Biogec is one of the most influential biotechnology companies in the world. The company aims to develop treatment options for illnesses that do not currently have adequate therapy available to patients. With an emphasis on producing therapies for neurodegenerative, hematologic and autoimmune disorders, they are considered one of the top 10 biotechnology companies in the United States.
Founded in 1978 in Switzerland, Biogen was launched to accomplish new breakthroughs in biological science. In 1982 the company opened up its headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. By 2003 the company merged with IDEC, a pharmaceutical company from San Francisco. In an attempt to create a “new and modern visual identity” the company has now officially dropped Idec from their name and are now simply Biogen.
A great determinant of a successful biotechnology company involves what is called a pipeline. A pipeline refers to the products that a company currently has in the developmental stages. Biogen has an impressive pipeline of drugs in the fields of neurology, hematology, and immunology.
They also have many medications currently available which include:
Gazyva (In partnership with Genentech)
Rituxan (In partnership with Genentech)
In 2005 Biogen Idec’s drug Tysabri was removed from the market. This was just one year after the Food and Drug Administration gave their approval of the multiple sclerosis medication. It was discovered after long term use that the drug Tysabri can potentially lead to progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, commonly referred to as PML. This condition known as PML can lead to serious disabilities as well as death. PML occurs when the white matter of the brain becomes infected. In 2006 the drug was reintroduced to the market based on the concept that for treating such a severe condition the benefits of Tysabri outweigh the potential risks involved. However, PML still continued to be a serious problem and by August 2013 there had already been “395 confirmed cases of Tysabri-associated PML, including 92 deaths”, according to Biogen Idec data.
Should Biogen IDec be trusted?
For the most part it seems that Biogen has had a positive effect in the medical community. However, it is unnerving to consider that a medication may have adverse reactions that can be unexpected even with all the scientific research that is invested into their development. With any medication it is incredibly important to do personal research before beginning treatment. Doctors are highly educated professionals but even they do not always anticipate the side effects and potential hazards associated with newer medications. In this increasingly technological world we live in it is imperative to do independent research on medication before beginning therapy. There are vast resources of information on the internet available right at our fingertips.