• The job cuts affected the multiple sclerosis team the most
  • Laid-off employees will get severance and support services after transitioning out of the company
  • Some will have the opportunity to apply for another role within Biogen

Massachusetts-based biotechnology company Biogen Inc. has cut more jobs to overcome surging losses, with employees who worked on its multiple sclerosis (MS) medicines reportedly affected the most.

The Cambridge drugmaker confirmed in an email Monday that it laid off some of its employees in the U.S. The company didn't specify the exact number of employees as well as the functions and locations affected by the decision. However, an unknown number of members of the MS team were laid off as part of the job cuts, Boston Business Journal reported.

"Some of our colleagues in the U.S. were recently informed that their roles are being impacted as a result of decisions designed to optimize our business strategies and align our cost and revenue base. We appreciate the contributions of our departing colleagues," a company spokesperson said, as per Biospace.

The company reportedly said that all laid-off employees would receive severance and support services after their transition out of the company. Meanwhile, some would have "the opportunity to apply for another role within Biogen."

Matthew Winton, who worked with Biogen for over nine years, took to LinkedIn late last month to share that he was no longer a part of the company. He headed Biogen's MS franchise in the U.S.

"It is tough to say goodbye to a special organization like Biogen and I remain a strong advocate and supporter of their important mission," Winton wrote in his post. "I am so grateful for the opportunity to have worked with some of the most talented professionals in the industry and proud of all the work we did to support the MS and (spinal muscular atrophy) communities."

This comes months after Biogen slashed 885 jobs globally last year in the wake of the catastrophic rollout of its Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm. An investigation by Stat News revealed that the company initially planned to terminate more than 1,000 jobs in a bid to cut $500 million to $750 million in expenses. The layoff was predicted to be the largest in the company's history.

In February, Biogen president and CEO Christopher Viehbacher hinted at additional cuts as the company struggled with falling revenue. During a financial results presentation, he specifically highlighted the "declining revenue base" of its MS business, which is responsible for the majority of sales and marketing spending in the company.

"Now, the MS franchise still supports most of our revenue in the business," Viehbacher said, as per Boston Business Journal. "So we're going to have to be careful about how much we want to reduce that spend by, but clearly, that's a declining revenue base."

In 2022, MS business earned $5.43 billion for Biogen, accounting for approximately 68% of the company's full-year revenue.

The Biogen spokesperson regarded the MS franchise as an important part of the company's base business, adding that it would continue to invest in it.

"However, we will need to find the right balance across the entire portfolio," the spokesperson clarified.

Biogen ended 2022 with a 7.4% decline in revenue, to $10.173 billion. It included a 6.9% decrease in its Q4 revenue, to $2.544 billion. The company cited plummeting sales of its best-selling drug, MS treatment Tecfidera, amid an increase in competition from cheaper generics.

A sign marks a Biogen facility in Cambridge