Insight - Collaboration

The Changing Landscape of Collaborations at Biogen

July 7, 2015

We are in a period where an explosion of breakthrough science and innovation are coming of age. Gene editing, gene therapy, neuroimmunology, and antisense technologies are just a few examples of the ground breaking work that is being done across the industry.

Additionally, we are in a period where capital is available to those with superb ideas and great ambition and successful IPOs are abundant. Many companies are taking advantage of this window and investors and management teams are being thoughtful about potential partnerships and equity financing as they relate to creating value. The evolution of the marketplace has changed the nature of the conversation with young companies concerning their aspirations and expectations for collaborations. Today all companies must expand their field of view when approaching such relationships, which to collaborate with, what will be obtained from the agreement, and what will be contributed.

What we look for has changed as well. In the past, companies would often look for others working with the same mechanism or against the same targets and trust that their data would support your investigations and vice versa. That type of approach reduced risk, but didn’t encourage innovation or necessarily result in new breakthroughs. Today, the hurdle for differentiated benefit and innovation is higher than it has ever been. We look at each engagement with a unique lens, facilitating conversations and sharing perspectives on the experiments and engagements that derive the most useful outputs, and validate targets and mechanisms of action. 

At Biogen, we live by a few guiding principles when it comes to collaboration:

  • Each choice must make an impact. We need to ensure we are making decisions to meet the needs of patients – and if the collaboration doesn’t ultimately help foster our goal of bringing innovative new medicines to patients, then it’s not worth doing.
  • The ‘who’ we collaborate with is as important as the ‘what’ we collaborate on.  On both sides of the equation, we must be realistic about each other’s skills and objectives, and also pay attention to the culture of the companies embarking on any deal.

So what are we looking for in the months and years to come? We want to work with remarkable scientific teams – people who understand what it is to translate a scientific insight into innovative therapeutics for patients. Companies and academic organizations that welcome and embrace real-time information sharing, an egalitarian relationship, a willingness to take calculated risks, and push the envelope where it makes sense move up high on our list of potential partners.

We know that not all new drugs are going to come from Biogen. There are lots of talented people in the world working on discovering amazing new treatments. The next generation of medicines for patients will come from biotech, pharma, academia, small start-ups, and innovative thinkers. By working together, we can get the best drugs to patients faster, which has always been and will continue to be the ultimate goal.

Richard Brudnick
Senior Vice President, Business Development

Watch Collaborations as an Imperative and learn more about our collaborations at Biogen

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