Billionaire investor Nelson Peltz has joined Biogen Inc.’s board as chairman, six months after his company Trian Fund Management LP joined the clinical-stage biotech in opposition to one of its biggest pipeline candidates.
Peltz’s takeover push hasn’t yet paid off, however, as the U.S. regulator has not given Biogen an approval in Europe, where the company’s Alzheimer’s drug has gone through a few reversals and reviews and still faces potential rejection.
The board reorganization is part of a “long-term plan to better drive innovation, growth and creation of value,” the company said in a statement Monday. Peltz “is a unique and experienced member of our board, and we look forward to benefiting from his perspectives in pursuit of all of our goals,” Biogen said.
Even though Trian pounced last year in advance of Biogen’s planned acquisition of flu drugmaker Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc., the fund has also clashed with U.S. regulators in a dispute over a manufacturing facility, Trian said in August when Peltz became chairman.
Trian also showed a downbeat outlook for Biogen’s pipeline last week when it said that fewer patients had been enrolled in the critical pivotal study for the Alzheimer’s drug, aducanumab, as trial data continue to be published. Peltz and his allies said last year that the drug’s development needed to proceed with a strong foundation.
It’s rare for drugs to end up rejected by European regulators. Europe has so far approved a handful of drugs based on promising research. But in June, it gave a green light to Gilead Sciences Inc.’s triple-pill HIV treatment, saying it had “exceptional benefits” over older drugs that can cause life-threatening complications.
Peltz said that without discussing his conflict with U.S. regulators, he has no comment on questions about concerns by patients or doctors in some U.S. parts of the country who have complained that the drug trials have been confusing.