Biogen proud of Swiss roots

Biogen, an American multinational biotechnology company, was founded in Switzerland 40 years ago. It invited Europe’s scientific community together here to celebrate the special anniversary. The management continues to be committed to having its headquarters and production site in Switzerland.

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(Image credit: Kurt Stocker/flickr)

Biogen was established in Geneva 40 years ago. Looking back, this marks the foundation of one of the first global independent biotech companies in the world. The company’s current management demonstrated the importance of its Swiss roots at the anniversary event in the Culture and Convention Center, Lucerne. CEO Michel Vounatsos said: “We are extremely proud of having made the breakthroughs that were foundational for our success here in Switzerland.”

The researchers who created Biogen in 1978 included the famous Swiss molecular biologist Charles Weissmann as well as two future Nobel Prize winners Walter Gilbert and Phillip A. Sharp. Weissmann and Sharp attended the celebration in Lucerne and recalled how pioneering this research was in Europe back then. Biogen’s laboratory in Switzerland was able to recruit the top talent of the time.

The company went public in the USA in the 1980s, but the international headquarters are still in Zug today and a high-tech production facility is currently being built in Luterbach SO, which will take Biogen into the future. According to the CEO, “Switzerland offers the perfect environment”.

Biogen above all made a name for itself in the development of multiple sclerosis (MS) treatments, and now also focuses on neurology. In Lucerne, the management emphasised that the company will maintain its specialist course and concentrate on neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and motor neurone disease (MND).

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