A Note from Our CEO
2017 was a pivotal year for Biogen as we executed on our goal of becoming the global leader in neuroscience. As I look back at our successes in 2017, and as we celebrate Biogen’s 40th anniversary in 2018, I know that Biogen’s rich history has paved the way for us to become pioneers in neuroscience.
Four decades ago, our founders launched a new scientific approach to apply contemporary biology to help people living with devastating diseases. Along the way, two of our founders were awarded Nobel Prizes – Walter Gilbert for his work in DNA sequencing and Phillip Sharp for the discovery of split genes. A third, Charles Weissmann, successfully cloned alpha interferons. These discoveries forever changed the face of neuroscience and positioned Biogen on a historic path.
Thanks, in large part, to the groundbreaking science undertaken by our founders, today we are able to perform complex, world-class research. As one of the only biotechnology companies solely focused on neuroscience, we strive to emulate our founders’ pioneering efforts by working to develop transformational therapies to treat devastating neurological diseases. We take on these challenging disease areas without hesitation, aspiring to improve the lives of those who suffer from neurological conditions, some of which currently have few or no available treatment options.
The history of Biogen is one of tackling unmet patient need. We intend to follow that same path in the future. A path that requires persistence, passion and courage.
Persistence: Harnessing Our Past to Pioneer Neuroscience
What drives Biogen forward is our persistent focus on the significant unmet need within neurology. Neurological diseases affect approximately one billion people worldwide and are the leading cause of disability and the second-leading cause of death, second only to cardiovascular diseases.
Today, we are pioneers tackling some of the most difficult challenges in medicine – including potential treatments for the millions of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, ALS, stroke, neuropathic pain and other debilitating diseases.
Some may view these diseases as difficult or even impossible to treat. Yet we are unwavering in our determination to discover, develop and deliver treatments for such diseases. And along the way, we believe we will transform neuroscience.
As the leader in therapies for multiple sclerosis (MS) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), our impact on the world begins with our innovative medicines. In 2017, we had the privilege to launch SPINRAZA® (nusinersen), the first and only approved treatment for SMA. SPINRAZA now brings hope to the individuals and their families afflicted with the disease, who previously had no treatment options.
We are not stopping with our current successes in MS and SMA, we are continuing to challenge ourselves as we focus on the future. We have one of the broadest and most advanced pipeline portfolios for Alzheimer’s disease, and we are committed to expanding and customizing treatment options for those with MS and SMA.
More importantly, our motivation is driven by the individuals affected by these diseases. Their courage and fighting spirit – and those of their families, loved ones and caregivers – continuously propel us forward.
Our commitment to improving the lives of patients remains steadfast. Biogen aims to ensure that our medicines are available and accessible for all who may benefit. We also provide support to patient communities with the goal that no person foregoes treatment due to financial limitations or insurance status. And, we have continued to develop and launch new, innovative programs to further support these communities and have increased access to our therapies as we expand into new global markets.
Passion: Giving Back, Locally and Globally
At our core, we have a passion to enhance the lives not only of patients, but also those of our friends, neighbors and fellow global citizens. We continually analyze the societal impact of our business as we seek to uplift those around us by supporting local and global communities, caring for the environment and cultivating a diverse and inclusive workforce.
We know the importance of giving back to the local communities in which we operate as well as on a larger scale. We are dedicated to making a positive impact in these communities and encouraging our employees to do the same on an individual level, through volunteerism. Through the Biogen Foundation, we support access to science education for diverse populations, and we strive to foster the next generation of leaders, scientists and researchers with additional grants and charitable giving.
As part of our commitment to the global community, we incorporate “green” chemistry work in our operations and aspire to be catalysts for greater, more sustainable change in our industry. We chair the green chemistry working group of the International Consortium of Innovation & Quality in Pharmaceutical Development (IQ), which works to increase use of green chemistry across companies.
Courage: Looking Ahead, to the Future of Neurology
Whether supporting local communities and the environment or creating breakthrough medicines, our work would not be possible without the 7,000+ Biogen team members whom I am honored to call colleagues. With diverse backgrounds, perspectives and experiences, Biogen’s employees demonstrate their dedication to positively impacting patients’ lives.
I am grateful to collaborate with and learn from these courageous, caring and world-class teams – not to mention the physicians, caregivers and participants involved in our clinical development programs – every day.
Our mission, as pioneers in neuroscience, only becomes more critical with each passing day and each new diagnosis. Through our high-quality scientific research and talented team, we aspire to shape the future of neurology and the study of neuroscience. This focus extends to our commitment to our communities, to solving social and environmental challenges and to a diverse and inclusive workforce that thrives professionally and personally.
To that end, I am proud to share Biogen’s 2017 Corporate Citizenship Report, which highlights our commitment to enhance the lives of patients, our communities and the world. I look forward to the next 40 years dedicated to this noble vision.
Chief Executive Officer