Careers at Biogen
Biogen’s mission is to discover, develop, and deliver to patients worldwide innovative therapies for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, hematologic conditions, and autoimmune disorders.
Biogen is a biopharmaceutical company. It operates three reportable business segments:
- Multiple Sclerosis Products – These include TECFIDERA, Interferon, TYSABRI, and FAMPYRA.
- Hemophilia Products – These include ELOCTATE and ALPROLIX.
- Other Products – This segment primarily consists of FUMADERM.
In 1985, Idec was founded in San Francisco with the purpose of producing and commercializing drugs to address immune system cancers and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The company’s initial work focused on treating non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, specifically B-cell lymphoma, with monoclonal antibodies, which bind to tumor cells and deplete or supress them.
The firm’s scientists spent years and millions of dollars developing the antibodies. In 1991 it brought in some much-needed funds by completing an initial public offering. This helped it carry out Phase I and Phase II trials for IDEC-C2B8, a drug that would later be called Rituxan. However, by the time Phase II trials concluded in 1995, Idec realized it did not have enough money for Phase III trials.
Idec saved itself by forming a collaborative agreement with Genentech in which the biotech firm would fund remaining trials in exchange for a portion of Rituxan’s profits should it be approved by the FDA. Phase III proceeded, and Rituxan was approved in 1997. It became the first monoclonal antibody approved as a cancer therapeutic, and the leading drug for B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Idec was finally profitable, and used its experience to explore another collaborative agreement -- with Biogen, which had been formed in 1978. The two realized their technologies were complementary, and instead decided to merge to gain mutual benefits. The action was completed in 2002, resulting in the third largest biotech firm in the world, Biogen Idec (later shortened to Biogen).
Benefits at Biogen
Business model of Biogen
Biogen has a niche market business model, with a specialized customer segment. The company targets its offering at consumers who have neurodegenerative diseases, hematologic conditions, and autoimmune disorders.
Biogen offers four primary value propositions: innovation, accessibility, customization, and brand/status.
The company has embraced innovation from the very beginning. It developed Rituxan, the first monoclonal antibody to be approved as a cancer therapeutic, as well as Zevalin, another non-Hodgkin's cancer drug that became the first radioimmunotherapy to enter the market.
The company creates accessibility by proactively trying to ensure consumers can use its therapies. It offers financial assistance tools for patients unable to afford the drugs, and in the U.S., it has launched programs that provide qualified underinsured or uninsured patients with products at no charge or a low cost, based on specified eligibility criteria. Lastly, it offers charitable contributions that may help commercially-insured patients with out-of-pocket costs associated with its products.
The company embraces customization by taking consumer opinions into account. It interacts with patients, healthcare societies, and advocacy organizations in order to identify unmet needs for its offerings. The conclusions from these discussions help shape programs, services, and applications.
The company has established a powerful brand due to its success. It is one of the oldest independent biotech firms in the world. The merger that formed it represented the largest biotechnology merger between two independent companies, and formed the third largest biotech firm in the world (though it has since lost that status). Lastly, it has won a number of honors, including recognition of its North Carolina manufacturing facility as “Facility of the Year“ at the FOYA Awards (2013).
Biogen’s main channel is its direct sales team. It also utilizes wholesale distributors, shipping service providers, and mail-order specialty distributors.
The company promotes its offering through its social media pages, advertising, direct mail, and participation in symposia and conferences.
Biogen’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service nature.
Customers utilize its products while having limited interaction with employees. The company’s website provides answers to frequently asked questions and clinical resources for medical/healthcare professionals. That said, there is a personal assistance component in the form of phone and e-mail support.
Biogen’s business model entails designing, developing, and manufacturing its products. It utilizes third-party contract manufacturers for some of its products.
Biogen’s key partners are its contract manufacturers and its suppliers. The company also maintains partnerships with other organizations involved in research in order to leverage complementary technologies, skills, and areas of expertise. These partnership types are as follows:
Corporate Collaborations – Specific partners are as follows:
- Centre for Therapeutic Target Validation (CTTV)
- BioFocus (subsidiary of Galapagos NV)
- Ionis Pharmaceuticals
- Samsung Biologics
- Sangamo BioSciences
- Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy (TIGET)
Academic Collaborations – Specific partners are as follows:
- University of Pennsylvania
- MIT/Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
- Harvard Medical School/Rubin Laboratory
- ALS Consortium (includes Columbia University, Harvard University, and The Rockefeller University)
- Duke University/Hudson Alpha Institute for Biotechnology
- Columbia University
- Lawrence Berkeley National Lab/University of Connecticut (Uconn) Health Center
- Scleroderma Consortium (includes investigators from Tufts University, Yale University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Utrecht and the University of Glasgow)
- Fibrosis Consortium (includes investigators from Harvard University, Yale University, University of Pennsylvania, University of California, San Francisco, and Boston University)
- Sickle Cell Consortium (includes staff from the Montreal Heart Institute, Harvard University and St. Jude’s Hospital)
- Epigenetics Consortium (includes experts at Harvard University, Washington University, College de France, Institut Curie, and MIT)
- Accelerating Medicines Partnership (includes the National Institutes of Health, nine biopharma companies and various nonprofit disease foundations)
Biogen actively invites other organizations to join it in partnership, with a particular interest in collaborating in the areas of neurology, hematology, immunology, and platform technologies.
Biogen’s main resources are its human resources, who include its engineering, process development, manufacturing, and quality teams.
The company operates manufacturing facilities in Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Hillerød, Denmark. Combined they total 198,000 liters of bioreactor capacity, one of the largest such figures among biotech firms.
Biogen has a value-driven structure, aiming to provide a premium proposition through frequent product enhancements.
Its biggest cost driver is sales/administration, a fixed cost. Other major drivers are in the areas of research and development (a fixed cost) and cost of sales, a variable expense that includes product and royalty costs.
Biogen has two revenue streams: product revenues and unconsolidated joint business revenues.
info: George earned a B.A. in Biology at Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Microbiology at the University of Massachusetts. He previously served as President and CEO of Exelixis, as President of Bayer Biotechnology, and as a biology professor at Johns Hopkins University.
info: Susan earned a B.A. from Wellesley College and a J.D. from Boston University School of Law. She previously served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Biogen.
info: Spyros earned an M.Sc. in Chemistry at the Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology at the University of Cambridge. He previously served as a Co-Founder of Exelixis Pharmaceuticals.
info: Paul earned a B.S. in Finance from Babson College and an MBA from Columbia University. He previously held several roles at Biogen including Vice President of Business Planning, Portfolio Management.
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