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Biogen Idec, Inc. (Massachusetts) (BIIB) Poaches Renowned Neurologist From Novartis AG (NVS) To Lead ALS Innovation Hub

8/26/2014 6:10:40 AM

Biogen Idec, Inc Poaches Renowned Neurologist From Novartis AG To Lead ALS Innovation Hub Biogen Idec, Inc Poaches Renowned Neurologist From Novartis AG To Lead ALS Innovation Hub

August 26, 2014

By Krystle Vermes, Breaking News Staff

Today, Biogen Idec, Inc. (BIIB) announced that Donald Johns, M.D., has joined the biopharmaceutical company to serve as vice president. Johns is expected to head the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis Innovation Hub of the Cambridge-based company.

Johns has extensive experience in translational science and technology, neurology research, experimental medicine, clinical development and business development. He will report to Alfred Sandrock, M.D., Ph.D., group senior vice president and chief medical officer.

The ALS Innovation Hub is geared toward creating new therapies for ALS using the modern science and technology. Johns will focus on the hub as he moves forward in his position at the company.

“We are committed to bringing critical therapies to ALS patients as quickly and efficiently as possible. Don’s experience as a clinician and researcher, his dedication to patients, and his successful track record make him a perfect addition to help us achieve this goal,” said Sandrock. “Under Don’s leadership, I believe that the ALS iHub model will drive meaningful innovations in ALS discovery and development.”
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Johns has more than 30 years of experience researching and developing treatments for patients who are living with neurodegenerative diseases. He also has 14 patents to his name that have either been confirmed or are pending.

“ALS is a disease with a devastating impact for patients and their families and one where urgent progress is needed to improve patient outcomes,” said Johns. “With the ALS iHub, we have the opportunity to integrate our existing understanding of ALS with new approaches and technologies to catalyze the effective drug discovery and development of new treatments for ALS.”

Johns is coming to Biogen Idec from Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research. At his previous company, he held the multiple positions over the course of a decade, including vice president and global head of Neuroscience Translational Medicine. At Novartis AG (NVS), Johns also oversaw First-in-Human studies and conclusive Proof-of-Concept studies.

Johns has also held positions at the Center for the Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He is a graduate of the Yale School of Medicine.

Biogen Idec was founded in 1978, and it stands as the oldest individual biotechnology company. Its patients around the world benefit from its multiple sclerosis and hemophilia therapies. Biogen Idec is focused on neurodegenerative diseases, hematologic conditions and autoimmune disorders.

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