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People often ask me how I select the nominees for best biopharma CEO of the year — an honorific that I’ve been giving out since 2008. The winnowing process starts with public companies — private company CEOs are not considered. (Sorry, startup CEOs, you need to grow up first.) Delivering significant value to shareholders is very important. Beyond that, the process gets more subjective. There’s no algorithm, spreadsheet, or fancy analysis that spits out definitive answers. I solicit potential nominees via social media and ask some trusted sources for advice, but the final list relies a lot on my gut and experience. A big jump in stock price is nice, but how was the outperformance delivered and why? Is there a compelling story behind the achievement?

This year’s best biopharma CEO finalists — four in total — come from a list of just over two dozen names. Congratulations to them all. There were two or three worthy candidates who were close but didn’t quite make the cut. Apologies, but perhaps next year.

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