Biogen’s Investment in Multiple Sclerosis Therapies Reinforced in Company Restructuring

Patricia Silva, PhD avatar

by Patricia Silva, PhD |

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Advancing key medicinal treatments like TECFIDERA (dimethyl fumarate), the most prescribed oral treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS), is a key focus of a company-wide restructuring recently announced by Biogen, Inc. TECFIDERA has been shown to reduce relapse rates, slow disability progression and the number of brain lesions in patients with relapsing forms of MS, exhibiting a favorable benefit-risk profile.

“We remain committed to maximizing the potential of our commercial portfolio, with a particular emphasis on TECFIDERA®,” said the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. George A. Scangos, in a press release. “We continue to see growth for our market leading portfolio of MS products, driven by the uptake of our oral therapy TECFIDERA in recently launched countries worldwide and the introduction of PLEGRIDY® to new markets.”

Biogen, a company focused on therapies for neurodegenerative, hematological and autoimmune disorders, intends through the restructuring to reduce operating expenses by approximately $250 million. It plans to reinvest those savings in key commercial and marketing initiatives for its top-line products, like TECFIDERA. Biogen said it will also invest in current highly potential candidate therapies for MS, such as PLEGRIDY (peg interferon beta-1a) and anti-LINGO, and also in therapies for conditions like spinal muscular atrophy and Alzheimer’s disease.

Biogen acknowledged that lowering its expenses meant ceasing work on some pipeline programs and reducing its workforce by 11%.

“The decision to reduce the Company’s workforce was extremely difficult, but we believe these actions are necessary to fulfill our mission of bringing important new medicines to patients. We have several high-quality programs that are now or soon will be in Phase 3, and the cost savings from the restructuring will be reinvested to carry out those programs aggressively and hopefully to bring them to patients as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Scangos. “We are grateful for the contributions of our talented and admired colleagues and we will do our best to treat everyone with fairness and dignity.”

Biogen reported third quarter 2015 results showing revenues of $2.8 billion, corresponding to an increase of 11% in comparison to the third quarter of 2014. The total multiple sclerosis product sales in this period reached $2.2 billion, in comparison to $2.1 billion in the same period last year. Of these, TECFIDERA revenues were reported to be $937 million, compared to $787 million in 2014.

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