Xconomist of the Week: John Reed on Sanford-Burnham’s Drug Pipeline

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week as editor-in-chief of the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Reed also is listed on more than 90 patents, and was a founder or co-founder of four companies, including Idun Pharmaceuticals, an anti-cancer drug developer founded in San Diego by Reed, the Nobel laureate H. Robert Horvitz, Larry Bock, and Larry Fritz. Pfizer acquired Idun for $200 million in 2005. Conatus, a San Diego startup founded mostly by former Idun managers, acquired the Idun business from Pfizer in 2010.

Here’s my account of our conversation, condensed and edited for clarity:

Xconomy: How has the core strategy evolved since you first arrived here 20 years ago? So much has changed since you took over from Erkki Ruoslahti, the former CEO.

John Reed: I was here roughly 10 years when I was asked to move into the CEO role, and then we put together a 10-year plan, which we did execute. We did other things in an opportunistic manner, such as starting a site in Florida, which we did not anticipate.

John Reed

When I first came here the institute was doing exclusively cancer research, and the nature of our basic science discovery at that time was such that we would bump into all kinds of things of interest to neurodegenerative diseases, metabolic diseases, inflammatory diseases. So we decided to broaden the scope of therapeutic areas the institute works on. We now have five different research centers, with cancer being only one of them.

Probably more importantly, we saw the change in the investor community in terms of how far one had to take projects in order to gain investor support. When I first came to town, I started my first company based on a few targets and we really had no idea how we were … Next Page »

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