Since its debut in 1993 as the number one company in The Globe 100 survey, Biogen's financial success over the years has enabled it to remain near the top, this year at number six.
That local distinction parallels national recognition as Biogen recently became part of the Standard & Poor's 500 index.
''Our mission is to become a global operating company,'' said James Mullen, the 41-year-old Biogen president who is scheduled to become chief executive at the company's annual meeting June 16. The post is now held by chairman Jim Vincent, 60, who is scaling back his duties with the company.
Mullen, who has been with Biogen for 11 years, takes full control of the company as it faces increased competition both here and abroad from new drugs to treat multiple sclerosis. Avonex, Biogen's injectable drug now used by 86,000 patients worldwide, saw sales soar 57 percent to $621 million last year, with some Wall Street analysts projecting revenues of $800 million this year.
Already, Avonex is being compared to rival drugs such as Copaxone from Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. That daily-injected drug has few side effects and is gaining market share in Europe, which has been one of Biogen's biggest growth areas in recent years.
Last month Biogen's stock plunged 18 percent after it reported lower-than-expected first-quarter sales of Avonex - even though they were up 33 percent to $174.6 million. The company added 2,000 new patients during the quarter, below Wall Street's expectation that it would add 3,000 to 5,000 patients.
Beyond Avonex, Biogen's drug pipeline has drawn some concern. Amevive, the company's promising psoriasis drug, is currently in two pivotal phase III clinical trials.
But on the downside was last fall's sudden cancellation of six clinical trials of Antova, a monoclonal antibody drug, after some patients suffered life-threatening blood clots.
''We've been doing intensive research to understand what happened to those patients,'' said Mullen. ''I am still optimistic that Antova will come back.''