Ebb & Flow

An unspoken sub-theme on Biogen's earnings call last week was that investors shouldn't judge its newly launched Amevive alefacept for psoriasis based on its $4 million in first quarter sales. Since launching Amevive on Feb. 1, the company has focused on taking care of patient reimbursement, and is pitching a strong product ramp-up in the second quarter.

Reimbursement has progressed ahead of schedule, according to the company, with more 800 doctors putting 2,500 patients into the reimbursement process. BGEN said 90% of the patients who have completed the process have received coverage.

In the second quarter, the company hopes to shorten the amount of time it takes patients to get reimbursed, which currently stands at 8-12 weeks. By year end, BGEN expects that 13,000-17,000 patients will have initiated the reimbursement process.

In the meantime, to ensure that neither doctors nor patients pay the full tab for the product, BGEN is insuring doctors for up to 10% of their Amevive business, and its distribution partners are insuring any level above 10%.

To cover that insurance, BGEN is setting aside 10 cents for every booked Amevive dollar as a reserve to cover situations where insurance coverage is anticipated

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