Biogen trims research programs in bid to cut costs

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Biogen trims research programs in bid to cut costs

April 25 (Reuters) – Biogen Inc. (BIIB.O) said on Tuesday it would pause or discontinue studies of some experimental drugs and therapies and focus on more promising treatments, in the latest attempt by the new chief to cut costs.

CEO Christopher Viehbacher has been looking for ways to keep costs in check as it prepares to increase marketing efforts for second Alzheimer’s disease treatment, Leqembi, should it receive full regulatory approval in July.

The drugmaker, which beat first-quarter results on Tuesday, said it would terminate the late and mid-stage studies for an experimental neurological drug, and will also put on hold or scrap at least two more studies.

Biogen is banking on the success of Leqembi and depression drug zuranolone to revive sales growth as its top selling drugs such as Tecfidera and Spinraza face fierce competition from rivals and generic versions.

Despite stiff competition, Spinraza sales for the first quarter stood at $443.3 million, above analysts’ expectations of $432.8 million, according to Refinitiv data.

But overall results for the company’s product franchises were mixed and the focus remains on how Biogen will realign its portfolio under the new CEO, said Wedbush analyst Laura Chico in a note.

The company’s total costs and expenses fell 7.3% to $2.02 billion in the quarter from a year earlier.

Excluding items, Biogen earned $3.40 per share, beating estimates of $3.28.

The drugmaker reaffirmed its full-year adjusted profit forecast of $15 to $16 per share.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is set to make a decision on Biogen’s experimental drug for treating an inherited form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis by Tuesday.

Reporting by Bhanvi Satija and Sriparna Roy in Bengaluru

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Source: Reuters