Biogen’s controversial Alzheimer’s drug made $1.6M in June

Biotech giant Biogen said Thursday that it brought in about $1.6 million in sales from its controversial Alzheimer’s drug last month after it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration earlier in June.

The drug, which is marketed as Aduhelm, is the first new treatment for Alzheimer’s in about 18 years and the first that doctors are hoping will not just lessen symptoms but target the underlying disease.

The company said in its second-quarter earnings report that the drug, which was approved by the FDA on June 7, did $1.6 million in sales before the end of the quarter, which was June 30.

The company’s revenue from Aduhelm is modest now, but the drug has just recently been rolled out. The company reported total revenue of almost $2.8 billion for the quarter, down 25 percent from a year earlier.

The company said it expects Aduhelm to continue to contribute modest revenue this year, with a ramp-up thereafter.

Biogen has slapped a $56,000-per-year price tag on Aduhelm, outraging some Alzheimer’s advocates and even raising questions among Wall Street analysts.

Box of Aduhelm
Aduhelm was approved by the FDA in early June.

The drug’s approval by the FDA brought hope to the more than 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s — although some doctors objected to the approval, saying there’s not enough evidence to show it’s actually effective.

Three scientists on a panel advising the FDA reportedly resigned after the drug’s approval.

“This might be the worst approval decision that the FDA has made that I can remember,” Dr. Aaron Kesselheim said, according to the New York Times.

Medical bag of Aduhelm
Biogen expects Aduhelm to continue to contribute modest revenue this year, with a ramp-up thereafter.

Despite concerns, last month a Rhode Island man became the first patient to get a transfusion of the drug.

And questions have since been raised over whether the company played a role in influencing internal FDA deliberations.

Earlier this month, the FDA’s acting commissioner Janet Woodcock called on the independent Office of the Inspector General to investigate whether executives from Biogen met with FDA staff outside of formal correspondence.

“There continue to be concerns raised … regarding contacts between representatives from Biogen and FDA during the review process, including some that may have occurred outside of the formal correspondence process,” Woodcock wrote in a letter posted Friday to acting Inspector General Christi Grimm.

“To the extent these concerns could undermine the public’s confidence in FDA’s decision, I believe it is critical that the events at issue be reviewed by an independent body such as the Office of Inspector General in order to determine whether any interactions that occurred between Biogen and FDA review staff were inconsistent with FDA policies and procedures.”