As MS data looms, Biogen's Scangos makes a key team move

With BG-12 looking like a prospective champ in the blockbuster market for oral MS drugs, Biogen Idec ($BIIB) CEO George Scangos has decided to promote his head of U.S. commercial operations to take the reins on global sales. Tony Kingsley has been named head of worldwide commercial ops as Francesco Granata leaves in pursuit of other opportunities.

Kingsley, a former McKinsey partner, held senior positions at Hologic and Cytyc before being tapped to head Biogen's U.S. sales effort at the beginning of 2010. Some months later George Scangos was brought in to turn around the sluggish U.S. biotech company and he has been not the least bit shy about assembling his corporate team to fit a revved-up development and sales effort.

"Tony exemplifies the high-impact talent that we value at Biogen Idec," said Scangos in a statement. "With his combination of strategic insight and operational expertise, I am confident he is the right person to build on the positive momentum in our global commercial business and prepare the organization for the potential launch of multiple products in the next several years."  

It's that kind of gung-ho approach that has helped turn around Biogen's stock price, aiding Scangos in making some big moves. The Biogen CEO recently announced that he was moving the company's headquarters back to Cambridge, where he can be closer to the R&D side of the business. 

Kingsley's biggest new opportunity could come from BG-12, an oral MS drug that has already turned in impressive late-stage efficacy data and is due to deliver confirmatory Phase III results in a matter of days or weeks. A second win in Phase III, without the kind of troubling safety issues that can dog sales, would give Kingsley a blockbuster MS treatment that could rival or beat Gilenya, Novartis's new MS therapy.

- check out the press release
- here's the story from Reuters