Biogen Falls on Bleak Outlook for Aduhelm, Entry of Generics  

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Biogen Falls on Bleak Outlook for Aduhelm, Entry of Generics  
Credit: © Reuters.

By Dhirendra Tripathi – Biogen stock (NASDAQ: BIIB ) traded 2% lower Thursday after the company projected its annual revenue to fall further after declining in 2021, a disappointing development after much was expected from its Alzheimer’s drug, Aduhelm.

Biogen expects full year 2022 revenue to fall to between $9.7 billion and $10 billion, another hit after 2021 sales eroded 18% to just shy of $11 billion.

The financial guidance assumes minimal Aduhelm revenue in 2022 after the drug clocked in a mere $3 million in around five months of its presence in the market. The company also expects entry of certain generics in the U.S. to hit its sales. Broader competition will weigh too.

Aduhelm has been surrounded in controversy since June 7 when the Food and Drug Administration approved it. It was the first drug in 18 years to secure the nod for treatment of the neurodegenerative disease.

The approval attracted much criticism because of perceived lack of benefits of the treatment over existing alternatives. The controversy was further stoked by the expensive annual $56,000 tag of the treatment. The price was seen as a significant burden on Medicare, which covers more than 60 million people. Six months later, Biogen almost halved the price.  

Earlier this month, the U.S. Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services proposed to restrict coverage for Alzheimer's drugs, including Aduhelm, only to patients taking part in approved clinical trials. A final decision is expected in April.

The company has warned it could be forced to cut more costs, beyond the current program to save $500 million annually, if the final coverage decision is not broader.

"We will take aggressive steps should the ... (coverage proposal) remain in its current form," Reuters quoted Chief Executive Officer Michel Vounatsos as saying.

Fourth quarter total revenue fell 4% to $2.7 billion. Adjusted net profit per share was $3.39 and beat estimates. Biogen expects adjusted EPS for the year to be $14.25-$16.00 per share.


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