Exelixis CEO Takes Biogen Gig, What Drives Brook Byers Crazy, The Mission Bay Biotech Cluster, & More Bay Area Life Sciences News

Xconomy San Francisco — 

There was some feisty commentary this week on the site to go with a couple big personnel moves right before the holiday weekend.

—Exelixis CEO George Scangos built that company’s reputation around a productive R&D pipeline, and now he’s taking on the big challenge of fixing the R&D engine at Cambridge, MA-based Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB). My Boston colleague Ryan McBride got some good color on this move from Scangos and Biogen chairman Bill Young, while I wrote a short piece on Michael Morrissey getting promoted to replace Scangos at the helm of Exelixis (NASDAQ: EXEL).

—We keep hearing about all the biotech startups emerging in San Francisco’s Mission Bay district, but who are they, and what are they doing? I took a stab at those questions by assembling a directory of as many of these startups as I could find in time for my deadline. If you know of any companies in the Mission Bay area that we should add, just send me a note at [email protected]

—Want to know what drives Brook Byers, the legendary venture capitalist, up a wall? Read what he had to say at a QB3/BayBio event this week about the state of biotech innovation, the FDA, President Obama, and the New York Times.

Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD), the Foster City, CA-based biotech giant, said it has agreed to acquire Branford, CT-based CGI Pharmaceuticals for as much as $120 million. CGI is developing small-molecule drugs for inflammatory diseases.

Roger Longman, the CEO of Real Endpoints, made an interesting argument last week at a private event in Seattle about how biotech and pharma companies need to start thinking more seriously about measuring the value their products can deliver to the healthcare system if they want insurers to keep writing checks. This is hard stuff to measure, and the insurers don’t always agree on what’s important, but the message is that running a clinical trial to win FDA approval just isn’t enough anymore.

John Walker, the CEO of South San Francisco-based iPierian, offered up a guest editorial on what VCs and entrepreneurs should do to create a more stable environment for innovation in the Bay Area. He didn’t pull any punches in his critique of the incrementalism he sees infecting a lot of investors.