Biogen spinoff set to build out hemophilia pipeline
- Earlier this week, Biogen announced it will be spinning off its hemophilia business into a separate public company centered on its two approved drugs Eloctate and Alprolix. But behind these drugs, Biogen hopes the new company will be able to build out a pipeline of new hemophilia drugs.
- On an investor call, Biogen CEO George Scangos indicated the new company could begin clinical development on a longer-acting versions of factor VIII and factor IX therapies aimed at boosting protection from bleeds for hemophilia patients.
- The new company will also conducting reserach on lentivirus-based gene therapies and preclinical bispecifics also targeted at hemophilia.
Although the new company will be a separate entity, Biogen will still be providing considerable support. Biogen will manufacture both Eloctate and Alprolix for the next three to five years and help with transition services.
For the near future, however, Eloctate and Alprolix will be the core of the new business. Together, the drugs generated $554 million in 2015, although over the last 12 months that figure rises to $640 million. Eloctate is the more lucrative of the two, although revenue growth in both products has slowed in recent quarters.
According to Biogen, the spinoff will allow both companies to better prioritize investment and boost growth. "We believe that the best way to realize the full potential of this growing and vital business is to enable it to operate independently with a management team dedicated to providing therapies to people living with hemophilia," said Scangos.
But that rationale has left some wondering if there is more to come. Revenue for the two drugs is still growing, and both have patent protection in place, according to analysts cited by Stat.
Furthermore, one of the concerns for Biogen before the announcement was its reliance on its leading multiple sclerosis treatments Tecfidera and Avonex. The two combined to account for 68% of Biogen's revenues last year, although that share had declined from 72% in 2014. Without the revenues from Eloctate and Alprolix, that share would be 73% for the past year.
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