Biogen Idec CEO on drug costs and taking on multiple sclerosis

Biogen Idec CEO George Scangos discusses his company's new multiple sclerosis drug, pricing strategy, and research process.

Biogen Idec, a Massachusetts-based biotech company, is hoping its new multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera will eventually bring in the hundreds of millions of dollars it cost to develop -- at least before a generic comes along and copies it.

CEO George Scangos joined Marketplace Morning Report host Jeremy Hobson to discuss his company's development process and pricing strategy.

On the research and development behind Tecfidera:

Scangos: "Tecfidera was in development for over ten years and several hundred million dollars. As you know we had it approved recently, and we are very optimistic about this new drug and its ability to provide substantial help for MS patients.

On Biogen's development pipeline:

Scangos: "We have multiple drugs, simultaneously [in development], because the chances of any one drug being successful are very small. Tecfidera had very good results. We have two other drugs for hemophilia. We have a fourth drug, another drug for MS. It's unusual to have four successes like that in a row, it's a risky business.

On setting a price for Tecfidera, which costs about $55,000 a year:

Scangos: "When we determine a cost for a drug, we take into account a lot of different factors. We try and be moderate. That price is below some of the competitor drugs. So it's a complicated proposition with a number of different factors.

To hear more about generic competition, the naming of Tecfidera, and what Scangos thinks of the Affordable Care Act, click on the audio player above.

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.

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