Biogen Idec rebrands as Biogen, bets big on neurodegenerative pipeline
- Biotech giant Biogen Idec has shortened its name to Biogen and has a new corporate logo, the company announced on Monday. The stock ticker will remain $BIIB.
- Biogen, founded in 1978, became Biogen Idec after merging with San Diego-based Idec Pharmaceuticals in 2003. Now, it's back to the roots.
- In an interview with Reuters, Biogen CEO George Scangos (pictured above alongside the rest of the company's leadership) said that the firm is betting big on ambitious therapeutic categories in the neurodegenrative space, including ALS and Alzheimer's. Biogen's investigational Alzheimer's drug BIIB037 (aducanumab) showed promising early results in data revealed last week, sending the biotech's stock soaring to all-time highs.
Biogen has been on a roll for the last several years on the strength of its multiple sclerosis franchise and a pipeline of drugs for hard-to-treat disorders that many investors believe has promise, as evidenced by the company's remarkable surge in market cap over the last three years (it's surged nearly 40% just since December).
CEO Scangos told Reuters that, while investigational compounds in such difficult therapeutic categories always come with the risk of falling flat, the company expects to have some big winners on its hands down the line.
"Five years down the road, with some luck, we'll have an Alzheimer's drug that's getting approved,” said Scangos in the interview. "I hope we can transform the treatment of MS. By that time, we will have made substantial progress on ALS and other nerve degenerative diseases, spinal muscular atrophy in kids. All that stuff is on our plate... I am sure of two things: Not all of it is going to work, and some of it will."
If aducanumab's impressive early results can hold up in larger trials—and avoid the concerning side effects experienced by a high number of patients with a predisposition to Alzheimer's in the early trial—it will, without a doubt, be among the biggest game-changers in industry history and become one of the best-selling drugs of all time.