Biotech giant has also agreed to buy Reata Pharmaceuticals for $7.3 billion

Biogen plans to lay off 1000 employees, over 11% of its global workforce, by 2025, as it reorganises to cut costs. The company already shed 900 staff worldwide in 2022, from about 9600 employees to 8700.

Biogen claims its broader cost-cutting effort will generate approximately $1 billion (£780 million) in gross operating expense savings by 2025. The company says it will redirect about $300 million into product launches and R&D programmes.

The reorganisation follow’s Biogen’s tortuous venture into antibody treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, along with partner Eisai. While the US Food and Drug Administration controversially approved the pair’s first antibody, Aduhelm (aducanumab), in 2021, it was not a commercial success. The treatment did not pass regulatory scrutiny elsewhere in the world.

The follow-up antibody, Leqembi (lecanemab), received full FDA approval in July 2023, with significantly more convincing, if still relatively modest, clinical trial performance.

Reata takeover

Meanwhile, on 28 July Biogen agreed to acquire Texas, US-based Reata Pharmaceuticals for $7.3 billion in cash. Reata recently earned FDA approval for Skyclarys (omaveloxolone) as the first and only US-approved treatment for the degenerative neurological condition Friedreich’s ataxia. ‘This is a unique opportunity for Biogen to bolster our near-term growth trajectory, and Skyclarys is an excellent complement to our global portfolio of treatments for neuromuscular and rare disease,’ said Biogen’s chief executive, Christopher Viehbacher.