Biogen is among the largest biopharma companies in the world, but its share prices have jumped up and down in the last few years because of murky studies, jumbled regulatory wins and mixed investor confidence.
What’s next for Biogen? Let’s look at what executives are saying during a second-quarter earnings call.
“Pursuit of innovation, however, does not come without setbacks.”
Biogen has had its share of setbacks. Their Alzheimer’s disease drug Aduhelm isn’t selling well amid broad controversy and the quarterly earnings were “fine,” according to a Wedbush analyst. This is a turning point for the company. What Vounatsos refers to is Biogen’s successful phase 3 study for their depression drug zuranolone, which failed a phase 2 clinical trial in schizophrenia.
“Not all our programs will deliver the results we hope, which is why we are continuing to advance and build a diversified and appropriately balanced pipeline as we work to create and sustain a multi-franchise portfolio over time.”
Biogen is abandoning its marketing efforts for Aduhelm and Vounatsos will step down from the helm. Mizuho analyst Salim Syed noted that the CEO transition is happening “as planned” but without a timeline. That’s a tough position, but it also means there’s a chance to be remade — the company has 10 programs in phase 3 or filed with regulatory authorities. The Alzheimer’s candidate lecanemab is a big hope for them, and the company’s head of R&D, Priya Singhal, says phase 3 results are due this fall. A win in that space after the muddiest of launches for Aduhelm would be critical.
“We've embarked upon a very focused and disciplined prioritization of the R&D portfolio. But it is dependent on internal inflection points, as well as external scientific insights.”
Biogen head of R&D
Among the potential candidates in Biogen’s pipeline are lecanemab for Alzheimer’s and a CD20 franchise in blood cancers. Unfortunately, the company has cut several pipeline programs and also expects biosimilars of Tysabri — one of its bestselling Crohn’s disease drugs — as early as next year.