Founded in 1978 by a small group of visionary scientists, Biogen helped pioneer the biotechnology industry. Today, we are one of the oldest independent biotechnology companies in the world.

For close to four decades, hundreds of thousands of people around the world living with serious illnesses have benefited from innovative and important medicines developed by the people of Biogen. We are proud of the role we have played in advancing the field of biotechnology and helping patients — and are building on this legacy of great science and discovery as we pursue increasingly complex challenges.

  • A group of accomplished scientists and three venture capitalists gather in Geneva, Switzerland, to establish Biogen NV, a new pharmaceutical company with an emphasis on breakthroughs in biology.
  • Biogen scientist Charles Weissmann, M.D., Ph.D., announces that he has successfully cloned biologically active human leukocyte (alpha) interferon. Biogen grants worldwide licence to Schering-Plough for the interferon alpha.
  • Biogen scientist Kenneth Murray, Ph.D., synthesises bacteria of hepatitis B virus protein antigens.
  • Biogen founder Walter Gilbert, Ph.D., wins the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in DNA sequencing.
  • The company decides to open facilities — including its new headquarters — in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • Biogen becomes a NASDAQ-listed company following the completion of its IPO.
  • Silicon Valley venture capitalists join forces with research scientists to establish IDEC Pharmaceuticals in San Francisco, California. The goal is to develop and commercialise monoclonal antibodies.
  • With approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Schering-Plough begins sales of interferon alfa-2b, the first Biogen-developed product brought to market. This is a treatment for leukaemia.
  • Biogen establishes its first manufacturing facilities.
  • Biogen reports its first profitable quarter as a public company.
  • Biogen announces FDA approval of a recombinant hepatitis B vaccine from SmithKline Beecham (now GlaxoSmithKline). The vaccine used technology licensed from Biogen.
  • IDEC submits its IPO to become a NASDAQ-listed firm.
  • Biogen founder Phillip Sharp, Ph.D., receives the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discovery of split genes.
  • Dr. Murray is knighted for his discovery of hepatitis B antigens.
  • Biogen expands to Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
  • Biogen announces FDA approval of interferon beta-1a for the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). It is approved in the European Union one year later.
  • The FDA approves IDEC’s rituximab for certain types of B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This is the first monoclonal antibody therapy to be approved for a type of cancer. The FDA eventually approves this therapy for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener’s granulomatosis), microscopic polyangiitis and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.
  • Biogen introduces MS ActiveSource®, a comprehensive support service for multiple sclerosis patients and caregivers.
  • Biogen opens its 90,000-litre large-scale manufacturing plant in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
  • The company opens its first Community Lab in Cambridge. This teaching facility provides hands-on science learning and information on science careers for local middle and high school students.
  • Biogen breaks ground on a new manufacturing facility in Denmark.
  • Biogen and IDEC merge, creating Biogen Idec (NASDAQ:BIIB).
  • The FDA approves Biogen’s natalizumab, a monotherapy for the treatment of patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis.
  • Biogen Idec opens its new international headquarters in Zug, Switzerland.
  • Biogen Idec and collaborator Elan Pharmaceuticals voluntarily remove its natalizumab product from the market after the emergence of one confirmed and one suspected case of a serious side effect called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), an infrequent but serious brain infection that leads to death or severe disability.
  • After Biogen Idec’s exhaustive re-evaluation of natalizumab and review by an FDA Advisory Board, FDA re-approves the product for marketing, and the therapy is reintroduced in the United States. and released in the European Union with a warning for PML.
  • Biogen Idec acquires Fumapharm AG. This European company developed the technology that eventually leads to the approval of dimethyl fumarate, a therapy for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis.
  • Biogen Idec acquires Syntonix Pharmaceuticals, which eventually leads to the development of two haemophilia therapies.
  • Biogen Idec receives a licence from Acorda Therapeutics to commercialise Fampridine outside the United States. In 2011, Biogen Idec received European approval for fampridine, as a treatment for the improvement of walking in adult multiple sclerosis patients.
  • The Biogen Idec Foundation announces its largest grant to date: a $1 million grant in science education to the North Carolina Biotechnology Centre.
  • Biogen Idec refines its business strategy by focusing on new therapies in neurology, immunology and haemophilia.
  • The FDA approves rituximab plus chemotherapy for treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.
  • The company enters into a licensing agreement with Knopp Neurosciences, which brings in dexpramipexole, a compound that the company investigates for treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (known as Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in the UK and Ireland).
  • Biogen Idec business development executes deals with Portola Pharmaceuticals, on oral therapy for autoimmune diseases, and with Samsung Biologics on biosimilars to form a joint venture now called Samsung Bioepis.
  • Inaugural Care Deeply Volunteer Day kicks off. Thousands of Biogen employees around the world participate in our now annual day of service.
  • Biogen Idec helps to create a new research consortium to identify new approaches to treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (known as Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in the UK and Ireland).
  • Biogen Idec collaborates with the National Haemophilia Foundation, the American Thrombosis and Haemostasis Network, and the Puget Sound Blood Centre on a nationwide programme that offers free genetic testing to people with haemophilia and their families.
  • Biogen Idec announces a collaboration with Isis Pharmaceuticals to identify new approaches in treating spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), myotonic dystrophy type 1 and neurological/neuromuscular disorders.
  • The company acquires Stromedix, a biotechnology company focused on innovative therapies for fibrosis and organ failure.
  • Biogen Idec announces disappointing Phase III results for dexpramipexole, which is being investigated for treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (known as Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in the UK and Ireland). The study revealed that dexpramipexole does not slow the progression of ALS.
  • Dimethyl fumarate, a new oral therapy for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis, is approved in the United States, Canada and Australia. It will be approved in Europe a year later.
  • Biogen Idec completes its acquisition of all rights to natalizumab from Elan Pharmaceuticals International, Ltd., an affiliate of Elan Corporation.
  • The FDA approves (obinutuzumab) for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. Biogen Idec collaborated on obinutuzumab with Genentech, a wholly owned subsidiary of Roche Pharmaceuticals.
  • Biogen Idec moves its company headquarters back to Cambridge, Massachusetts, after several years in Weston, Massachusetts.
  • New collaborations include agreements with Galapagos NV subsidiary BioFocus on treatment for the autoimmune skin disease scleroderma, and with Isis Pharmaceuticals on therapies for neurological disorders.
  • The FDA approves Coagulation Factor IX (Recombinant), Fc Fusion Protein] (for haemophilia B) and [Antihaemophilic Factor (Recombinant), Fc Fusion Protein] (for haemophilia A) — the first new treatment advances for these diseases in nearly two decades.
  • Peginterferon beta-1a is approved by the FDA for the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) and in the European Union for relapsing-remitting MS.
  • In collaboration with Sobi, Biogen Idec announces that it intends to donate one billion international units of clotting factor therapy to humanitarian aid programmes in the developing world over the coming years.
  • The company finalises collaboration agreements with Sangamo BioSciences on therapeutics for haemoglobinopathies and with Eisai to jointly develop and commercialise therapies for Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The company returns to its original name: Biogen.
  • Biogen acquires U.K.-based Convergence Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, adding to its portfolio of pipeline candidates for neuropathic pain.
  • The European Commission approved the first etanercept biosimilar and an infliximab biosimilar for use in the European Union.
  • Biogen spins off its leading portfolio of haemophilia assets into an independent publicly traded company, Bioverativ.