By Kate Hilpern with information provided the Abpi.
The Independent on Sunday (London, England)
Sir Tom McKillop
Sir Tom McKillop, 60, may have been chief executive of AstraZeneca for the past four years but the Glasgow-born head of the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical group claims he is still happiest working in the lab. "This is where I enjoy spending my time," he says.
And that is where it all began. After completing a PhD in chemistry and post-doctoral research, he started his career in the laboratories of ICI.
Today at AstraZeneca he is grappling with sales that have slipped from pounds 12bn in 2000 to pounds 11bn last year. But he remains optimistic: "No company I know of has faced losing half its sales in a relatively short period, and come through it the way we have."
The main problem for the European pharmaceutical industry, he believes, is government price restrictions. "Ten years ago, the European market for pharmaceuticals was bigger than the US one. That has completely changed now. If you look at the products introduced in the last four years in the world, you find that 70 per cent of the sales are in the US. Something like 20 per cent are in Europe."
Nevertheless, he says the industry is challenging and rewarding, with a huge range of career opportunities to make an impact on world health.
At AstraZeneca, the focus is on drugs for chronic ageing diseases, including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. "The cost of treating an ageing population, if we have to nurse them or have them in hospital, is horrendous."
In March, Dr Olivier Brandicourt, 47, was appointed managing director for Pfizer in the UK and Ireland. He has worked at Pfizer and Warner- Lambert, which merged in 2000, for 13 years. Before joining the pharmaceutical sector he was in academia, researching treatments for malaria and Aids.
"I believe passionately in this industry's mission: to discover and market medicines to fulfil patients' needs."
Co-founder and chief executive Dr Paul Drayson, 43, built PowderJect Pharmaceuticals from a technology start-up into one of the world's major independent vaccine companies.
"Bio-pharmaceuticals is the growth industry of the 21st century, exploiting the genetics revolution to tackle mass killers such as infectious disease and cancer."
Dr Peter Fellner, 59, oversaw the development of Celltech, of which he is chairman, from a small research and development company to one of Europe's largest biotech operators, with R&D focusing on immune disorders and cancer. He is also chairman of bio-tech firms Vernalis, Astex and Ionix.
"People comfortable with rapid change are often well suited to careers within this industry."
Dr Peter Goodfellow, 52, is senior vice-president of discovery research at GlaxoSmithKline. Joining the pharma-ceutical industry in 1996, he played a key role in the discovery of the gene that determines whether a mammalian embryo develops as a male or female.
"For a career in pharmaceutical research - converting biological and chemical knowledge into new drugs - ensure you have a strong background in computational science. …