Biogen expects its $56,000 Alzheimer’s drug to be covered by Medicare for ‘most’ patients

Shares Biogen Inc. pulled back 1.4% in afternoon trading Tuesday, in the wake of the company’s conference call with analysts following the approval of Aduhelm by the Food and Drug Administration to treat Alzheimer’s disease. The decline comes a day after the stock skyrocketed 38.3% on the approval. Chief Executive Michel Vounatsos said on the call that while wholesale acquisition cost of Aduhelm, with shipping expected to be started in two weeks, was priced at $56,000 per year for an average patient, he expects dose titration to result in an average WAC of about $41,000 for an average patient. Vounatsos also said that since the “vast majority” of Alzheimer’s patients are at least 65 years old, he expects “most” patients to be covered by Medicare, either through fee for service or Medicare Advantage. BofA Securities analyst Geoff Meacham upgraded Biogen to neutral from underperform, and boosted his price target by 70% to $400, but said he suspects “Aduhelm is likely to disappoint commercially given confusion over the benefit — and payer pushback — and we suspect the number of treated patients could easily fall short” of consensus forecasts. Stifel Nicolaus’s Paul Matteis said the “high price is sure to draw scrutiny from payors,” particularly given Aduhelm’s broad label, which could narrow use.

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