In June 2003, and IDEC Pharmaceuticals announced their agreement to merge. This merger was finalized in November 2003, creating Idec, the third-largest biotechnology company in the world. The company is a NASDAQ-traded firm listed under the symbol BIIB.

Each company has a track record of success in the development, manufacture and commercialization of novel, first-in-class products that significantly improve human healthcare. Select milestones in the history of each company include:

1978 A group of the world’s most accomplished biologists gather in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss founding a new kind of pharmaceutical company. NV is incorporated.
1980 Walter Gilbert, Ph.D., of Harvard University and one of ’s founders, receives the Nobel Prize for sequencing nucleotides.

enters into an exclusive worldwide license agreement with Schering-Plough Corporation for beta interferon.

1983 The company also holds its Initial Public Offering, becoming a NASDAQ-traded firm under symbol BGEN.
1986 ’s worldwide licensee for recombinant alpha interferon, Schering-Plough, begins commercial sales of Intron® A (interferon alfa-2b) — the first -developed product — for the treatment of hairy cell leukemia.
1989 SmithKline Beecham, ’s licensee for its hepatitis B technology, launches Engerix®-B (hepatitis B vaccine) in the United States.
1993 Phillip Sharp, Ph.D., of MIT and a founder of , receives the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discovery of split genes. Professor Sir Kenneth Murray of the University of Edinburgh, another founder, is knighted for his discovery of hepatitis B antigens.
1996 FDA approves ’s AVONEX® (Interferon beta-1a) for treatment of relapsing forms of MS. A year later, the EMEA approves AVONEX for European marketing and sales.
2000 and Elan Corporation, plc announce collaboration on development and commercialization of the drug candidate ANTEGREN® (natalizumab) in MS and Crohn’s disease indications.
2003 FDA approves AMEVIVE® (alefacept) for the treatment of adult patients with moderate-to-severe chronic plaque psoriasis.

FDA also licenses ’s 90,000-liter large-scale manufacturing plant in Research Triangle Park, NC for commercial production of AMEVIVE.

IDEC Pharmaceuticals

1985 IDEC Pharmaceuticals is founded in San Francisco, CA to develop and commercialize “anti-idiotype” monoclonal antibodies, a patient-specific, customized approach to treating non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
1991 IDEC holds its Initial Public Offering, becoming a NASDAQ-traded firm under the symbol IDPH.
1993 IDEC begins Phase I clinical trials with IDEC-C2B8, a monoclonal antibody product later known as RITUXAN® (rituximab). A Phase II trial begins later that year.

IDEC begins clinical studies with a radioconjugate that weds a monoclonal antibody against B cells to the radioisotope Yttrium. This product later becomes known as ZEVALIN® (ibritumomab tiuxetan).

1995 IDEC signs collaboration agreement with Genentech, Inc. for further development and marketing of RITUXAN, in U.S. and Europe.
1997 FDA approves RITUXAN for the treatment of certain types of B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) — the first monoclonal antibody to be approved as a cancer therapeutic.
2001 IDEC breaks ground for its world-class facility for the manufacture of biologics. When complete, this facility will provide Idec with an additional 90,000 liters of biologics manufacturing capacity.
2002 FDA approves ZEVALIN for the treatment of certain types of B-cell NHL — the first radioimmunotherapy to gain approval as a cancer therapeutic.