Biogen CEO Michel Vounatsos regroups and stakes out a BD plan for 2017

Biogen’s new CEO showed up at JP Morgan to rally support for the company’s pipeline and raise the prospect of executing a few new deals in 2017.

CEO Michel Vounatsos saw reason for encouragement for the future of aducanumab after Eli Lilly’s solanezumab failed a huge Phase III effort in Alzheimer’s, according to Leerink analyst Geoffrey Porges’ summary of his presentation. Biogen’s partner Eisai, meanwhile, plans to put out data on their anti-amyloid antibody BAN2401 in the next 12-18 months. An oral BACE program for elenbecestat (aka E2609) has got underway.

Geoffrey Porges, Leerink

Biogen also is pushing ahead in areas where it’s been dealt setbacks. The failed anti-LINGO therapy opicinumab is going into a Phase IIb dose ranging study. Intriguingly, another remylination therapy, BIIB061, is in the works as well. And now that Spinraza is hitting the market, the focus will likely swing back to dealmaking.

Porges notes:

Beyond the internal neuroscience programs, CEO Michel Vounatsos specifically stated that Biogen will ramp up business development capabilities and investments in this area in the future and will move to execute on opportunities. Biogen has one of the cleanest balance sheets in large cap biotechnology and could afford to take on leverage for meaningful neuroscience M&A deals.

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