TICKERS: BIIB

Big Biotech's Value Is Bolstered by Focus on Alzheimer's Disease
Research Report

Source:

An analysis of this company's quarterly update highlights a pipeline studded with candidates targeting neurological indications.

In an Oct. 25 research report, H. C. Wainwright analyst Andrew Fein outlined the high points of Biogen Inc.'s (BIIB:NASDAQ) quarterly earnings update, noting that a "buzz" surrounds Spinraza but that his firm maintains its "long-standing focus on the AD [Alzheimer's disease] franchise."

Fein listed four takeaways from the company's quarterly report:

  • Multiple sclerosis "remains the main cash source for the company, despite a negative impact from Ocrevus"
  • "Strong ex-U.S. adoption" of Spinraza, used to treat spinal muscular atrophy, "drove current quarter-to-quarter growth"
  • "Renegotiation of the agreements with Eisai Inc. (ESALF:OTCPK; not rated) and Neurimmune (private), along with Eisai's option-in on aducanumab, signaled Biogen's (and Eisai's) conviction behind the program"
  • "Continued advancement and expansion of its neurology pipeline with enhanced ASO and gene therapy manufacturing capabilities form the cornerstone of Biogen's long-term value proposition"

Fein also asserted that his firm elects "to focus on the prospects of the AD franchise with aducanumab as the leading asset based on the view that it is a major long-term value driver." Eisai's opt-in on aducanumab "certainly adds an external validation for the program as well," the analyst added.

Fein commented on Biogen's other Alzheimer's assets as well, asserting, "While investors may remain cautious of aducanumab as the depressed outlook for Abeta thesis remains, largely due to the misses of several high-profile Phase 3 trials by targeting Abeta, we highlight the company's robust AD pipeline. Beyond two anti-Abeta antibodies, namely aducanumab (in Phase 3) and BAN2401 (in Phase 2), the company has assets targeting BACE1 (Elenbecestat) and tau (BIIB092, BIIB076, BIIB080), two of the most promising therapeutic approaches."

Biogen's plans for expanding its reach in neuroscience, including development of therapies for pain and epilepsy, also garnered Fein's attention. "[The expanding] neurology pipeline reaffirms our belief in [the] company's core competence of de-risking," the analyst wrote. "We believe that through the company's improved translational capabilities, the probability of success across neuroscience should be enhanced, and we view these capabilities as the company's ultimate value driver of future growth."

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