Biogen CEO George Scangos to step down
- Biogen CEO George Scangos will step down as head of the Cambridge, MA-based biotech as soon as a successor is found, the company announced Thursday morning. Biogen's board of directors said it would begin the search for a new chief executive immediately.
- Scangos leaves Biogen after six years as CEO, during which the company launched six new products, including its top-selling multiple sclerosis drug Tecifdera. Revenues since 2010 have more than doubled to $10.8 billion last year.
- Biogen also released quarterly results Thursday, upping its financial guidance for 2016 and announcing it would repurchase up to $5 billion of the company's common stock.
While Scangos has raised Biogen's profile, pushing the company to the forefront of the multiple sclerosis market, he leaves at a time of transition.
Although revenue has more than doubled since Scangos took over, Biogen remains almost entirely dependent on its MS portfolio. Last year, sales of the company's five top MS drugs accounted for over 93% of product revenue—with sales of the top-selling Tecfidera representing just under 40%.
And in May Biogen announced it would spin off its hemophilia business into a separate public company, purportedly to free up Biogen to focus on its core neurological portfolio. But that further intensifies the company's reliance on its MS portfolio and increases the pressure on its R&D efforts to expand into other areas.
Biogen is currently in Phase 3 development of a treatment for Alzheimer's disease, along with drugs for a certain type of lymphoma and spinal muscular atrophy. In June, however, an investigational drug for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis missed its primary and secondary endpoints in a Phase 2 trial.
Scangos said he plans to return to the West Coast to "take on one more set of activities" and spend more time with his family.
"This is the right time for a new leader to take the reins and lead Biogen through its next stage of development," Scangos said.
While Biogen faces questions about its direction as a company going forward, Scangos is leaving on a high note. The company reported a 12% jump in overall revenue in the second quarter, compared to the same period a year prior. Sales of Tecfidera were up notably as well, although its other main MS drug Avonex recorded a 2% decline year over year.
"The company now is a very different company from what it was a few years ago. We have a full and excellent management team. We have a pipeline that is quite exciting but needs to grow," Scangos told investors on a call Thursday.
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