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Biogen Committed to Bolstering Its Strong Product Pipeline

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Sep. 13 2016, Updated 9:04 a.m. ET

Biogen’s innovation strategy

Innovation is the backbone of any biotechnology company with R&D (research and development) being the major factor determining its success. As shown in the diagram below, Biogen (BIIB) has a number of promising products in late-stage trials that are likely to generate significant revenues for the company in the near future. Biogen spent ~$473 million, approximately 16% of its total sales, on R&D (research and development) programs in 2Q16. Peers Amgen (AMGN) and Celgene (CELG) invested approximately 15.8% and 34.4% of their total revenues, respectively, towards R&D in their recent quarters. Investors can invest in the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB), which holds ~8.3% in BIIB.

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Biogen’s product pipeline

In the MS (multiple sclerosis) therapy area, Opicanumab’s (or anti-LINGO) Synergy trial posted disappointing top-line results in June 2016. The drug under investigation failed to meet both the primary and secondary endpoints. For more information on the Synergy trial, read Biogen Misses EndPoints in Synergy Trial for Opicanumab.

Among the late-stage research products, aducanumab is expected to be a promising drug. The drug received fast-track status by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (or FDA), as we discussed in a previous part of this series.

One of the other late-stage assets of Biogen is Nusinersen, a spinal muscular atrophy (or SMA) drug for infants and children. It’s being developed in collaboration with Ionis Pharmaceuticals (IONS). As announced on August 1, 2016, the Phase 3 trial ENDEAR to evaluate the use of the drug in infants, met primary endpoints. Biogen has consequently exercised its option for the global development and commercialization of the drug and paid Ionis Pharmaceuticals a license fee of around $75 million.

There are various other significant products at various stages of research in Biogen’s product pipeline. These include Amiselimod, BIIB074, and Natalizumab, which are in the early stages of research, that address the therapy areas of inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathic pain, and acute ischemic stroke, respectively.

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