Biogen will soon have a new board leader, potentially giving new CEO Chris Viehbacher more freedom to make bold moves to salvage the big biotech from declining revenues and a bruised reputation.
Biogen’s long-time chairman and influential biotech mogul Stelios Papadopoulos, Ph.D., will retire from the post under company policy, Viehbacher told reporters during a call Wednesday.
Papadopoulos, 74, is nearing Biogen’s mandatory retirement age of 75 for directors. He has been Biogen’s chair since 2014 and was founder of several other companies, including targeted cancer drug maker Exelixis.
Papadopoulos is nearing the end of his board tenure as Biogen reels from revenue declines across its business sectors, plus the disastrous launch of Alzheimer’s disease drug Aduhelm.
In 2022, every revenue line item declined at Biogen. Thanks to generics to Tecfidera, Biogen’s multiple sclerosis revenues dropped 11% to $5.4 billion. Increased competition led sales of spinal muscular atrophy therapy Spinraza to fall by 6% to $1.8 billion. Pricing pressure contributed to a 10% decrease for Biogen’s biosimilars. And Aduhelm? The launch didn’t go anywhere.
To Viehbacher, who took over in November, transforming Biogen is a top priority. He’s counting on Eisai-partnered Alzheimer’s drug Leqembi and Sage Therapeutics-shared depression med zuranolone to bring the goods.