Biogen takes European MS marketing in-house with JV buyouts

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Biogen Idec ($BIIB) is taking its multiple sclerosis marketing in-house. The Massachusetts-based company has bought out the joint-venture partner that had been selling Avonex and Tysabri, forming wholly owned subsidiaries with commercial operations in 29 countries. The two subsidiaries are Biogen Idec Italia and Biogen Idec Switzerland.

The company didn't disclose the terms of the deals, which come after 15 years of working with Milan-based Dompé Group. Francesco Granata, Biogen's EVP of global commercial operations, thanked Dompé for "enabling Biogen Idec to solidify our position as a leader in multiple sclerosis" but hinted his company believed it could do the job more efficiently.

"To maintain this leadership position in an increasingly complex industry, we must have greater focus on our operational efficiencies and the use of our resources," Granata said in a statement. "Bringing the joint ventures in Italy and Switzerland into the Biogen Idec affiliate network will be crucial in helping us achieve this."

The marketing move comes soon after Biogen won conditional approval for its oral MS drug Fampyra in Europe, as Mass High Tech points out. Fampyra is designed to help adults with MS improve their walking abilities. The drug is set to become available in Germany this month, with other markets to follow on a country-by-country basis.

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