James Mullen, Chmn. & CEO of Biogen

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, October 15, 2002, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Shares of Biogen flying higher Friday. The biotech company reporting quarterly results that beat the Street estimates handily.  Joining me now, the company's chairman and CEO, Jim Mullen.

Jim good to see you.

JAMES MULLEN, CHMN. & CEO, BIOGEN: Good to see you again, Neil.

CAVUTO: OK, Jim, as you know I always feel compelled to tell this just for getting it out there. I've disclosed that I MS. I take his drug Avonex for that MS. Let's talk about Avonex, sales have kind of stagnated, are you worried about that?

MULLEN: Well, actually, one of the reasons for the brisk stock rise, price rise today was people are comfortable with the sales results this quarter. I think when Serono came into the market in March, some thought we were going to get run off of the field. And I think we have shown our resiliency. So the market growth has slowed a little bit, but I think we held our own, did fine.

CAVUTO: Jim, you mention Serono, which makes this rival drug, Rebif.  It has gotten a little more attention over the last week with Teri Garr, the actress coming out saying she has multiple sclerosis, apparently had it for about 20 years, and now saying that she is a paid spokesperson for Serono. Do you find the timing of that weird?

MULLEN: Well, everybody is trying to do those things and everybody would like a spokesman, so not surprised. I think the timing may be coincident with Pfizer starting to get their people out in the field with a co-promotion agreement with Serono.

CAVUTO: But, I don't even know if it is ethical, is it?

MULLEN: Other people are doing it, I mean, we have spokesmen, ourselves, so you know, as long as it is disclosed, I think it is fine.

CAVUTO: I'm sorry, I don't mean to besmirch Teri Garr. But do you find it odd that she comes out now and announces at the same time this spokesman role?

MULLEN: Well, you know, that is perhaps a little bit odd. But I don't really want to get sort of tangled up in why people decide to come out and talk about things when they do. And in one respect, people coming out, talking about diseases, building up the awareness, I think in general, that is fine. Prefer that they weren't, you know, prescribing or sounding like they are prescribing or demanding one drug over another.

CAVUTO: All right. Now one drug that's getting a lot of attention is the your psoriasis drug, I guess you're hoping to have out on the market by next year at this time. How is that looking?

MULLEN: That is looking good, we are right at the end stages with both the FDA and the EMEA which is the European equivalent of the FDA. We should get an approval here in the next few months and be out early next year with that product. We have got high hopes for that product in psoriasis and other diseases. So we expect that to be a half billion-dollar product within three years.

CAVUTO: The fact that you are a company that has a lot of the cash on hand, what do you want to do with that?

MULLEN: Well, it is interesting, you know, we've gotten, you know, some criticism from folks about cash on hand but when you see what's happened in the marketplace over the last couple of years, it is looking smarter to have some cash on hand. And with the distress generally I think through the emerging companies, the non-earnings biotech companies, folks like us with cash I think are going to have some opportunities to collaborate on products that could be very important for our strategy and our future.

CAVUTO: All right. James Mullen, good seeing you again, thank you.

MULLEN: Great to talk to you. Thanks.

CAVUTO: The chairman and CEO of Biogen, James Mullen.

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