Biogen’s services revenues fall; Aducanumab re-emerges

Biogen saw its manufacturing services revenue slide in Q3 following the sale of its plant in Hillerod, Denmark.

According to Biogen’s Q3 report the firm’s “other revenues” –those not generated by drug product sales – fell 26% year on year to $110m.

CFO Jeff Capello attributed the decline to the divestiture of the firm’s biologics manufacturing in Hillerod facility to Fujifilm.

Image: iStock/Goldmund

“Total other revenues in the third quarter decreased 26% versus the prior year driven by the decline in our manufacturing services revenues due to our divestiture of the Hillerod plant.”

Tysabri plant

Fujifilm took over operations at Hillerod in August. Under the deal, the contractor agreed to manufacture the multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri (natalizumab) for Biogen.

The CDMO also said it will use the facility manufacture products for third-parties, details of which were not provided.

At the time of the divestiture, Biogen said the plan was to diversify its drug portfolio manufacturing base.

Currently Biogen operates a manufacturing facility at Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, US.

However, it is also building a biologics production plant in Solothurn, Switzerland.

Biogen announced its intention to set up the Solothurn facility in 2015 explaining it would “support its emerging pipeline.”

Aducanumab

Whether Biogen will eventually make the Alzheimer’s disease drug aducanumab at Solothurn remains to be seen.

However, news the firm plans to seek US FDA approval for the previously “discontinued” Alzhemier’s disease drug has surely put it right back in its emerging pipeline.

Aducanumab targets a protein called beta-amyloid that is thought – by some – to play a role in Alzheimer’s disease progression.

It was discovered by Swiss firm Neurimmune AG according to company spokesman Martin Meier-Pfister, who told us “Neurimmune licensed Aducanumab to Biogen in 2007,” adding “Biogen and Eisai collaborate on the development of aducanumab.”

For the next decade this collaboration attracted attention, with some observers (here and here) suggesting it could revolutionize Alzheimer’s disease treatment.

However the situation changed in March this year when Biogen said it had given up on Aducanumab. At the time it said a futility analysis suggested the drug would not meets its primary endpoint.

But, in its Q3 earnings call last week things changed again.

Biogen announced it had changed its mind. The firm said “new analysis of a larger dataset” showed the drug reduced clinical decline in patients with early Alzheimer’s disease.

The reversal raised many eyebrows in the Alzheimer’s disease sector, particularly among those interest in the implications for beta-amyloid research.

And for Xconomy’s take on the aducanumab story, click here.

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