Sector News

Another top Biogen executive stepping down

May 26, 2017
Life sciences

Biogen, the state’s largest local drug company by market cap and headcount, is about to lose yet another top executive.

Kenneth DiPietro plans to step down as executive vice president of human resources tomorrow, a spokesman for the Cambridge drugmaker told the Boston Business Journal on Thursday. DiPietro took on that role in January 2012 following stints at tech giants Lenovo Group, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Dell.

It’s not immediately clear what DiPietro plans on doing after he leaves Biogen. He also serves on the board of Cambridge medical device firm InVivo Therapeutics.

DiPietro will be the latest top official to leave Biogen (Nasdaq: BIIB) or take a diminished role. Chief scientific officer Spyros Artavanis-Tsakonas recently changed titles to part-time visiting scientist while he conducts lab research — partly funded by Biogen — at Harvard Medical School. In March, Adriana Karaboutis left her post as executive vice president of technology, business solutions and corporate affairs.

Previous C-suite departures include R&D head Doug Williams, commercial operations leader Tony Kingsley, corporate development and strategy chief Adam Koppel, and chief information officer Matt Griffiths,. The most high-profile move occurred in January, when longtime CEO George Scangos was replaced by Michel Vounatsos.

The wave of departures comes as Biogen confronts an uncertain future. The company has seen tepid growth in its multiple sclerosis franchise, placing added pressure on its newly-launched infant disease drug Spinraza, as well as on a promising neuroscience pipeline that includes late-stage Alzheimer’s treatment aducanumab.

While rumors about a potential acquisition of Biogen have seemed to subside recently, the company has shown a renewed appetite for dealmaking of its own. In April, it licensed an experimental Alzheimer’s drug from Bristol-Myers Squibb for $300 million. And on May 15, Biogen shelled out $120 million for a stroke treatment that is ready for Phase 3 trials.

Source: Boston Business Journal

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