New Biogen Idec CEO plotting a major R&D shakeup, more pacts

Anyone who thought George Scangos (photo) was going to take a business-as-usual approach to running Biogen Idec may want to reassess their thinking. In a Boston Globe interview, Scangos made clear that he intends to expand R&D in areas where the Big Biotech is a leader and jettison anything that doesn't make the cut--all while pumping fresh resources into partnering.

The Globe landed the first interview with Scangos since the CEO arrived from Exelixis in July. And he appeared eager to determine the future of the company's work in neurology, immunology, oncology, hematology, and generic medicines. One hint: Neurology, where Biogen Idec has created a big franchise for MS but faces major challenges from new oral therapies, may be in line for more work. And Scangos said he would like to see Biogen Idec become a "partner of choice" for smaller biotechs looking for a deep-pocket collaborator.

"We do good research here,'' Scangos told the Globe's Robert Weisman. "But if you look at the totality of all the research that's directed against the diseases in which we're interested, we do a small fraction of that. We're a very tiny circle in the middle of this big universe. So it's more likely interesting advances will come from outside the company than within the company.''

Scangos choice as CEO raised some eyebrows in the biopharma industry. An experienced R&D chief, Scangos was notoriously short on marketing experience. The new CEO made it clear early on that a hard look at R&D spending was going to be his first priority.

- here's the story from the Boston Globe

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