Biogen doubles down

Why Biogen says aducanumab deal amendments increase its upside in AD

Shares of Biogen Inc. were buffeted last week by a pair of poorly understood moves intended to improve the big biotech’s share of profits for aducanumab, along with lower than expected revenues for newly launched rare disease drug Spinraza nusinersen.

While the Street apparently interpreted changes to Biogen’s two deals covering aducanumab as an exposure to increased near-term costs and decreased revenue expectations, President and CEO Michel Vounatsos told BioCentury the amendments leave the biotech better positioned to reap value from its lead asset in Alzheimer’s disease, one of the four core growth areas for its neuroscience business.

The news came in tandem with Biogen’s 3Q17 earnings report, where confusion about Spinraza sales somewhat overshadowed the disclosure (see “Head Spinner”).

On Oct. 23, the day before the earnings announcement, the company amended its 2014 deal with Eisai Co. Ltd. to replace a 50/50 cost and profit sharing agreement with more complicated terms that change who pays what when.

The original deal called for the partners to jointly develop and commercialize Eisai’s BAN2401, a mAb against beta amyloid, and elenbecestat (E2609), a small molecule inhibitor of beta-site APP-cleaving enzyme (BACE). The partners were to split R&D expenses, commercialization costs and profits 50/50 in the U.S., the EU and Japan.

At the same time, Eisai received an option to jointly develop and commercialize aducanumab, Biogen’s human recombinant mAb against beta amyloid, at two prespecified time points. The

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