Biogen’s Alzheimer’s Drug Opens Up a New Market. These Stocks Could Benefit if More Approvals Come.

Biogen’s Alzheimer’s Drug Opens Up a New Market. These Stocks Could Benefit if More Approvals Come.

An enormous market that has eluded drug companies for decades has now been unlocked. When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Aduhelm, Biogen’s (ticker: BIIB) Alzheimer’s disease therapy, this past Monday, it did so on the basis of the drug’s ability to reduce the level of junk proteins in patients’ brains. The agency believes that clearing those proteins, called amyloid plaques, reduces cognitive decline. Before the approval, few had thought that clearing amyloids was enough to get an Alzheimer’s therapy the green light from the FDA. The move now opens the possibility of approvals for other drugs that, like Aduhelm, can clear amyloid plaque, but haven’t been proven definitively to slow cognitive decline. Eli Lilly’s (LLY) donanemab is one. Gantenerumab, from Roche Holding (RHHBY), is another. Biogen and its partner, Eisai (ESALY), have a third, known as BAN2401. The scientific consensus is still out on whether plaque clearance has clinical benefits for Alzheimer’s patients. Indeed, three scientists resigned in protest from an FDA advisory panel after the approval. But the agency’s decision could lead to a rush to market …
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