After taking the helm at Biogen (NSDQ:BIIB) in 2016, Michel Vounatsos made use of acquisitions and geographic expansion to grow the company. Now, Vounatsos is reportedly considering another possible opportunity to differentiate the pharmaceutical player.
The company’s chief executive hinted in an interview with Globes that Biogen could make a move into the medical technology space.
“Up until now, Biogen has focused solely on drugs. When I was appointed 18 months ago, investors asked what the next thing for us would be and how we were going to diversify the company’s products. My answer came six months later when I said that we would continue focusing on the brain because we were creating asymmetry of knowledge in this area. It was clear to every potential partner of every type – small companies, doctors, patients organizations – that we were the most prominent partner in the sector,” Vounatsos told the news outlet.
Biogen, which has made a name for itself in developing therapies for multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, is evolving to develop treatment options for people with nerve pain, stroke and psychiatric diseases. Vounatsos predicted that the neurology space will soon see an array of therapies that combine medical devices and pharmaceuticals.
“Treatment using medication and treatment using medical devices are being combined with each other, especially in neurology. This is a movement that no one can stop. Up until now, we were more of a neuro-biological company than a neuro-technological company, but we want to expand,” he said. “Initially, we want to operate in brain imaging and advanced analysis of medical information, among other things for the sake of a better understanding of the genetics of brain development and brain activity.”
For now, the market is closing watching for data from the Phase III trials of aducanumab, a human monoclonal antibody that Biogen designed to treat Alzheimer’s disease. This degenerative brain condition has long evaded the pharmaceutical and biotech industries and Vounatsos said that the ultimate solution for patients with Alzheimer’s disease will likely involve both medical technology and drugs.
“My dream is that the pharmaceutical formulation and technology will provide a combined solution for the Alzheimer’s disease patient,” he told Globes.