Viehbacher swings the axe at Biogen
Biogen chief exec Chris Viehbacher is cleaning house. The company announced during today's second-quarter results that it will cut 1,000 jobs in an attempt to save $700m in operating costs by 2025. This larger-than-expected move appears to be another attempt to ease investor disquiet since the poorly-received approval of the Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm, which led to significant writedowns and the departure of several executives. While Biogen has had some wins recently, including approval of the Eisai-partnered Leqembi and the ALS product Qalsody, it is facing challenges to some of its most profitable franchises. The group has failed to block Sandoz developing a US biosimilar version of the MS drug Tysabri and on Friday the EMA gave its support for European approval. While Leqembi is expected to become profitable over time, difficulties with the required patient registry and reimbursement for PET scans mean it could be a very slow launch. On today’s conference call Viehbacher hinted at the direction the company might take, including deprioritising neurodegenerative diseases and increasing focus on rare diseases. Investors will be hoping these plans breathe some life to the group’s underperforming shares, though Biogen's stock fell 4% this morning.