Biogen Cost Cutting Measures Take Effect As Company Reaches Profit Targets

Biogen’s first-quarter results exceeded expectations, driven by cost-cutting measures and higher-than-anticipated sales of its Alzheimer’s drug, Leqembi.

The drug, developed in partnership with Eisai, has experienced a gradual uptake since its approval in July, with sales reaching $19 million for the quarter, surpassing analyst estimates of $11 million. The number of patients on Leqembi nearly doubled since the end of 2023, with a significant increase observed in March.

CEO Chris Viehbacher expressed optimism about the momentum in Leqembi’s rollout, expecting continued growth in the number of patients.

However, bottlenecks related to treatment requirements, such as frequent infusions and brain scans, have slowed uptake. To support Leqembi’s launch, Biogen plans to expand its U.S. marketing force by 30%.

The drug, approved for Friedreich’s ataxia, is now being used by over 1,100 patients in the U.S. and 300 in the EU (Credits: Biogen)

Despite challenges, Biogen reported adjusted earnings per share of $3.67, exceeding analysts’ expectations of $3.45, and revenue of $2.29 billion, slightly below the estimated $2.31 billion.

The company reiterated its full-year 2024 adjusted earnings forecast of $15 to $16 per share and sales guidance of a low- to mid-single-digit percentage decline compared to the previous year.

Apart from Leqembi, other newly launched drugs also performed well. Skyclarys, acquired through Biogen’s acquisition of Reata Pharmaceuticals, generated $78 million in revenue, surpassing expectations of $68.8 million.

Zurzuvae, Biogen’s pill for postpartum depression, recorded $12 million in sales, exceeding estimates of $5 million (Credits: DesignSwiss)

However, revenue from multiple sclerosis products declined by 4% to $1.08 billion, primarily due to generic competition. Tecfidera’s revenue decreased to $254.3 million, slightly higher than analysts’ estimates.

Vumerity, another multiple sclerosis medication, generated $127.5 million in sales, falling short of expectations. Revenue from rare disease drugs and biosimilars also saw declines, impacted by factors such as shipment timing and increased competition.

Despite challenges in certain segments, Biogen’s performance in the first quarter was robust, with strong results from its newly launched drugs offsetting declines in other areas.

Josh Alba
Josh Alba
Josh Alba stands at the forefront of contemporary business journalism, his words weaving narratives that illuminate the intricate workings of the corporate world. With a keen eye for detail and a penchant for uncovering the underlying stories behind financial trends, Josh has established himself as a trusted authority in business writing. Drawing from his wealth of experience and relentless pursuit of truth, Josh delivers insights that resonate with readers across industries.
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