Drug Development

As gene therapy rivals advance, Biogen moves closer to spinning out hemophilia drugs, R&D

Lest anyone forget, Biogen is focused primarily on neuroscience. And it’s moving at a steady clip to spin off its hemophilia business in a tactic designed to underscore that strategy. Biogen today says the business will launch as Bioverativ in early 2017 and trade as $BIVV.

The business at Bioverativ will start by focusing on continuing to commercialize Eloctate and Alprolix, which were developed in partnership with Stockholm-based Sobi. And there’s a pipeline of new projects looking at expanding their use while adding new efforts on gene therapies and more for hemophilia A and B.

Analysts, though, may well be wondering what kind of a future awaits Bioverativ. BioMarin recently produced some jaw-dropping results for a potentially once-and-done gene therapy for hemophilia A. And there are a variety of other efforts underway that are also looking to cure hemophilia.

Biogen, meanwhile, has been concentrating heavily on its multiple sclerosis portfolio, where it makes the bulk of its money, and a high risk, high reward effort in the clinic for Alzheimer’s. The company has been under intense pressure for a year now to strike some major development deals as its revenue forecasts have eroded as Tecfidera’s fortunes start to slide. And it may be hard for the company’s dealmakers to find more promising neuroscience work in late-stage development.

John Cox

John Cox

John Cox, a Biogen vet who will take the helm at Bioverativ, plans to be among the leaders. Cox had this to say in a statement:

As an independent and focused company, we believe that Bioverativ will be uniquely positioned to drive progress and advance the standard of care for people living with hemophilia. Working closely with the hemophilia community, we hope to transform lives by accelerating innovation for people and caregivers living with hemophilia.

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