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New head of R&D at Biogen

Published on: 27/04/16

Biogen (NASDAQ: BIIB) has announced the appointment of Dr Michael Ehlers as executive vice president, research and development.

His role will involve overseeing Biogen’s global research, drug discovery, clinical development, and medical affairs functions, as well as defining the strategic direction for the company’s R&D organisation. He will lead the efforts to develop therapies for patients with few or no treatment options.

He reacts: “Biogen is a recognised leader in applying the highest quality science to critical health issues in neurodegenerative and rare diseases. I am excited and honoured to lead this remarkable team, and I look forward to working with them to convert groundbreaking science into meaningful treatments for people with life-altering diseases.”

Dr Ehlers will report to George Scangos, chief executive officer at Biogen, and will begin his tenure in late May.

Scangos says: “I am thrilled to have Mike join us. We conducted a thorough, global search, and I am convinced that we have found the right leader to build on our already outstanding R&D team. As our understanding of human biology advances at an incredible pace, I am confident that Mike will keep Biogen at the forefront of discovery and enhance our ability to transform our research into treatments that make a meaningful difference in the lives of patients.”

Dr Ehlers joins from Pfizer, where he held the role of group senior vice president for Biotherapeutics R&D and chief scientific officer for the company’s neuroscience and pain research unit. He also led Pfizer’s Cambridge and Boston research sites where he developed a network of collaborations with major academic and government institutions.

Previously, Dr Ehlers was the George Barth Geller professor of neurobiology and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Duke University Medical Center. At the latter, he led studies on neuronal organelles and the trafficking of neurotransmitter receptors. He holds MD and PhD degrees from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and has authored more than 100 scientific papers.

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