EMD Serono Staging Battle Against Multiple Sclerosis in Boston, Chief Says
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both oncology and neurodegenerative global research hubs here in the United States and mainly in Boston. That triggers, in fact, even more collaboration with academic institutions and medical schools in this area. All research around MS will be done in the Boston area. In fact, the majority of MS research on a global basis will also be done in Boston. This is all really about understanding the underlying pathology of MS.
X: Have you been able to lure scientists away from competitors like Biogen?
FF: As you can imagine I’m quite sensitive to this [back-and-forth] between Biogen Idec, which I’m not really part of. We’re doing the right thing in MS, we’re concentrated and focused on MS. And that would mean what? Obviously, folks who are in MS want to come and work for a leader in MS. And Cladribine is going to be potentially the first oral treatment for MS in the United States. If you put this all together, you can imagine that people are coming to us and knocking on our door and saying we want to become part of this fantastic transformation that EMD Serono is going to make available for patients. It’s quite compelling if you are in MS in the Boston area and you work for other companies. At one point you are going to be looking at EMD Serono. Having said that, we are not the only shop here running MS [programs]. With respect to the other players, we are a leader in MS and we are delivering on the milestones.
X: How well is EMD known for its MS research?
FF: We were always in neurodegenerative and endocrinology, and in neurodegenerative we were in MS. It is true that in neurodegenerative we have now executed our plan. We did announce a couple of years ago that our standing in MS is very strong and our commitment to MS is very strong. So this [recent news about Cladribine] has been the fulfillment of our plans over the past five years.
X: Are people starting to get the message?
FF: Some people are saying “Who are those folks who are really committed and behind MS research?” I think it’s pretty clear. If you look at our external activities, our internal activities, our job creation, our research around MS in Boston and in the United States, it is pretty clear or one could conclude logically that EMD Serono is the major player in the MS field today and tomorrow.