Skip to main content

Biogen Idec


is cutting about 17% of its workers as part of a bid to cut its operating expenses, and the company disclosed plans to sell some assets, including a plant and the psoriasis treatment Amevive.

The Cambridge, Mass., company's new strategy will lead it to focus on the multiple sclerosis treatment Avonex and the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma drug Rituxan.

Additionally, Biogen plans to concentrate on talks with regulators regarding the return of Tysabri in the U.S. and its potential launch in Europe, marketing Rituxan for rheumatoid arthritis and rolling out Panaclar for psoriasis patients in Germany.

Tysabri, an MS drug Biogen markets with


Scroll to Continue

TheStreet Recommends


, was pulled and clinical trials were halted in February after the drug was linked to a potentially fatal brain disease.

Shares of Biogen rose $1.31, or 3%, to $43.75 in after-hours trading Thursday.

"While Biogen Idec is well-poised for near-term success, we believe that to continue to deliver for patients, employees and shareholders requires a bold reshaping of the company in an effort to generate high-level, sustainable growth beyond the current decade," James C. Mullen, president and CEO, said in a press release.

The drugmaker said it will end activities and programs that aren't likely to "create significant value and reallocate our intellectual and financial resources to growth projects." Biogen is aiming to lower its annual operating expenses by $200 million to $300 million.

The job cuts will eliminate about 650 positions worldwide and will take place across the company's departments and sites. Biogen expects to record a pretax charge of $30 million to $40 million.

Biogen is also planning to shed some assets, including the NICO clinical manufacturing facility in San Diego, property in Oceanside, Calif., and Amevive, which had revenue of $43 million in 2004.

Separately, Biogen said Michael Gilman, executive vice president for research, is leaving the company, effective Nov. 8. Alphonse Galdes, vice president, drug discovery, and Rainer Fuchs, vice president, research informatics and operations, will take over Gilman's responsibilities on an interim basis.