CEO Letter

As we reflect on the past year and set our sights on the path ahead, I am truly inspired by the progress we have made to advance Biogen’s enduring legacy of pioneering innovative science to deliver medicines that transform patients’ lives and create enduring value for our communities and our shareholders. Our mission and business strategy are grounded in our commitment to responsible business, and in 2023, we refined our corporate responsibility strategy to advance our evolving business priorities and align with areas where we believe we can have the greatest impact.

Our commitment to access and health equity 

Patients are at the heart of everything we do, and they inspire our unwavering commitment to excellence. Across the company, we continue to take meaningful action to advance equitable access to quality healthcare and medicines. To advance that vision from our pipeline to our commercialization strategies and beyond, we intend to focus on four key pillars: ensuring access to healthcare and medicines, navigating the unique patient journey, bolstering the clinical research ecosystem, and engaging and collaborating with the community.

In 2023, we advanced our pipeline of potential novel therapies and our goal of increasing representation of diverse populations in our clinical trials. We added four first-in-class medicines to our portfolio, the second most in the industry last year. In addition, SKYCLARYS® (omaveloxolone) recently became the first treatment approved in the U.S. and the E.U. for patients, ages 16 and older, with Friedreich ataxia. In the U.S., more than 1,000 patients were using the therapy as of mid-February, representing nearly 25% of the eligible population, and we are working toward expanding access to even more people for this groundbreaking treatment. We also entered new markets with SPINRAZA® (nusinersen), which is now available in 70 countries, including 21 classified as low- to middle-income.  

In April 2023, we received accelerated approval from the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for QALSODY® (tofersen) for the treatment of adults with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), associated with a mutation in the superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) gene, making it the first approved treatment to target a genetic cause of ALS. This approval for a disease that affects an estimated 2,876 people worldwide reflected our core tenet of keeping patients at the forefront. We attained this milestone through the decades-long tenacity, determination and the profound commitment from the Biogen team to help people living with ALS. With the Early Access Programs and subsequent market approvals, approximately 470 patients are using this treatment as of December 2023.  

We recognize health outcomes often depend on factors beyond the control of patients and their providers, such as disparities across age, gender, race, ethnicity, geographic locations globally and socioeconomic level. By increasing participation of underrepresented populations in clinical trials, as we have done in Alzheimer’s disease and lupus, we believe we can better serve patients of many different profiles. In 2023, 89% of clinical trials delivered race and ethnicity enrollment targets that reflect the epidemiology of the disease. In the last year, we also bolstered our overall health equity efforts, working to embed it into the early research and drug development process.  


Evolving our culture 

Adapting our business and the way we operate are essential for us to thrive in a rapidly evolving healthcare landscape. In 2023, we embarked on a new operating model with increased accountability and empowering our teams to be closer to our customers. We have embraced change and a renewed focus on innovation to drive sustainable success. Employees drive our progress and our strong culture, and we are committed to maintaining our spirit of innovation and patient-centricity while advancing a more entrepreneurial business mindset and results-driven approach. One of the key takeaways from our 2023 internal survey is that 81% of employees are driven by and believe in Biogen’s purpose. We intend to continue harnessing that passion.  

Another competitive strength is our commitment to a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace that we believe attracts and retains the world’s brightest minds. While there is still work ahead, the composition of our employee base generally reflects that of the broader workforce. At the end of 2023, 48.6% of positions at the Director level and above were held by women, and 31.2% of U.S. roles at the Manager level and above were held by ethnic or racial minorities.  

This diversity is also modeled by our Board of Directors and our leadership team. As of April 2024, 62% of non-employees on our Board self-identify as women and/or ethnic or racial minorities while 46.8% of those VP and above at Biogen are women. Last year, on behalf of Biogen, I received the Latino Corporate Directors Association’s Corporate Visionary Award. It was an honor to celebrate that distinction, while also recognizing the progress we have made toward a more diverse and inclusive workplace.


Making meaningful contributions to communities 

Looking beyond our current workforce, we see a need to strengthen and diversify the talent pipeline throughout our industry and we are taking steps to help build it. In 2023, we refreshed our Community Lab, our flagship science education program, which has reached more than 64,000 students since 2002. Under the new CoLab name, we are expanding the program’s reach, those we expect to serve, as well as partnerships in our local communities.  

Through the Biogen Foundation, we helped address social determinants of health, such as food security and access to healthcare, investing $4.37 million in grantmaking. For example, with our work with the Greater Boston Food Bank and Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, among others, we provided more than 750,000 meals to local food-insecure families. We also deepened our community connections through more than 10,000 employee volunteer hours to global nonprofits. I look forward to the new Biogen Foundation partnerships we’re developing in 2024 to further drive positive change in our communities.   

Our employees recognize the link between human and environmental health, and we remain active in our sustainability efforts. By improving efficiency and reducing waste, as well as water and energy consumption, we are working to reduce costs and environmental impacts, including in our labs. In 2023, we became the first large biotech to get 100% of our labs certified through My Green Lab, a program recognized by the United Nations’ Race to Zero campaign for setting the standard for best practices in laboratory sustainability.  

Progress seldom happens in isolation, so I also would like to thank the countless people and institutions who collaborate on the important work covered in this report: our partners and suppliers, patients and patient advocates, thousands of clinical trial participants and their families, caregivers and medical professionals, community leaders and many others.  

By staying true to our values and embracing our mission with passion, we believe we will continue to make a positive impact on the lives of patients and communities worldwide. That is the future we are working to create, and I hope the work reflected in this report inspires you to play an even greater part in it. Together, I believe we can develop the next generation of medicines; promote access and health equity across the healthcare ecosystem; and foster more vibrant, sustainable communities. 

Christopher A. Viehbacher 
President and Chief Executive Officer 

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