Biogen Idec: Under new management

Source: Biogen Idec

Biogen Idec: Under new management

2011: $1.22 billion
2010: $1.24 billion
As a percentage of revenue: 24%
Research chief: Doug Williams

George Scangos (photo) made all the right moves after he took over the top spot at Biogen Idec ($BIIB). He and research chief Doug Williams weeded out the pipeline, pushed a promising late-stage program for a landmark MS drug in the clinic and opened up to all comers, anxious to build a reputation for the company as an honest--and preferred--broker in the hurly-burly world of drug pacts.

Scangos built his reputation on the R&D side of the business, a key factor in his decision to bring employees from the complex in the burbs of Boston back home to Cambridge, where he could be closer to research ops.

Biogen's best shot at a major approval lies in BG-12, inherited from the Jim Mullen days and delivering solid efficacy and safety data. Then there's dexpramipexole, a risky late-stage drug for ALS that could also deliver big numbers--provided it doesn't suffer the same fate as so many attempts over the years to combat the mysterious neurodegenerative disease.

Biogen also has moved to beef up its mid-stage pipeline, buying Stromedix and acquiring a fibrosis drug in a deal that could be worth up to $562 million. And it made a careful deal with Samsung on developing new biosimilars, taking a step into a new business while hedging the risk involved.

Scangos' initial focus at Biogen was to trim and focus R&D in an effort to reduce the big bite that R&D was consuming in revenue. But after holding the line in 2011, no one seems to have a big problem with a budget that size. R&D success, it turns out, is the surest remedy for financial criticism. And Scangos, one of Fierce's Top 25 Most Influential People in Biopharma Today, shows no signs of tempering his more aggressive posture in 2012. 

Biogen Idec: Under new management
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