Biogen Idec Axes 650 Jobs, Closes San Diego Site, Bets Future on Neurology

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our opportunities. We will now focus on a few areas where we can be among the best, and this starts with neurology.”

That means Biogen Idec will consolidate resources on its top-selling products interferon beta-1a (Avonex) as well as Tysabri. It will also continue to place its bets on new MS drugs, including an oral pill called BG-12; a treatment called fampridine being co-developed with Acorda Therapeutics; a longer-lasting pegylated interferon which would require fewer injections than Avonex; an antibody treatment called daclizumab developed in partnership with Abbott Laboratories; and anti-Lingo, a treatment which aspires to become the first to regenerate damaged tissue that coats nerves which go get damaged in MS patients.

While much of the activity will be focused on neurology, Biogen said today it will “employ rigorous criteria” when it decides to pursue other things. Biogen Idec will continue to pursue a couple of hemophilia programs, as examples. “The company will leverage its immunobiology, process development and biologics manufacturing expertise to target high-potential treatments for select disorders where there is a significant unmet need and where the drug candidate has the potential to be highly differentiated,” the company said.

Even though Biogen hasn’t introduced a new product in six years, the company said it has plans to launch five new products in the next five years, by 2015. “It is critical that we drive a culture of excellence,” Scangos said in the statement.

Biogen Idec is hosting a conference call to discuss today’s news at 8:30 am Eastern/5:30 am Pacific.

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