CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 15, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Biogen Inc. (Nasdaq: BIIB) announced today that Alfred “Al” W. Sandrock, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., Head of Research & Development, will retire from the Company effective December 31, 2021. A 23-year veteran of Biogen, Dr. Sandrock, 64, led the development of many of the Company’s most important and transformational therapies in neurological diseases, including Tysabri® (natalizumab), Tecfidera® (dimethyl fumarate), Spinraza® (nusinersen), Plegridy® (peginterferon beta-1a) and Aduhelm™ (aducanumab-avwa). Dr. Sandrock served on Biogen’s Executive Committee since 2015, as Head of Research & Development since October 2019, and as Chief Medical Officer from 2012 to 2020.
Priya Singhal, M.D., M.P.H., Head of Global Safety and Regulatory Sciences, also with oversight responsibility for Japan and China R&D, will assume Dr. Sandrock’s duties as Head of Research & Development on an interim basis until a permanent successor is identified.
“Al is a visionary who has dedicated his life to helping patients confronting the most devastating diseases and is one of the most recognized drug developers of his generation,” said Michel Vounatsos, Chief Executive Officer at Biogen. “He inspired a new generation of scientists while helping to grow Biogen from a small biotech firm in Cambridge to a Fortune 500 enterprise, providing life-saving and life-changing treatments to patients all around the world. Among his multiple achievements, Al has built what I believe is the most talented neuroscience R&D team in the industry and a leading pipeline with approximately 30 clinical programs, including 10 programs in Phase 3 or filed.”
“During his tenure, Al spearheaded the development of many of Biogen’s most important pioneering therapies: Plegridy, Tysabri, and Tecfidera to treat multiple sclerosis, Spinraza, our groundbreaking treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, and Aduhelm, the first new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease in nearly 20 years. We are grateful for his outstanding leadership, intelligence, and passion to help society, and wish him all the best.”
Stelios Papadopoulos, Chairman of the Biogen Board of Directors, said: “Al is highly regarded and respected within Biogen and across the scientific community for his remarkable ability to combine rare intellect with warmth, humility, and empathy. His rare ability to see what others have overlooked and his tenacious drive to help others embodies what we strive to be as a company. The entire Board wishes to acknowledge with deep gratitude his tremendous contributions during his distinguished career.”
Dr. Sandrock said: “I have been honored to work alongside the many outstanding professionals helping to advance Biogen’s vital mission to develop innovative therapies for people living with serious neurological disorders. I am very proud of the Biogen R&D team, and I look forward to the new breakthroughs the company will achieve in the future.”
As pioneers in neuroscience, Biogen discovers, develops, and delivers worldwide innovative therapies for people living with serious neurological diseases as well as related therapeutic adjacencies. One of the world’s first global biotechnology companies, Biogen was founded in 1978 by Charles Weissmann, Heinz Schaller, Sir Kenneth Murray, and Nobel Prize winners Walter Gilbert and Phillip Sharp. Today, Biogen has the leading portfolio of medicines to treat multiple sclerosis, has introduced the first approved treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, and is providing the first and only approved treatment to address a defining pathology of Alzheimer’s disease. Biogen is also commercializing biosimilars and focusing on advancing the industry’s most diversified pipeline in neuroscience that will transform the standard of care for patients in several areas of high unmet need.
In 2020, Biogen launched a bold 20-year, $250 million initiative to address the deeply interrelated issues of climate, health, and equity. Healthy Climate, Healthy Lives™ aims to eliminate fossil fuels across the company’s operations, build collaborations with renowned institutions to advance the science to improve human health outcomes, and support underserved communities.
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