Drug Development

Biotech insider Rich Bagger is out, Gingrich is up in latest reshuffle of Trump’s inner circle

Rich Bagger

Rich Bagger

One day you’re an insider, up on top of an insurrectionary Trump campaign, mentioned on Politico’s short list for a prominent position in the new administration. And the next, you’re being swept to the sidelines.

So it was for Rich Bagger, the Celgene executive vice president on leave directing the transition crew for Donald Trump under his old boss Chris Christie. A few days ago Politico tapped Bagger as a long shot candidate for Secretary of Health and Human Services. On Friday The New York Times reported that Christie and his protege Bagger were being replaced by Vice President-elect Mike Pence and his team.

Bagger, reports The Times, will “return to the private sector,” where he’ll presumably be back alongside Republican stalwart and Celgene Executive Chairman Bob Hugin. He remains an adviser to Trump’s team, though far from the inner sanctum at Trump HQ.

The past few days following the election has included an intense look at who’s likely to end up on top of Trump’s senior team when he takes over as president in January. And Newt Gingrich — who has maintained friendly and profitable ties to BIO chief Jim Greenwood — remains a top choice for Trump’s Cabinet-level picks.

BIO included the former House Speaker at last summer’s confab in San Francisco. One of the messages he brought to the conference was that the political system, laws and bureaucracy are an “enormous inhibitor” to innovation.

“BIO has a very strong presence in Washington,” he said at the convention, “and I’m optimistic that we’re right on the verge of a breakthrough that will put us into a dramatically better future.”

That kind of message will play well in Trump’s administration, and will also earn some applause from industry lobbyists as well. But Gingrich, in the words of Science, also has a rather complicated love affair with science that hasn’t always been compatible with his political career.

BIO enjoys paying prominent politicians top dollar to make appearances at its events. But it will have to write off its $335,000 fee (its top rate) for Hillary Rodham Clinton, who showed up as the keynote speaker for BIO 2014.

That investment did not pay off.


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