CEO Statement

Pioneers of a Better Future

In 2018 we celebrated the 40th anniversary of Biogen – a pioneer in the independent biotechnology space. Today we remain as forward thinking and determined as our founders, whose vision for the treatment of devastating diseases has helped transform countless patient lives and set an example in medical innovation. Not only have we expanded our therapeutic focus within neuroscience, positioning us to lead in an area of medicine that has vast unmet needs, but we also continue to demonstrate leadership in how we work.

As we strive to improve patient outcomes, we care deeply about making a difference and keep social and environmental outcomes top of mind. We are passionate about our commitment to patients, our employees, the environment, and the communities where we live and work. We have a great sense of responsibility about our role as corporate citizens and our impact on society both today and in the future. This is why we monitor and report on our progress; so we can constantly look at how we can improve. Ultimately, we want to help make the world a healthier place for the greatest number of people. We take pride in tackling intractable diseases and in taking a comprehensive approach to health.

Pioneers for Patients & Access

First and foremost, our purpose is to improve the lives of patients. This goal is the animating force behind every therapy we explore – and one we have achieved with SPINRAZA, the first approved treatment for the rare neurological disease, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Since its launch two years ago, it has become the standard of care in SMA, and as of December 31, 2018, SPINRAZA has been approved in over 40 countries and received formal reimbursement in 30 countries.

But our commitment doesn’t end there. Knowing the importance of awareness and early treatment, we also successfully advocated for the addition of SMA to the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel for newborns in the U.S. and launched a new collaboration with genetics company, Invitae, to offer genetic testing at no cost to individuals suspected of having, or have been clinically diagnosed with, SMA.

We also continue to adapt our thinking and approach to the pricing and access to our breakthrough therapies. Our newly revised pricing principles are a clear and transparent set of guidelines aimed at supporting our pricing and access actions in an increasingly ambiguous and changing environment.

Pioneers for Diversity & Inclusion

Our culture and mission attract some of the world’s leading scientific minds – individuals who are passionate about improving the lives of this generation and future generations. These individuals come from all walks of life, and we are strengthened daily by the value of their diversity of thought and experience.

That’s one of the reasons we were an early industry supporter of the Yes On 3 campaign, which aimed to preserve Massachusetts protections for transgender people. Through our advocacy, time, financial support and collaborative work with others in the business community, we helped to make the Yes On 3 campaign a success, and we continue to encourage diversity and inclusivity in our industry.

Pioneers in STEM Education

We continue to strengthen our ongoing investment in the next generation of pioneering scientists through our efforts to make STEM education and careers accessible to diverse populations. Our Community Lab programs engage and inspire middle and high school students in science learning. Since 2002 more than 50,000 students have participated in Community Lab at our Cambridge, Massachusetts and Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina locations.

In 2018 we added to that with the launch of STAR – an innovative $10 million multi-year coordinated funding strategy designed to help catalyze the development of a STEM education ecosystem in Cambridge and Somerville, Massachusetts. The goal is to nurture a diverse pipeline of students interested in pursuing STEM from middle school through high school and into college.

Pioneers in Science-Based Environmental Commitments

We employ science in our approach to environmental sustainability, both in terms of our resource use and in our daily operations. We also strive to be a catalyst for positive change by encouraging others in our value chain to adopt responsible environmental policies.

Our science-based approach is demonstrated by our 2030 greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target of 35 percent. This target, which was approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative, can also be seen in our context-based water targets for our major facilities. Since 2014 we’ve been proud to be a carbon-neutral company, with a 100% renewable power commitment, and this approach has generated a 76% reduction in our operational carbon intensity since 2006. 

Looking ahead: Our commitment to society

This is a remarkable time for Biogen. As we reflect on the accomplishments of our first 40 years, our commitment to patients is undimmed. We continue to be pioneers in neuroscience and have taken a leadership role in multiple aspects of corporate social responsibility, including diversity and inclusion and environmental sustainability. In fact, in 2018 Biogen was ranked as the most sustainable biotech company by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. Additional details on how we are living that commitment can be found in this CSR report.

I would like to extend my gratitude to all of our employees for rising to the challenge of corporate social responsibility. It exemplifies our commitment to our patients, our communities and to the overarching goal of health. This is true leadership, because it enables us to not only change lives, but also change the world we live in for the better.

To that end, I am proud to share Biogen’s 2018 Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

Michel Vounatsos
Chief Executive Officer