To justify Amgen's $16 billion acquisition of Immunex, Sharer has to increase sales of this rheumatoid arthritis drug from less than $1 billion today to $3 billion. But supply constraints could cause Enbrel to continue to lose market share to Remicade, J&J's rival drug.
This anemia drug began competing head-to-head with J&J's popular Procrit in September. J&J has spent $77.5 million on an ad blitz designed to fend off Aranesp. For the first time, Amgen will have to try to win over consumers directly through TV and print advertising.
Too much focus on marketing could put Amgen's new-drug pipeline at risk. Sharer has to winnow discoveries so resources can be devoted to developing those drugs with the most potential. And he'll have to look outside the company for promising discoveries that Amgen can license and develop.