Sector News

Biogen recruits Pfizer neuroscience star Michael Ehlers as new R&D chief

April 28, 2016
Life sciences

The bellwether biotech Biogen has wooed a top investigator from Pfizer to take over as head of R&D. The company reported this morning that Michael Ehlers, who had been running the neuroscience and pain research operations at Pfizer, is stepping into the role of executive vice president, R&D.

Ehlers, a former Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Duke, had specialized in neuronal organelles and the trafficking of neurotransmitter receptors.

His background in the Cambridge/Boston hub working for Pfizer should prove to be a nice fit with Biogen, which has carved out an ambitious set of leading–and notably risky–programs on Alzheimer’s and other tough diseases.

Biogen’s former R&D chief, Doug Williams, left last summer to run a biotech startup. And Ehlers is benefiting once again from the migration of senior biotech execs into startup roles. He was promoted at Pfizer close to a year ago after José-Carlos Gutiérrez-Ramos left his prominent job as head of BioTherapeutics R&D in Cambridge, MA, to take the reins at Synlogic.

Just last fall Biogen underwent a wrenching reorganization, laying off 850 staffers and narrowing its R&D focus after the numbers on its MS operations disappointed Wall Street. But it circled the wagons in Alzheimer’s, focusing on aducanumab, a Phase III beta-amyloid antibody that has produced mixed but encouraging early-stage data.

Biogen is also collaborating with Isis Pharmaceuticals ($ISIS) on spinal muscular atrophy, a next-gen MS drug in midstage development, a Phase III program for inflammatory bowel disease and a late-stage treatment for trigeminal neuralgia, a rare disease.

“Biogen is a recognized leader in applying the highest quality science to critical health issues in neurodegenerative and rare diseases,” said Ehlers.

By John Carroll

Source: Fierce Biotech

comments closed

Related News

June 24, 2022

Echosens and Novo Nordisk announce partnership to increase awareness and advance early diagnosis of NASH

Life sciences

Echosens, a high-technology company offering liver diagnostic solutions, and Novo Nordisk A/S, a leading global healthcare company, announced a partnership to advance early diagnosis of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and increase awareness of the disease among patients, healthcare providers and other stakeholders.

June 24, 2022

argenx receives positive CHMP opinion for Efgartigimod for the treatment of adult patients with Generalized Myasthenia Gravis in Europe

Life sciences

Positive opinion based on Phase 3 ADAPT trial showing efgartigimod provided clinically meaningful improvements in strength and quality of life measures. If approved, efgartigimod will be the first neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) blocker for the treatment of adults in Europe living with rare neuromuscular disease generalized myasthenia gravis (gMG).

June 24, 2022

Galapagos finally takes M&A plunge, spending $251M for 2 biotechs in CAR-T push

Life sciences

Galapagos CEO Paul Stoffels, M.D., has finally taken the plunge on M&A. The newly minted chief executive has signed not one but two deals in an attempt to right the ship, bringing two small biotechs aboard for a combined 239 million euros ($251.4 million).