New CEO Scangos spurs Biogen R&D renaissance in broad shakeup

When George Scangos (photo) was named to the top post at Biogen Idec, there were a considerable number of discussions in the industry that started with a simple question. George who? But over the past 10 months, the former Exelixis CEO has restructured the pipeline, put in his own team of top managers and injected his own personal brand of enthusiasm to play in an organization that was moving too slowly and too cautiously. He even got lucky, with a key late-stage product--the MS drug BG-12--turning in promising data.

The company culture is different now at Biogen, he tells Reuters. These days the key themes are taking responsibility and thoughtful risk-taking when it comes to drug development. And his enthusiasm at the top has helped ignite the company's share price, which has doubled since he was named to the top post.

"When I came here and asked who was in charge of a particular project, either no one could tell me or there were three people who were responsible for a piece of it," he said. "Now we have one person who is responsible for each project."

Another sampling: "If your goal is to avoid risk so you avoid failure, you can't be successful as a company. Biogen has been way too conservative, way too much like big pharma." And he's been at work shaking up the company's compensation system to make sure the message comes across loud and clear.

- here's the article from Reuters