Biogen Touts Alzheimer's Drug Price-Cut As It Begs Wall Street To Give It Another Chance

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Monday, Jan 10, 2022 - 07:29 PM

Looks like Biogen's "shot at redemption" maybe might work out - although the firm isn't out of the woods yet, not by a long shot.

Biogen shares memorably surged after the FDA approved Aduhelm, the company's "breakthrough" Alzheimer's drug, back in June.

But practically ever since, the drug has been dogged by controversy (for example, the Europeans have more or less rejected it, and three FDA advisors quit to protest the fact that it had won approval). The head of the FDA has since called an investigation, and it remains to be seen whether the drug's approval will ultimately be walked back.

Biogen cut its price for the drug in December, as a number of medical systems have declined to offer it, causing sales to dramatically disappoint Wall Street expecpectations.

But on Monday, the company got a shot at redemption when it delivered a presentation at a JP Morgan health-care conference that was one of the other major events on the day's agenda to distract from the worsening market rout.

First, Biogen CEO Michel Vounatsos acknowledged that the company was "wrong" to price Aduhelm at $56K/year. He contended that firm's decision to slash the cost nearly in half was "courageous."

Apparently, Biogen's mea culpa on its ambitious price-setting has worked out - well, at least for President Biden - in one important way: Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Beccerra ordered that the government "reassess" a historic price in Medicare Part B premiums thanks to the company's decision to cut the price. The Biden Administration has been trying to push drug makers to cut prices to help free up money for its massive spending programs, per Stat News.

Vounatsos also dismissed the disastrous Aduhelm rollout as a "short-term problem", acknowledging the impact on the company's revenue and earnings and insisting that the firm would turn things around.

The company laid out its broader neuroscience portfolio, with drugs in development that the company hopes will treat brain disorders from Parkinson's Disease to Alzheimer's, and beyond.

Seeing as the fate of Abduhelm has held great sway over Biogen's stock price lately, the presentation unsurprisingly started with an update. The company pushed convincing-sounding research breakthroughs purporting to show a link between Abduhelm and a reduction in Alzheimer's-causing Amyloid plaques on the brain.

Additionally, the company laid out its case for a second Alzheimer's drug, Lecanemab...

...and a third, called BIIB080.

Additionally, Biogen shared some more data about its new anti-depressants (which are sure to be in high-demand given the mental health crisis unleashed by COVID lockdowns).

Those drugs are just part of a broader portfolio that Biogen continued to address piece by piece, while also laying out its broader vision for product rollouts over the next year or two.

Along with other "breakthrough" therapies that aren't as far down the pipeline that could drive revenue and EPS growth in the more distant future, since they're on an earlier stage of development.

Biogen shared what appeared to be a pretty optimistic timeline for the rollout of its various drugs, with many many projected to debut in Europe and/or the US later this year (assuming regulators comply).

Ultimately, the market seemed relatively impressed with the presentation, as Biogen shares turned positive for the day after the company's mid-morning presentation.

Interested readers can find the full slide show below:

Biogen at JPM 2022 Webcast by Joseph Adinolfi Jr. on Scribd