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Biogen Stock Active As Group Plans To Slash Alzheimer's Drug Cost By 50%

Biogen said the average annual cost of its newly-approved Alzheimer's drug will fall to $28,200 next year, a 50% reduction from current levels.

Biogen  (BIIB) - Get Biogen Inc. Report shares pared earlier gains Monday after unveiling plans to cut the price of its Alzheimer's drug in half as it looks to expand the global market for the recently-approved treatment. 

Biogen said it would lower the "wholesale acquisition cost" of Aduhelm, which won approval from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in June, to around $28,200 per year, starting on January 1, a move that represents a 50% reduction from previous levels. 

Biogen said last month that Aduhelm "significantly" lowered blood levels in abnormal tau proteins, which are linked to neuronal damage in neurodegeneration, including Alzheimer's disease.

Aduhelm, Biogen noted in earlier studies, has been show to erode amyloid beta, a plaque which builds up around the brain and can lead to neuron damage. 

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“Over the past several months, we have listened to the feedback of our stakeholders, and we are now taking important actions to improve patient access to ADUHELM,” said CEO Michel Vounatsos. “Too many patients are not being offered the choice of ADUHELM due to financial considerations and are thus progressing beyond the point of benefitting from the first treatment to address an underlying pathology of Alzheimer’s disease."

"We recognize that this challenge must be addressed in a way that is perceived to be sustainable for the U.S. healthcare system,” he added.  

Biogen shares were marked 0.11% lower in early trading Monday to change hands at $237.02 each, a move that would extend the stock's six-month decline to around $38%.

Biogen posted stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings of $318.1 million in late October, while boosting its full-year profit outlook based on improving demand for Aduhelm.

The FDA in June approved Aduhelm for the treatment of Alzheimer’s using its accelerated approval pathway, which can be used for a drug for a serious or life-threatening illness that provides a meaningful therapeutic advantage over existing treatments. 

Alzheimer's disease, a progressive brain disorder, affects more than 50 million people around the world. To date, no drug has been found to address the disease, which can accelerate into dementia and other more serious cognitive conditions.