Biogen scouting for new hematology programs to buy, license

Biogen Idec's new CEO, George Scangos (photo), is prepared to bring out the company's check book to build up its franchise of new drugs for noncancerous diseases of the blood. The big biotech, which has two new drugs for hemophilia in late-stage development, is looking to add to the portfolio by in-licensing or acquisitions.

"If we are going to build a commercial infrastructure that is going to call on hematologists, then we can think about other products in this area," Scangos told Reuters in an interview. "We are actively looking to build a hematology franchise, and will consider acquisitions as well as in-licensing."

Biogen is best known for its MS drugs Tysabri and Avonex. Now Scangos wants to diversify the portfolio, and he feels that there are a number of early- and mid-stage programs in the hematology arena that would help the company grow. Reuters also notes that Biogen comes in for routine criticism for playing it safe. Too safe.

It's worth adding that while Scangos ran Exelixis, he faced occasional criticism for having too many drugs in the pipeline. Now he has to strike a balance between the two.

- see the story from Reuters