Biogen

Business problem:
Insights

Serious games used:
Custom-designed business wargame

In the fall of 1985, the biotechnology company Biogen faced a formidable challenge: launching its first product, a drug to treat relapsing multiple scleroris, into a market already dominated by several other pharmaceutical firms in the US, Europe and the Middle East. To succeed would require shifting from its familiar core strength of research and development to the unfamiliar world of market development.

The main objective of the game designed to understand and meet these new realities was to test pricing and marketing strategies in the US and Western Europe. A small team of Biogen executives stepped into the shoes of their competitors, with the aim of taking on their own company with everything they could muster. The hope was that the entire management team of Biogen would better understand what it faced in the marketplace for MS drugs.

Biogen learned valuable lessons about where to concentrate its efforts: e.g., the game made it clear that prices significantly higher than those of its competitors would involve the need to convince Medicare of the product’s clear superiority, a potentially onerous, lengthy and expensive task. Rough price parity with the nearest competitor meant Biogen could retain a healthy share of the market.  Today its product is one of the leaders in the market for drugs to treat MS.

 

For more information
Wargaming for Leaders, a book that includes this case study.

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