After Biogen's Alzheimer's Update, Wall Street Reacts

Biogen Inc BIIB and its Japanese partner Eisai disclosed encouraging results from an 18-month Phase 2 study of its Alzheimer's therapy BAN2401. Here's how some Street analysts reacted to the news. 

The Analysts

  • Raymond James' Laura Chico maintained a Market Perform on Biogen with no assigned price target.
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch's Ying Huang maintained at Buy with an unchanged $377 price target.
  • Wells Fargo's Jim Birchenough maintained at Overweight with a new $394 price target.
  • RBC Capital Markets' Brian Abrahams maintained at Sector Perform with an unchanged $311 price target.
  • Nomura maintained at Buy with an unchanged $420 price target.

Raymond James: Caution Required

Biogen and Eisai's Thursday disclosure raises multiple concerns and questions, Chico said in a research report. They include:

  • The study failed to achieve a primary endpoint of showing an improvement at the 12-month mark.
  • For the time being, there is no indication how the therapy performed on individual measures of the composite.
  • The tolerability profile was described only as "acceptable."
  • It's unclear if success in BAN2401 translates to success in Biogen's aducanumab and its Phase 3 studies.

Related Link: Benzinga Pro's 5 Stocks To Watch Today

Bank Of America: Surprise Results

The study results came as a surprise, since BAN2401 failed to achieve the primary outcome of showing improvements at 12 months, Huang said.

The plaque reduction and clinical endpoints were dose-dependent, which implies BAN2401 is "doing what it's designed to," and the clinical benefit is not a coincidence, the analyst said.

Additional details from the study are likely to be presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference later this month or Clinical Trials on Alzheimer's Disease Oct. 24-27, Huang said. 

Some clinical benefits were observed as early as six months, which validates the therapy and should add to investors' confidence in aducanumab's ultimate success, according to BofA. 

Wells Fargo: Significant Upside Potential

The main takeaways from the study results are threefold, Birchenough said in a research report:

  • The data supports the amyloid hypothesis in Alzheimer's disease.
  • Wells Fargo has increased confidence in future Phase 3 studies of aducanumab.
  • Biogen now has multiple opportunities to target Alzheimer's.

Heading into Thursday's announcement, there was minimal value assigned to Alzheimer's success, the analyst said. Following the encouraging results, there is room for "significant upside" potential from future aducanumab data releases along with the progression of BAN2401, Birchenough said. 

RBC: 'Scant' Details, 'Significant Win'

Full details of the clinical trial were not presented Thursday afternoon, but what was reported is sufficient to validate Biogen's aducanumab program, Abrahams said in a research report. The readout could prove to be the most important derisking event ahead of an expected Phase 3 readout in 2020, he said. 

Price Action

Shares of Biogen were trading higher by more than 17 percent at the time of publication Friday afternoon. 

Related Link: Adam Feuerstein Cautious On Biogen Following Alzheimer's Study

Posted In: AducanumabAlzheimersBAN2401Bank of AmericaBrian AbrahamsChristopher MaraiEisaiJim BirchenoughLaura ChicoNomuraRaymond JamesRBC Capital MarketsWells FargoYing HuangAnalyst ColorBiotechPrice TargetReiterationAnalyst RatingsGeneral

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