Biogen Idec has officially confirmed the news that George Scangos (photo) will move from the CEO's post at Exelixis to become CEO of Biogen. And the 62-year-old Scangos wasted no time before promising analysts that he would bring some R&D discipline to Biogen Idec, which has been roiled as top execs fought a losing battle against Wall Street raider Carl Icahn.
"At Exelixis, we were able to create a culture with a sense of urgency, a lack of bureaucracy, and great productivity-but with much more limited financial resources," Scangos said, according to a report in Xconomy. "One of the compelling characteristics of Biogen Idec is its size; it's large enough and has great cash flow, and it's small enough so that we can instill a greater sense of urgency and move quickly and decisively."
At Exelixis, Scangos was primarily credited with executing a series of sizable licensing pacts for the drugs in its pipeline. But it hasn't been all clear sailing. Just days ago Bristol-Myers Squibb ended its big pact with Exelixis on the cancer drug XL184. At Biogen, Scangos will take over with six drugs in late-stage development. And with Exelixis moving research chief Michael Morrissey up to the CEO's job, some analysts believe that Scangos' departure could trigger a sale of the company.
Scangos "was the glue holding the company together," Eric Schmidt, an analyst with Cowen & Co. in New York, told Bloomberg. "This may put more of a target on Exelixis's back for acquirers."