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