Boosting focus on neurology, Biogen to spin off hemophilia business
- Biogen announced on Tuesday it will spin off its hemophilia business into a separate, public company, freeing the large biotech to focus on its core portfolio of neurological treatments.
- The new company will be centered around the drugs Eloctate and Alprolix, which treat hemophilia A and B, respectively. Together, the drugs pulled in $554 million in 2015 revenue.
- John Cox, Biogen's current head of Pharmaceutical Operations and Technology, will become CEO of the new firm, which will be headquartered in Boston. Biogen expects the spinoff will be tax-free and will distribute shares of the new company to existing Biogen stockholders.
The bulk of Biogen's revenue comes from its arsenal of multiple sclerosis (MS) treatments, including its biggest earner Tecfidera. Last year, revenues from Biogen's five main MS drugs combined to account for over 93% of the company's revenues.
While the two hemophilia drugs, Eloctate and Alprolix, have seen steady revenue growth, Biogen believes a spinoff will leave it better able to prioritize investment in neurodegenerative disease therapies.
Biogen is currently developing several treatments for spinal muscular atrophy, Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), along with a number of new MS drugs.
The new company, in addition to continuing marketing of Eloctate and Alprolix, is expected to continue clinical development on new hemophilia drugs along with hemophilia-related gene therapy programs.
"We believe that the best way to realize the full potential of this growing and vital business is to enable it to operate independently with a management team dedicated to providing therapies to people living with hemophilia," said Biogen CEO George Scangos.
Hemophilia is a genetic disorder which prevents blood from clotting properly. The National Hemophilia Foundation estimates there are roughly 20,000 people with the disorder in the U.S.
Although the new company will take over the commercial rights to Eloctate and Alprolix, Biogen will continue to manufacture the two drugs for the next three to five years, according to a statement. The spinoff is expected to be completed by year end or early 2017.
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