Successfully developing a product, even one that is a blockbuster or best in its class, is no guarantee that a company has the wherewithal to remain independent - as illustrated by the decisions of Agouron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Centocor Inc. to be acquired earlier this year. Given the attraction of these companies and their growing revenue streams as acquisition targets, the issue is how companies that want to stay independent can keep their freedom and develop the next generation of products.

In fact, industry dynamics do not point to an inevitable outcome for companies that have reached the pinnacle of success with marketed products (see "Getting Eaten", BioCentury, June 28 & "Buying Top Tier Biotech", May 10). But each member of the class does inevitably face questions about its sustainability going forward.