Biogen to axe 11% of its global workforce by the end of this year

Will also terminate a number of pipeline programmes while boosting sales and marketing activities behind MS drug Tecfidera

Biogen plans to cut its global workforce by 11% by the end of this year as it faces slowing sales of its blockbuster drug for multiple sclerosis.

The Massachusetts, MA, US-based firm said it would also terminate a number of pipeline programmes and identify areas where it could further cut expenditure.

These changes are expected to save around US$250m a year.

Biogen plans to reinvest these savings to increase sales and marketing activities behind Tecfidera, and advance high potential pipeline candidates in areas such as Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and spinal muscular atrophy.

Chief Executive George Scangos said: 'The decision to reduce the company’s workforce was extremely difficult, but we believe these actions are necessary to fulfil our mission of bringing important new medicines to patients.'

Scangos said the cost savings from the restructuring will be reinvested in 'several high-quality programmes'.

Biogen will discontinue its Phase III programme for Tecfidera in secondary progressive MS, the development of anti-TWEAK in lupus nephritis, and certain activities in immunology and fibrosis research.

Biogen announced the cuts as it reported third quarter 2015 results, including revenues of $2.8bn, an 11% increase compared with the third quarter of 2014. Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share (EPS) for the third quarter of 2015 were $4.48, an increase of 18% over the third quarter of 2014.

Total multiple sclerosis product sales were $2.2bn compared with $2.1bn in the same quarter last year.

Tecfidera revenues for the third quarter were $937m compared with $787m in the same quarter last year. These results included $754m in US sales and $183m in sales outside the US, compared with $638m and $149m, respectively.

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