Biogen CEO resigns after launching Alzheimer’s drug, Aduhelm

Biogen say on Tuesday that it will replace its chief executive officer and effectively abandon marketing a popular Alzheimer’s drug that has failed commercially since its controversial approval nearly a year ago.

Michel Vounatsos, who has led the drugmaker for more than five years and chaired the approval and launch of the drug, called Aduhelm, will keep his role until a successor is appointed, Biogen said. .

Biogen says it plans to “significantly eliminate” its spending on drugs after Medicare official decision last month to sharply limit Aduhelm’s coverage.

Food and Drug Administration approved Aduhelm in June. This is the first new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease in nearly two decades. It was predicted by many to become a blockbuster drug within a few years, generating billions of dollars annually for Biogen. But the approval has been overshadowed by concerns about the drug’s unproven benefits and serious safety risks, as well as about the process the FDA has unveiled for it.

Doctors, insurance companies, patients and their families did not accept Aduhelm. On Tuesday, Biogen reported that the drug brought in just $2.8 million in sales for the first three months of this year, after generating only $3 million in 2021. Biogen initially priced the drug at $56,000 per year for the average patient before halving costs due to weak initial sales.

Aduhelm was expected to strain the government’s health budget. But Medicare decided to pay for the drug only to people who received it as part of a clinical trial. Last month, Biogen said it would withdraw its application marketing drugs in the European Union after drug reviewers indicated that the drug inability to win approval.

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