Biogen is in the midst of a wide-ranging reorganization that will send more than 800 employees out the door, but the company isn't backing away from its penchant for high-risk R&D, pressing forward with a pipeline focused on first-in-class therapies.
Biogen is laying off 11% of its workforce and pulling the plug on a handful of pipeline projects, cutting deep into its infrastructure amid mounting pressure and turning its attention to some high-risk R&D programs.
This year's Fierce 15 companies are all working on big ideas such as cutting-edge patient monitoring, smartphone-based imaging, biodegradable valves and vessels, more accurate knee implants, intestinal ablation to treat diabetes, energy-delivering angioplasty balloons, an implantable cell-based pancreas replacement, and connected asthma inhalers as well as the consumerization of health devices and diagnostics.
Days after Gilead Sciences spurred a wave of buyout rumors with its effort to bring in $10 billion, Biogen laid out plans to raise $6 billion of its own, providing few details as it looks to bolster its cash position.
After suffering back-to-back R&D and franchise setbacks, Biogen is beefing up its pipeline with a late-stage autoimmune drug, handing over $60 million in cash and promising up to $484 million in milestones to complete the pact with Mitsubishi Tanabe.
Biogen is working with Columbia University Medical Center to build a database of genes and clinical traits from 1,500 people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The project, which is partly funded by cash raised in the Ice Bucket Challenge, is intended to help Biogen understand how genes contribute to different forms of ALS.
Biogen's 6-mg dose of its closely watched Alzheimer's drug aducanumab failed to deliver what the Big Biotech and anxious analysts were hoping to see, falling short of clinical significance on two key measures of efficacy that would have pointed toward a clear path ahead in a pivotal study.
Biogen and Eli Lilly, two drugmakers making big bets in Alzheimer's disease, are set to present clinical data on a pair of much-scrutinized projects with potential to change the industry's approach to the field.
The year's 10 highest-paid development executives pulled in $124.4 million in total compensation, a roughly 35% jump over 2013's top earners. And while each entrant benefited from meeting individual company goals, the whole group benefited from biopharma's macroeconomic moment in the sun, as the value of stock awards skyrocketed alongside the industry index.
Samsung Bioepis, a joint venture between the South Korean conglomerate and Biogen, is planning a jump to the Nasdaq with eyes on raising cash to market cheaper copies of blockbuster biologics.