Explaining those valuations

The valuation pharmaceutical companies put on technologies can be baffling to outsiders, and frequently appears to be at odds with Wall Street's assessment of a company's worth (see The Commentary, page A5).

"That's a tough one," said Ron Pepin, director of external science and technology at Bristol-Myers Squibb. "We have to look at the value it would have to our research programs. So a technology that impacts a large number of research programs would have more value than a narrow technology. But if it's a quantum leap in a specific area, it also would have more value. You have to judge it on an individual basis. What might be of large value to one company wouldn't be to another."