The Coming Week Offers A Question Of… Perspectives — And, I Guess… Scruples.

This coming week, in addition to being the annual goofy Star Wars (Tuesday, see above) celebration, we understand that Merck intends to start introducing Wall Street institutions, and the Main Street investment world. . . to its women’s health spinoff, which will use the legacy name (with updated branding, at right) of Organon. [Many know we have history, here. Going back, in some tangential ways, nearly 20 years — but certainly and directly. . . back a decade or more.]

The new Organon will be a public company focused on women’s health franchises, with many of Merck’s (via Schering-Plough, and old Organon acquisitions) product lines in the newco. And it will have a majority female board of directors. All good.

My personal concern is that one Carrie S. Cox has been tapped to be the outside board chair of Organon. As such, she won’t have day to day influence (as she did, as a top five officer under Fast Fred Hassan, at old S-P), but more of an overseeing, monthly meetings (or perhaps even less frequent) gate keeping role.

And one may hope that she learned from that time, about twelve years ago (and fifteen ago, during her time at Pharmacia) — that delaying clinical trial results on blockbuster products is an extremely bad idea. . . even if the various federal securities laws and FDA Advisory Committees may be tortured to not specifically prohibit such a course of action.

And it has been over a decade. Fred is long silenced. And she’s run more regulatorily aware, more humbled enterprises, like Humacyte, since — thus facing the realities of the post US health care reform world.

[To be clear, I do not wish to entertain the infantilizing canard that she was exclusively “in the thrall” of Fast Fred, in the largely preposterous way Elizabeth Holmes is presently trying to say she was. . . in her approaching felony trial in San Jose.]

So, I need to think a bit about how much of all that past history to recap, as Organon launches as a new company. It may take a bit to hit the right balance, so forgive me if I fall on the wrong side of the line, either way — skeptic or booster. Smile. . . I will be a booster of these franchises. . . but I may be duly-skeptical, for a time at least, of decisions that come directly from this Chair, in truth.


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