Biogen Throws Another $200 Million at Aducanumab With Amended Deal With Neurimmune
By Alex Keown
Despite the failures of late stage Alzheimer’s drugs developed by numerous companies, Biogen seems confident in the future of its amyloid plaque targeting aducanumab.
This morning, Biogen announced it had increased its profit potential on the drug by forking over an additional $150 million to Neurimmune Holding AG, the company from which Biogen licensed the drug. By making the payment to Neurimmune, Biogen reduced the potential royalty payments on any sales, should it be approved. The $150 million payment to Neurimmune will reduce Biogen’s royalty rates by 15 percent, the company said. Biogen may not be done handing over chunks of cash to Neurimmune in order to increase its potential profit. The company said it has an option to pay Neurimmune another $50 million to drop royalties by another 5 percent.
Biogen Chief Executive Officer Michel Vounatsos said the amended agreement with Neurimmune “improves aducanumab’s potential value to Biogen as we pursue our strategic goal of leadership in Alzheimer’s disease.” He added that the company has been pleased with its collaboration with Neurimmune in Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disorders.
Biogen’s agreement with Neurimmune comes one day after the company expanded its collaboration with Japan-based Eisai over development of aducanumab. That deal reworks the expected revenues based off of geographic regions should aducanumab meet Phase III endpoints and pass regulatory muster. Under terms of the deal, Biogen will receive 55 percent of the potential profits in the United States and 68.5 percent of the potential profits in Europe. Eisai will receive 80 percent of the potential profits in Japan and Asia (excluding China and South Korea). The companies will have a 50:50 co-promotion split of potential profits in the rest of the world. The new deal terms were triggered after Eisai exercised its option to jointly develop and commercialize aducanumab, with Biogen continuing as development lead. Biogen remains solely responsible for all clinical development through April 2018. Under the new terms, Eisai will then reimburse Biogen for 15 percent of expenses from April 2018 through December 2018, and 45 percent from January 2019 onwards.
Aducanumab, a human recombinant monoclonal antibody, targets amyloid plaque and amyloid beta oligomers. In December, Biogen released early data from its Phase Ib clinical trial of aducanumab, which revealed that patients receiving the drug showed a drop in Alzheimer’s-related beta-amyloid plaque in the brain, as well as continued to show a slowing of cognitive declines.
In addition to Aducanumab, Biogen also has Elenbecestat, an oral inhibitor of beta secretase in its developmental pipeline. The drug is being developed in partnership with Eisai. By targeting beta secretase, Elenbecestat is being developed to prevent beta-peptide formation from the amyloid precursor protein – APP – and thus subsequently prevents amyloid beta deposits building in the brain.
Shares of Biogen are down nearly 3 percent in premarket trading at $318.80. The stock closed at $328.55 on Monday.