Biogen Idec Appoints Doug Williams to Head R&D, Steven Holtzman to Head Corporate Development

WESTON, Mass., Jan 05, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) today announced that Douglas E. Williams, Ph.D., has been named Executive Vice President, Research and Development (R&D), and Steven H. Holtzman has been named Executive Vice President, Corporate Development. Dr. Williams will oversee the company's global R&D operation, including discovery research, development, clinical operations and regulatory affairs. Mr. Holtzman will oversee corporate strategy, business development, portfolio management, program leadership and the New Ventures fund. Both will report to Biogen Idec Chief Executive Officer George A. Scangos, Ph.D.

Dr. Williams has more than 20 years of scientific and senior leadership experience, most recently as Chief Executive Officer of ZymoGenetics Inc. In addition, he served as head of research and a member of the executive team at Immunex Corp., where he played a significant role in the discovery and development of rheumatoid arthritis drug Enbrel. Mr. Holtzman also brings more than 20 years of industry experience, most recently as founder, Chairman and CEO of Infinity Pharmaceuticals Inc. Prior to his time at Infinity, Mr. Holtzman served as Chief Business Officer of Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., where he led a series of ground-breaking alliances and acquisitions.

"I am delighted to welcome Doug Williams and Steve Holtzman to Biogen Idec," said Dr. Scangos. "I have known Doug and Steve for a long time and have great respect for their capabilities, accomplishments and character. Doug has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to build and lead high quality research groups and, importantly, to aggressively focus the science and transform promising research into products. Steve is one of the most thoughtful and creative business people I know and has demonstrated over the years the ability to build great organizations and create innovative collaborative structures that meet the needs of both partners. Steve and Doug represent the completion of what I believe is now an excellent management team. I look forward to working with both of them and the rest of the management team to take Biogen Idec to the next level."

"I am thrilled to be a part of this global biotechnology leader as it enters a new chapter in its history," said Dr. Williams. "I believe there is enormous potential to deliver important, differentiated products to patients with neurodegenerative and other serious diseases, and I look forward to what we can accomplish together."

"Over the next few years, Biogen Idec has the potential to become the leading biopharmaceutical company in the world: efficiently developing and delivering innovative, life-changing medicines to patients; becoming the partner of choice to innovative young biotechnology companies; and, thereby, creating exceptional shareholder value," said Mr. Holtzman. "It is an extraordinary privilege to have the opportunity to work with and for the employees of Biogen Idec to help realize our future as a great company and make important contributions to the health of patients worldwide."

Michael Lytton, who has been leading the company's business development efforts will be leaving the company following the completion of select, ongoing projects for Biogen Idec.

"I want to thank Michael for his leadership and significant contributions while serving as a member of the executive team over the past two years, including our recent agreements with Roche/Genentech and Knopp Biosciences," said Dr. Scangos. "I greatly appreciate his contributions and his willingness to support a smooth transition at Biogen Idec."

Dr. Williams, 52, was the Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors of ZymoGenetics from January 2009 until the company was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb in November 2010. He also served as President of ZymoGenetics from 2007 to 2009 and as Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Vice President from 2004 to 2007. Previously, he was the Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Vice President of Research and Development at Seattle Genetics Inc., Head of Health and Strategic Development at Genesis Research & Development Corp. Ltd, and Senior Vice President and Washington Site Leader at Amgen Inc. Dr. Williams also served in a series of scientific and senior leadership positions over a decade at Immunex Corp., including Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Senior Vice President of Discovery Research and Vice President of Research and Development. Before entering the biotechnology industry, Dr. Williams served on the faculty of the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Department of Laboratory Medicine at the Roswell Park Memorial Institute in Buffalo, New York. He holds a Ph.D. in Physiology from the State University of New York at Buffalo, Roswell Park Memorial Institute Division and a B.S. magna cum laude in Biological Sciences from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

Mr. Holtzman, 56, joins Biogen Idec from Infinity Pharmaceuticals, where he was a founder, the first employee and, most recently, Executive Chair of Infinity's Board of Directors. From the company's founding in 2001 through 2009, Mr. Holtzman served as Infinity's Founding Chair and CEO. He will continue as Infinity's non-executive Chair. From 1994 until 2001, Mr. Holtzman was Chief Business Officer at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, now a subsidiary of Takeda, a pioneer in the field of genetics and genomics. He was also a co-founder, the first employee, member of the Board of Directors, and Executive Vice President at DNX Corporation, formerly Embryogen, Inc., the first commercial enterprise devoted to the development of agricultural, biomedical, and pharmaceutical applications of transgenic animal technology. Mr. Holtzman co-founded and, from 1995 to 2000, was the Co-Chair of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) Bioethics Committee. From 1996 to 2001, he served as a presidential appointee to the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, the principal advisory body to the President and Congress on ethical issues in the biomedical and life sciences. He is a member of the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee of the Berklee College of Music. Mr. Holtzman received his B.A in Philosophy from Michigan State University and his B.Phil. graduate degree in Philosophy from Oxford University, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar.

About Biogen Idec

Biogen Idec uses cutting-edge science to discover, develop, manufacture and market biological products for the treatment of serious diseases with a focus on neurological disorders. Founded in 1978, Biogen Idec is the world's oldest independent biotechnology company. Patients worldwide benefit from its leading multiple sclerosis therapies, and the company generates more than $4 billion in annual revenues. For product labeling, press releases and additional information about the company, please visit

Suggested Articles

Paragon Biosciences has hired Kerensa Jimenez as the new CEO of its capital markets group Paragon Health Capital.

Regeneron has taken a step closer to getting a green light for its experimental high cholesterol drug as the FDA allows a swift review of evicanumab.

An analysis of Gilead’s remdesivir clinical trials found the studies “failed to provide equal representation of Black, Latinx and Native Americas."