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Title: Vice president, general counsel and secretary Age: 53 The company: Founded in 1978, Cambridge, Mass.-based Biogen Inc. is a leading biotechnology pharmaceutical company that researches, develops, manufactures and distributes drugs. Biogen has 1,351 full-time employees and had 1999 revenues of $794.4 million. Route to the top: Born and raised in Bucks County, Pa., Mr. Bucknum was educated as a scientist before considering a career in law. “I am a scientist who went in the wrong direction,” says Mr. Bucknum, who earned a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and a master’s degree in pharmacology from Temple University and who was enrolled in the school’s doctoral program before realizing he was “probably not the next Nobel Prize winner.” He switched to Temple’s law school and got his J.D. in 1974. After graduation, he joined E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., in Wilmington, Del., where for 10 years he served as patent counsel and general legal counsel for the company’s agricultural and pharmaceutical products, then shipped out to Geneva, to become European counsel for DuPont’s international businesses. In 1984, he jumped to DuPont’s business side, where for two years he was a marketing manager in Geneva, overseeing agricultural product sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “I didn’t know the difference between weeds and wheat,” Mr. Bucknum admits. But his unfamiliarity worked to his advantage because it kept him from micromanaging the 30 staffers, one of his first lessons as a manager, he says. He stayed on the business side another four years, directing regulatory affairs and quality assurance for five of DuPont’s medical products businesses in Wilmington — including pharmaceuticals and biotechnology systems. In 1990, he rejoined the legal world when the DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Co. — a former joint venture — hired him as general counsel and to oversee government and public affairs. In 1996, Mr. Bucknum joined Biogen as chief corporate counsel and was promoted to general counsel in June 1999. The department: The 13 lawyers are divided into four groups. Four lawyers do corporate work; six do intellectual property; one handles government relations in Washington, D.C.; and one does international law in Paris. Knowing your client: Mr. Bucknum puts great emphasis on personally understanding, and having his staff understand, the work Biogen does. He urges his staff to spend considerable time talking with Biogen staff about their research and marketing, and likewise, Mr. Bucknum says, he spends as much time “wandering around” the Biogen facility talking to employees, as he does in meetings with senior management. He says that these relationships enable the legal unit to provide better legal services. “Unless you are active and involved with their business, I don’t think you can give them good service,” he says. While talking with the sales and marketing staff, he learned that some of the salespeople were upset because competitors were not following U.S. Food and Drug Administration rules for drug advertising. He followed up by calling and writing the competitors about the problem. One legal department staffer, who went so far as going on the road for two days with a sales representative, won the sales department’s annual “most valuable player” award for becoming an integral part of the business team, Mr. Bucknum says. Key litigation: Biogen is involved in about 30 pending lawsuits, Mr. Bucknum says, comparatively fewer than at DuPont, which had hundreds at any given time. Biogen’s flagship drug, Avonex, which treats multiple sclerosis and generated $620.6 million in sales last year, is the focus of several cases. In one, pending in federal court in Massachusetts, Biogen is defending patent infringement allegations brought by Berlex Laboratories Inc., which is seeking an injunction and damages. Mr. Bucknum says that he is involved in every strategic decision in the case, reviews key filings and sometimes talks as often as daily with lead outside counsel William F. Lee, managing partner of Hale and Dorr L.L.P., in Boston. Outside counsel: As with the decision to retain Mr. Lee — whom Mr. Bucknum calls the country’s top intellectual property litigator — Mr. Bucknum chooses individual lawyers, not firms, to handle outside legal work. Although large law firms often say that they can handle everything for their corporate customers, “they really can’t,” says Mr. Bucknum. For example, Biogen uses litigator William C. Brashares, of the Washington, D.C., office of Boston’s Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C., because “he knows the company and knows the issues, so he can step right into any kind of case we have,” Mr. Bucknum says. Mr. Brashares has handled several cases for Biogen, including defending allegations of securities fraud that went to trial and an arbitration in Switzerland. Other key outside counsel include James F. Haley Jr., of New York’s Fish & Neave, who has handled strategic IP work since the company’s founding. Much of Biogen’s patent filing is done in-house, Mr. Bucknum says. For regulatory work, particularly with the FDA, Biogen uses Robert P. Brady, of Washington, D.C.’s Hogan & Hartson L.L.P. Genetics deals: Biogen lawyers are probably more involved in business deals than are in-house lawyers at most other companies because the department is small, Mr. Bucknum says: “Often it’s just one lawyer and one business development person handling a deal.” Recently, the company has been participating in the flurry of activity in “genomics” deals, in which genetic researchers license their findings to drug companies, which use the information to develop drugs that target specific diseases. In the past year, Biogen has signed such licensing deals with three companies, each with slightly different genetic database “tools,” says Mr. Bucknum. The company also has signed deals with two European genetic research companies that have linked specific genes to the immune system and the central nervous system, Mr. Bucknum says, which ties in with Biogen’s own strategies and products under development. “I think more and more in biotechnology areas, there’s going to be a lot more alliances and collaborations,” Mr. Bucknum explains. “Nobody can do it all alone.” Overall, licensing deals are significant to Biogen’s bottom line. In 1999, Biogen made $173.8 million in royalties from licensees that manufacture various drugs and health care products, such as hepatitis-B vaccines. Family: Mr. Bucknum and his wife, Anita, have two sons: Geoffrey, 22; and Brent, 18. Last books read: “Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters,” by Matt Ridley; and “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference,” by Malcolm Gladwell.

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