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Biogen Idec Announces Official Partnership with Sailing Sclerosis’ “Oceans of Hope” to Globally Change Perceptions of MS

May 28, 2014 Corporate

- Global Project Uses Sailing to Empower People Living with Multiple Sclerosis -


ZUG, Switzerland--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In celebration of World MS Day and as part of its ongoing mission to support those living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) globally, Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) announced that it has joined the Sailing Sclerosis Foundation’s (SSF) Oceans of Hope project as principal sponsor and official partner. This multi-year, global campaign is designed to use sailing as a means to educate and empower the MS community, changing perceptions of what it means to live with the disease and demonstrating the benefits of an active lifestyle.

The Oceans of Hope project was pioneered by Dr. Mikkel Anthonisen, Founder of SSF and a MS specialist at Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet. He and several other crew members, including some living with MS, will sail around the world, building strong bonds with the global MS community.

“We are proud to be a part of the Oceans of Hope project, which fits perfectly with our more than three decade commitment to supporting the MS community through innovative science and patient programs,” said David Allsop, senior vice president, Europe and Canada for Biogen Idec. “Treatment of MS needs to be holistic – incorporating the right therapies with community programs and resources. Through its message of empowerment, we believe that Oceans of Hope can benefit thousands of patients around the world.”

The campaign will kick off today in Copenhagen, Denmark with the official naming of the boat. It will officially launch from Copenhagen on June 15, after which the boat will stop in multiple harbors in Europe, North America, South America, and Australia. Each port day will be celebrated with an interactive event, giving people living with MS the opportunity to learn to sail and participate as crew members.

"We are delighted to partner with Biogen Idec. Oceans of Hope aims to change perceptions of MS by showing what is possible when people with a chronic disease are empowered to conquer their individual challenges,” said Dr. Anthonisen. “As a physician, I see that each person who has MS is unique and needs access to different resources to treat their individual disease. The voyage will also carry this year's World MS Day theme of access across the globe, building stronger bonds across the global MS and sailing communities."

For more information about Oceans of Hope and SSF, where the boat will stop, or how to participate in the program, please visit: www.sailingsclerosis.com. The boat’s voyage can be followed via SSF social media either via Twitter @sailsclerosis, Facebook at www.facebook.com/OceansofHope, and Instagram at OceansofHope.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. Symptoms may be mild or severe, ranging from numbness in the limbs to paralysis or loss of vision. The progression, severity and specific symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from one person to another. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide,1 with more than 500,000 sufferers in the European Union.2 Relapsing forms of MS include: relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), the most common form of the disease accounting for 85 percent of cases, which is characterized by clearly defined acute attacks with full recovery or with residual deficit upon recovery;3 and progressive-relapsing MS, which affects 5 percent of people with MS and is characterized by steadily worsening disease from the beginning with occasional acute attacks like those experienced by people with RRMS.4

About Biogen Idec

Through cutting-edge science and medicine, Biogen Idec discovers, develops and delivers to patients worldwide innovative therapies for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, hemophilia and autoimmune disorders. Founded in 1978, Biogen Idec is the world’s oldest independent biotechnology company. Patients worldwide benefit from its leading multiple sclerosis therapies. For product labeling, press releases and additional information about the Company, please visit www.biogenidec.com.

Biogen Idec is also on Twitter (@biogenidec): www.twitter.com/biogenidec


1 Multiple Sclerosis International Federation, Atlas of MS 2013. Epidemiology of MS. Page 8. Date Accessed: Mar. 17, 2014. http://www.msif.org/includes/documents/cm_docs/2013/m/msif-atlas-of-ms-2013-report.pdf?f=1

2 Multiple Sclerosis International Federation. Atlas of MS 2013. Epidemiology of MS. Date Accessed: Mar. 17, 2014. http://www.atlasofms.org/query.aspx

3 NMSS. Relapsing-Remitting MS. Date accessed: Mar. 17, 2014. http://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS/Types-of-MS/Relapsing-remitting-MS

4 NMSS. Progressive-Relapsing MS. Date accessed: March 17, 2014. http://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS/Types-of-MS/Progressive-relapsing-MS



Biogen Idec International
Shannon Altimari, +41 41 392 16 77



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