Former Biogen CEO George Scangos said he will be retiring from his current position of CEO at Vir Biotechnology after a 40-year career in pharma, the company announced Wednesday

Scangos will be replaced by Marianne De Backer, who currently serves as EVP, head of pharmaceuticals strategy, business development and licensing/open innovation at Bayer.

During Scangos’ time heading Vir, the immunology company became well-known for developing COVID-19 antibody drug sotrovimab as well as Ebola therapies. Its current pipeline focuses on COVID-19, hepatitis B and D, influenza A and HIV.

However, Scangos, a biotech lifer, is perhaps best known for previously serving as CEO at Biogen for six years starting in 2010, where he helped steer the company in a new direction. 

Under Scango’s leadership, Biogen dropped programs in cancer and instead focused its efforts on neuroscience – including the ALS drug Spinraza.

Scangos also bet $2.5 million on the now controversial Alzheimer’s treatment, Aduhelm, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2021 under the accelerated approval pathway.

Scangos left Biogen in 2016 and joined Vir in 2017, where he guided the company through the tumultuous years of the COVID-19 pandemic. A crowning achievement was Vir’s COVID-19 monoclonal antibody, sotrovimab, which was granted emergency use authorization by the FDA in 2021.

“George led the company through a period of significant transformation, accelerated its growth and established a broad pipeline and strategy that we believe will support our long-term success,” Vicki Sato, chairman of the board at Vir, said in a statement.

Prior to announcing his retirement, Scangos made headlines just last week for saying Biogen “shot themselves in the foot” by deciding to charge $56,000 for the controversial Alzheimer’s drug. 

Before his stint at Biogen, Scangos also served as president and CEO of Exelixis for 14 years, as well as chair of lobbying group PhRMA in 2016.

“[Vir] is operating from a position of strength with significant cash, an impressive pipeline and critical near-term catalysts that have the potential to support multiple important therapies,” Scangos said in a statement. “[W]e have laid out a vision for the company that gives me great confidence in Vir’s ability to transform the infectious disease landscape.”

De Backer brings veteran experience in global expansion, innovation technology licensing and M&A to her the CEO role. De Backer spent 20 years at Johnson & Johnson, taking on roles including scientist, scientific group leader and positions in corporate development.

Scangos will continue in an advisory role to successor De Backer through June 2.