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‘There is a lot that’s underestimated at Biogen’: CEO Viehbacher

on Jan 9, 2023
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  • Biogen CEO discussed growth prospects in an interview with CNBC.
  • FDA granted accelerated approval for Biogen's Alzheimer drug last week.
  • Wall Street has a consensus "overweight" rating on the Biogen stock.

Shares of Biogen Inc (NASDAQ: BIIB) have gained nearly 45% since late September but CEO Christopher Viehbacher says there’s still “a lot that’s underestimated” at Biogen.  

Highlights from CEO’s interview with CNBC

Viehbacher is convinced that the likes of “Lecanemab” and “Zuranolone” will contribute significantly to future growth. Speaking this morning with CNBC’s Meg Tirrell, he noted:

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“We’ve got two great products to launch. We have Zuranolone, a novel new antidepressant. One of the first new antidepressants in a couple of decades. So, that’s already exciting. I think both of those products will be quite significant.”

At the end of its latest reported quarter, Biogen had over $5.70 billion in cash, equivalents, and marketable securities that the Chief Executive said was sufficient to drive external growth.

Moving forward, he expects the cost side of things to help with growth as well.

Its Alzheimer drug received accelerated approval

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval for Lecanemab – the Alzheimer drug that Biogen developed in collaboration with the Japanese Eisai Co.

According to CEO Viehbacher, CMS could start providing coverage for this treatment in the back half of 2023.

I think, to a degree, Alzheimer’s is an underestimated disease when I hear, well, maybe it’s a little memory loss. It’s a devastating fatal disease. And this is the first time we’ve actually seen a product that’s demonstrated benefit.

In a clinical trial, Lecanemab was shown to be effective in slowing cognitive decline by 27% over 18 months as Invezz reported here. Wall Street currently has a consensus “overweight” rating on the biotech stock.