Scangos promises R&D action as he takes the reins at Biogen

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."

- read the story from Bloomberg
- here's the Xconomy piece