Biogen CEO Steps Down, Downsizing Sales of Aduhelm

By Simon Spichak, MSc | May 3rd, 2022

Biogen CEO Michel Vounatsos will resign as the company begins to substantially reduce its infrastructure for producing Aduhelm. 

UPDATE: 3 March 2024, 8:37 P.M. ET. In February 2024, Biogen took Aduhelm off the market, citing financial concerns. Although the drug did receive accelerated, conditional FDA approval for the treatment of early Alzheimer’s disease in 2021, it is no longer available to new patients. The company announced it would sunset trials in May 2024 and cease supplying the drug to current patients in November 2024.

Biogen announced today that CEO Michel Vounatsos will be stepping down from the company. Vounatsos, who has been at the helm since 2016, will stay until a new executive is hired.

Biogen is also scaling down their commercial infrastructure for producing their controversial anti-amyloid Alzheimer’s treatment Aduhelm (aducanumab) “substantially,” in response to insurance coverage restrictions by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, per its recent earnings report

While Biogen hoped the drug’s landmark approval by the Food and Drug Administration would lead to more sales, the drug was mired in controversy over its efficacy. Subsequently, sales were much lower than projected, in no small part due to a refusal on the part of some healthcare providers to prescribe it, and on the part of some insurers to cover it.

It doesn’t sound like Biogen is expecting any big turnaround: The company plans to “[retain] minimal resources to manage patient access programs, including a continued free drug program for patients currently on [Aduhelm] treatment in the U.S.,” report stated.

The announcement comes on the heels of Biogen’s recent withdrawal of its application for Aduhelm with European regulators.

Lecanemab, another collaboration between Biogen and Eisai, is the next anti-amyloid drug in their pipeline. It is involved in rolling submissions under the U.S. accelerated approval pathway before submitting for full approval in 2023. 


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