How Biogen Idec, Inc. (Massachusetts) Overhauled R&D Under Doug Williams
Published: Mar 07, 2012
Biogen Idec took heat for years from shareholders who accused it of bumbling in the R&D department. But a little over a year ago, the Weston, MA-based biotech company (NASDAQ: BIIB) brought in a new guy to run research and development, and—presto!—a few months later the new product engine was perceived as world-class once again. It would be a gross oversimplification to say that Doug Williams walked in, waved a magic wand, and cured all that ailed Biogen’s research and development operation. But in a little more than a year as executive vice president of R&D, Williams—alongside CEO George Scangos—has performed major surgery on the company’s pipeline, cutting 17 R&D programs and increasing the company’s bets on programs it believes have a chance to be market leaders. Some drug candidates were ditched because competitors appeared to beat Biogen to the punch, some didn’t appear differentiated enough from rivals, or their patent life appeared to be fast running out, Williams says.