Biogen scraps two Alzheimer drug trials, wipes $18 billion from market value Reuters Report, Compiled
By Noor Majid
Biogen Inc and partner Eisai Co Ltd are ending two late-stage trials of their experimental Alzheimer’s disease drug aducanumab, a major setback in the quest to find a treatment for the mind-wasting disease and a blow to Biogen, which lost more than $18 billion of its value on Thursday.
Experts had seen aducanumab as one of the last tests of the hypothesis that removing sticky deposits of amyloid from the brain of patients in earlier stages of the lethal disease could stave off its ravages, which include loss of memory and the ability to care for oneself.
Biogen shares fell nearly 30 percent to $225.70, its largest drop since February 2005, when they fell nearly 43 percent to close at $38.65 on Nasdaq. The decision was based on a so-called futility analysis of aducanumab data by an independent monitoring committee that determined the trials had little hope of succeeding. Markets in Japan were closed for a national holiday so the impact of the news on Eisai will be delayed.
Eisai in July had touted promising but confusing 18-month results from another Alzheimer’s drug, BAN2401, being co-developed with Biogen. That drug failed in a 12-month analysis.
Investors had been cautiously optimistic about aducanumab following early promising data. Without potential future revenue from Alzheimer’s, Biogen has poor growth prospects as it faces patent issues over its big-selling multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera and possible competition to spinal muscular atrophy drug Spinraza, Wall Street analysts said.
“We view this as a transformative failure for Biogen’s pipeline,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Brian Abrahams wrote in a research note.
Abrahams, who reduced his Biogen price target to $240 per share, said further declines were likely given that “investors owned Biogen to not miss out on what could have been one of the biggest blockbuster products in the pipeline of large biopharma.”