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Biogen's Alzheimer's Drug Is Promising, Wall Street Says

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Biogen Idec Inc (NASDAQ: BIIB) presented test results for BIIB037, a drug intended to treat Alzheimer's disease, on March 20. The medical community was excited by the data derived from the Phase 1b study, which demonstrated "an acceptable safety profile" and "positive results on radiologic and clinical measurements in patients with prodromal or mild Alzheimer's disease."

There are currently no approved drugs that fight or prevent the neurodegenerative disease.

Results from the trial showed that BIIB037 treatment stagnates the growth of amyloid plaque, which is considered to be a primary cause of Alzheimer's. Though the preliminary findings are promising, the data shows that the treatment will be most effective if given early on in the progression of the disease.

However, the study showed side effects of headaches caused by brain swelling. Experts are cautious to create too much enthusiasm around the drug as it must endure more testing and several similar drugs have proved to be ineffective.

Biogen executive Alfred Sandrock, M.D., Ph.D., noted, "This is the first time an investigational drug for Alzheimer's disease has demonstrated a statistically significant reduction on amyloid plaque as well as a statistically significant slowing of clinical impairment in patients with prodromal or mild disease. Based on these results, we are advancing the aducanumab clinical program to Phase 3 with plans to initiate enrollment later this year."

According to SmarterAnalyst, Cory Kasimov of J.P. Morgan reiterated an Overweight rating on Biogen on March 20. Kasimov was encouraged by the results of BIIB037 and noted that the outcomes met his "relatively high expectations." He was impressed by the "strong efficacy profile in Phase 1" and notes the potential for "meaningful risks heading into Phase 3."

Kasimov ultimately believes BIIB037's "promising results will reinforce investor desire to own a piece of the potential of this asset and further fuel expectations."

Cory Kasimov has rated BIIB 5 times since this January, earning an 80 percent overall success rate recommending the stock and a +25.8 percent average return per recommendation. Overall, the analyst has a 64% success rate recommending stocks with a +16.7 percent average return per recommendation.

Analyst Eric Schmidt of Cowen & Co. also appeared bullish on Biogen after the BIIB037 results as he reiterated an Outperform rating on the stock and raised his price target from $425 to $500. Schmidt noted that the drug "demonstrated an impressive time and dose dependent reduction in decline of cognition" and that "safety appears acceptable." He raised his price target due to the drug's "impressive profile."

Eric Schmidt has rated Biogen 7 times since May 2009 earning an 86 percent success rate recommending the stock with a +32.2 percent average return per BIIB rating. Overall, Schmidt has an 89 percent success rate recommending stocks with a +58.3 percent average return per recommendation.

On average, the top analyst consensus for Biogen on TipRanks is Moderate Buy.

Latest Ratings for BIIB

DateFirmActionFromTo
Nov 2016MizuhoInitiates Coverage OnNeutral
Nov 2016PiperJaffrayUpgradesNeutralOverweight
Nov 2016Leerink SwannUpgradesMarket PerformOutperform

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The following article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.

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