Biogen‘s (BIIB) marquee Alzheimer’s treatment, Aduhelm, brought in nearly $2 million in sales during its first-ever quarter on the market, but Biogen stock rose minimally Thursday.
The biotech company also posted an open letter from Head of Research and Development Alfred Sandrock, attempting to “correct some of the misinformation we have seen.” The approval was accelerated based on Aduhelm’s ability to remove plaque called beta amyloid from the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. But experts don’t agree on whether that will lead to a cognitive benefit.
Wedbush analyst Laura Chico expects Biogen stock to be closely tied to Aduhelm going forward.
“No one is debating the need for new therapies or the accelerated approval mechanism,” she said in a report to clients. “What we do see as unprecedented is the engagement between FDA and Biogen during the review, and the departure from norms in clinical data interpretation.”
In early trading on the stock market today, Biogen stock rose a fraction near 323.20.
Biogen Stock: Earnings, Sales Beat
Overall, Biogen beat second-quarter expectations even though profit tumbled 42% and sales fell 25%. The company earned $5.68 a share and reported $2.78 billion in sales. Analysts polled by FactSet expected Biogen to earn $4.55 per share on $2.61 billion in sales.
The company’s major products also topped forecasts. Multiple sclerosis treatment Tecfidera is now facing generic competition. It generated close to $488 million in sales, down about 59%. That was easily better than forecasts for $402 million, Mizuho Securities analyst Salim Syed said in a note.
Syed has a neutral rating and 244 price target on Biogen stock.
Sales of spinal muscular atrophy drug Spinraza and multiple sclerosis treatment Tysabri topped expectations with $500 million and $524 million, respectively.
Aduhelm Sales Below Forecasts
Meanwhile, during its inaugural quarter, Aduhelm brought in $1.6 million, below Biogen stock analysts’ consensus projection for $2 million. But only about 315 sites were open to administer Aduhelm vs. Biogen’s forecast for roughly 900, Syed said.
Committees at hospitals and health insurers — known as pharmacy and therapeutics panels — will have to determine whether to administer Aduhelm. Biogen stock investors will likely zero in on this process to grasp Aduhelm uptake, RBC Capital Markets analyst Brian Abrahams said.
This process will be a key focus as “investors continue to attempt to gauge uptake over the next few quarters and determine how predictive initial sales figures may be over the drug’s long-term trajectory,” he said in his report to clients.
Abrahams has a sector perform rating and 361 price target on Biogen stock.
Raised Sales Guidance
Biogen raised its full-year sales guidance to $10.65 billion to $10.85 billion, but reiterated its view for adjusted earnings of $17.50-$19 per share. Biogen stock analysts called for adjusted profit of $18.50 per share and $10.61 billion in sales.
The raised sales guide assumes “modest Aduhelm revenue in 2021, ramping thereafter,” Biogen said in a news release. It also noted expectations for further Tecfidera and Rituxan erosion in the U.S. due to the presence of generics. Rituxan is a cancer drug.
Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.
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