Biogen sells just $300,000 worth of contentious Alzheimer’s drug

Biogen has reported third-quarter gross sales of simply $300,000 for its controversial new Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm, falling far in need of analysts’ expectation of $10m, as the corporate insists it nonetheless believes within the long-term potential of the remedy.

The drug, which prices $56,000 per affected person per yr, was permitted by US regulators in June, changing into the primary new remedy for Alzheimer’s in virtually 20 years that purports to gradual the event of the neurological illness.

Nevertheless healthcare suppliers and insurers have been gradual to embrace the drug, delaying buying selections amid considerations over its excessive value and doubts over its efficacy in treating the illness.

Michel Vounatsos, Biogen chief government, stated on Wednesday that the US healthcare system remained a key bottleneck, specifically given pending choice by Medicare — the federal government healthcare plan for folks aged over 65 years — on whether or not it should present reimbursement for the drug. This choice was not anticipated till April, he added.

“Take into accout this can delay entry for a lot of sufferers by roughly 300 days from approval,” stated Vounatsos.

“Day by day that passes we estimate that over 1,000 People transfer from gentle to average Alzheimer’s dementia, and subsequently could now not be applicable for initiation of remedy with Aduhelm.”

Biogen hopes the remedy will turn out to be a blockbuster drug able to boosting the corporate’s income at a time when lots of its present merchandise face competitors. However Aduhelm’s approval has provoked a wave of controversy, with some scientists arguing there may be scant scientific proof that it truly works.

Vounatsos instructed analysts he believed within the knowledge introduced by the corporate and insisted it will publish extra in coming months geared toward persuading docs to take up the remedy. He performed down the worth of the drug as an element deterring its uptake however added that the corporate retained the choice to “fine-tune” pricing.

Some analysts reacted to the corporate’s presentation by downgrading their estimates for 2022 gross sales of Aduhelm.

Umer Raffat, analyst at Evercore ISI, stated the drug was prone to generate about $200m in gross sales subsequent yr, considerably under analysts’ consensus estimate of $1bn.

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