approach. "[W]e said, 'Let's stop trying to look for a model that is OK for others and was OK in the past,'" he tells the FT. "Let's see what's good for us, for the future."

Cornelius called his approach the "string-of-pearls" strategy, in which BMS would assemble its future piece by individual piece. Acquisitions, partnerships, licensing--Cornelius and now Andreotti say they can use this strategy to marry "the best of pharma" with "the best of biotech." As Andreotti said during the interview, "Partnerships allow us to risk-share and build on our respective strengths more than either company could do alone. We will partner for products that require big resources, in primary care."

Worries? Like his Big Pharma colleagues, Andreotti is closely watching the new pricing pressures in Europe. And of course there's Plavix, the clotbuster--and blockbuster--that will soon lose its patent protection. He's looking for "appropriate ways" to respond. Of course, he'll need lots of individual pearls to fill that multibillion-dollar gap.

- read the FT interview