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Former Biogen CEO to Become Biotech's New Coronavirus Czar

By Cory Renauer – Feb 29, 2020 at 2:12PM

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Look out SARS-CoV-2, there's a new sheriff in town.

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) has officially tapped former Biogen (BIIB 39.47%) CEO George Scangos to coordinate the trade association's coronavirus containment effort. Scangos served as CEO of Biogen from 2010 through 2016, and under his tenure, the company's market value rose five-fold to around $57 billion.

Well suited to the position 

Financial success during his tenure at Biogen propelled him to his current position, but it isn't the main reason the industry's largest trade association tapped Scangos. BIO's new coronavirus czar currently serves as CEO of Vir Biotechnology (VIR 0.64%), a clinical-stage drugmaker developing new medicines to combat infectious diseases. 

Coronavirus blood vial

Image source: Getty Images.

Recently, Vir Biotechnology and WuXi Biologics joined forces to develop potential antibodies to treat people with COVID-19 infections. Vir isolated antibodies preserved from individuals that survived infections with the coronavirus responsible for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and WuXi will help with manufacturing and clinical-stage trials.

Mobilizing an alphabet army

Collectively, BIO represents enough industry professionals to wallpaper a quarantine zone with doctorates, degrees, and diplomas. According to a spokesman, around 40 members have already reached out to offer their expertise, and around half are actively researching treatments, vaccines, and diagnostics aimed at the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

While BIO probably isn't going to directly fund the coronavirus containment efforts of its smaller members, it can act as an unofficial matchmaker for older members interested in a collaboration deal.

There are government agencies eager to fund potential new solutions, but navigating the nation's capital is usually more complicated than the science behind vaccine development. BIO could go a long way to help its younger, resource-strapped members connect with government agencies. 

Cory Renauer has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Biogen. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Biogen Inc. Stock Quote
Biogen Inc.
BIIB
$275.86 (39.47%) $78.07
Vir Biotechnology, Inc. Stock Quote
Vir Biotechnology, Inc.
VIR
$18.87 (0.64%) $0.12

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