Biogen’s Double-WTF Moment, After Trading Halt All Day Friday: The Elusive Alzheimer’s Money

The 44% spike on Wednesday and the more-than-unwind-plunge this morning are part of a very rough ride since the peak in March 2015.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

After three days on edge, with trading halted all day Friday, Biogen shares plunged by over 30% this morning. On Wednesday, Biogen’s shares had skyrocketed 44%, from $247.01 to $355.63, after a report by staff of the US Food and Drug Administration claimed that Biogen’s experimental Alzheimer’s drug aducanumab appeared to be effective despite conflicting results from clinical trials and despite the twisted history of the drug. On Thursday shares fell 7.5%. Early Friday morning, trading in the shares was halted because there would be an announcement from the FDA’s advisory committee of outside experts on the drug’s effectiveness.

That announcement came Friday evening: the committee had voted with an overwhelming majority that the data did not show the drug to be effective. In addition, several committee members criticized the FDA’s own claims. And Monday morning – despite a huge rally in the rest of the stock market on another drug story, the Covid vaccine – BIIB plunged 31% to $227, where shares had first been in November 2013. A double-WTF moment (data via YCharts):

An FDA-approved drug for Alzheimer’s – whether effective or not – would be huge because millions of people with Alzheimer’s would be prescribed that drug, and insurers and Medicare would foot the bill, and ultimately consumers and taxpayers would foot the bill, for the enormous profits Biogen would extract from the deal. Analysts had touted the potential of the drug for Biogen: over $7 billion a year in revenues.

The press release Friday evening on the Committee’s findings concerning the data of several studies, said that the committee:

  • “Voted 1 yes, 8 no and 2 uncertain on the question, “Does Study 302 (EMERGE), viewed independently and without regard for Study 301 (ENGAGE), provide strong evidence that supports the effectiveness of aducanumab for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease?”
  • “Voted 0 yes, 7 no and 4 uncertain on the question, “Does Study 103 (PRIME) provide supportive evidence of the effectiveness of aducanumab for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease?”
  • “Voted 5 yes, 0 no and 6 uncertain on the question, “Has the Applicant presented strong evidence of a pharmacodynamic effect of aducanumab on Alzheimer’s disease pathophysiology?”
  • “Voted 0 yes, 10 no and 1 uncertain on the question, “In light of the understanding provided by the exploratory analyses of Study 301 and Study 302, along with the results of Study 103 and evidence of a pharmacodynamic effect on Alzheimer’s disease pathophysiology, it is reasonable to consider Study 302 as primary evidence of effectiveness of aducanumab for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease?”

Though the findings of the FDA’s committee of experts are not binding for the FDA, it usually follows them. But given how flexible the FDA has become, how much money is involved here – potentially over $7 billion from the drug for Biogen – and how big of a problem Alzheimer’s disease is, the FDA could still approve the drug next year, effective or not.

But even if the FDA approves the drug, big insurers and Medicare may refuse to pay for the drug given the history and the tainted results. And that would dim the financial prospects of the drug.

The experimental drug has a convoluted history. In March 2019, Biogen and its partner Eisai ended two late-stage trials after an analysis found that the chance the drug would be effective in slowing cognitive decline was less than 20%. Later in 2019, Biogen did a 180 and said that one of the studies was successful and blamed the failure of the other study on design changes it had made during the trial.

All these announcements had massive impacts on the shares, driving them up or cutting them down by huge percentages as they went.

Biogen’s shares had hit a high on March 20, 2015, of $438 a share, after an enormous run-up. In trading this morning, shares are off 49% from that peak. And compared to the other WTF spikes and plunges in the shares, the huge spike on Wednesday and the more-than-unwind-plunge today are just part of a very rough ride since the peak in March 2015 (data via YCharts):

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  64 comments for “Biogen’s Double-WTF Moment, After Trading Halt All Day Friday: The Elusive Alzheimer’s Money

  1. Skara says:

    Wolf, what are we going to do about this S&P short?!

    • Matt says:

      Sell and take a Tax write off

    • Joe in LA says:

      Unless Jerome Powell has a religious conversion experience to capitalism, what would ever stop the endless provision of liquidity?

      • Cas127 says:

        Well put.

        But in the long run (perhaps longer than any of us can financially last) Fed tactics will ruin the US economy (perhaps sooner than any of us avoid).

        1) The accumulated debt (facilitated by money printed ZIRP) is more and more unserviceable at any non ZIRP rate.

        At “just” 100% debt-to-GDP (which doesn’t include an ocean of implicit DC guarantees), a small 1% increase in interest rates (cut by 3.5%+ by ZIRP) requires a 1% growth in GDP…just to avoid a worsening debt death spiral in DC finances. That is just math.

        1% additional GDP growth is a big incremental increase over what DC has been able to engineer for decades.

        2) To prevent interest rates from ever rising again (see death spiral above) the Fed will just continue printing $ to buy Treasuries that the private sector won’t buy at ZIRP rates.

        3) But Fed printing does not summon a single real asset into existence…it merely worsens the ratio between $ and real assets (inflation).

        4) DC possesses no economic “magic”…or if it does, it is only the occult art of converting *their* debt into *our* inflation.

        5) What capital holder in their right mind wants to perpetually hold their capital in such an already ruined fiat, yielding little now…much less later.

        6) Why not hold your capital in an objectively growing economy that can afford to pay non ZIRP rates…because it isn’t crippled by unrepayable debt due to decades of political incompetence and corruption?

        7) DC was warned and warned and warned.

        But political careers were purchased using the future of the US.

        8) Unless some unprecedented technological or economic genius appears, DC has led the US into a kill box.

        • Joe in LA says:

          I agree, but what economy is objectively growing and can afford to pay non ZIRP rates?

        • Cas127 says:

          Joe,

          Sadly, China.

          Which has out thought, out maneuvered, out produced, and out led DC for about 25 years.

          Sadly, Russia.

          Which has enormous reserves of oil and much lower domestic consumption…so its fiat can be backed by a hugely liquid, internationally traded fiat.

          Whereas the DC fiat is backed by…

          The competence and integrity of…DC.

          America’s enemies will not have been the ruin of the American economy.

          DC will.

          But DC gets away with it (briefly) because it is able to get its MSM familiars to focus on the manipulated shiny object (stock mkt!!) rather than the fundamental economics, terminally exploited to fuel the shiny object (national debt).

          Actually, the con isn’t that complicated…but the political/media class survive by the lie…so it goes largely unpublicized.

          Russia and China are both dangerously unfree (even if their economies are less deranged in their fundamentals).

          But to pretend that the US isn’t dangerously manipulated too…is to make the mistake that DC survives by.

        • nick kelly says:

          Russia?? That’s funny!

          In 1998 the ruble lost 70 % of its value against the US$.
          But isn’t that a while ago? OK: check Wiki for ‘Russian Financial Crisis 2014-2017’.

          Russia is ALWAYS in financial crisis. It’s an oil and gas economy that incredibly wasn’t even self- sufficient in related equipment when the sanctions hit.

          An oft repeated stat: Saudi needs $80 oil, Russia only needs 40 (or 25 etc.)
          This is because Saudi has expensive social programs. Russia? A young female newsreader on Russian TV actually started laughing as she read out the goodies on top of the approx $100 a month old- age pension. Things like: medicine $12.

          Note that Putin has introduced a law saying retired Presidents can’t be charged. Sort of a pre-emptive self pardon. Does he think Russia in the future will be governed by law?

          Russia is heading for a third revolution.

        • Cas127 says:

          Re Russia,

          The Russian fiat is very volatile (not least because oil can be) *but* in the end, having a currency backed by a natural resource with intrinsic utility (and therefore demand) creates a natural demand for a currency that a purely politically controlled fiat won’t have.

          Russian fiat right now (and historically) has not been explicitly backed by its oil.

          But the Russians have talked about it (usually when the US is in it a fit of money printing).

          So the possibility is there.

          And, of course, oil itself goes through supply/demand imbalances that cause price gyrations…which would be bad for currency backing.

          But the long term question is whether or not some backing beats no backing (a la USD).

          USD demand exists because of the vast (but decaying) US historic asset base (existing within the US domain – think domestic land, buildings, rotting vanishing factories, half drawn down natural resources, incompetently employed military assets, etc).

          The “stock” of such assets is huge because of historic US success, but the “flow” has been increasingly negative for 50 yrs as foreign economies have outcompeted the US (see huge accumulated trade deficits).

          On this basis, China (and the Yuan) provide a mortal threat to USD business as usual.

          Their productive capacity is newer, more productive (capable of producing at lower costs), and increasingly diverse and vast.

          Ultimately, demand for fiat (and therefore non CB jiggered interest rates) follows the demand for what that fiat can buy.

          If China definitively outstrips the US in productive capacity/factories (see huge trade deficits, electronics industry capture, inability to produce even medical masks in US, etc ad infinitum) then the intermediate term demand for the dollar/Treasuries must suffer.

          The Fed will (and with increasing frequency, has) stepped into the Treasury breach to keep interest rates down, using its phonied up fiat, but all that does is swap inflation for debt.

          When that inflation (partially) manifests as asset price increases in the stock market, the US political leadership portrays a symptom of economic cancer as a sign of economic health.

          It isn’t.

      • Nothing because liquidity is the lifeblood of the system. Liquidity is necessary. Excess liquidity may raise issues, none as large as providing phantom collateral to banks and other companies. Liquidity freezes release more phantom equity, which releases money for transactional purposes. You are never allowed to draw down on your principal, if you are in their circle.

        • Cas127 says:

          “You are never allowed to draw down on your principal, if you are in their circle.”

          DC definition of “invested in” America.

          Public definition of “infesting” America.

    • Yancey Ward says:

      Today is the reason I didn’t nakedly short the market in September and October- I knew eventually someone would claim an effective vaccine and the market would have a day like this. I just wish I had waited to buy puts until this week.

      • Zantetsu says:

        If you knew this would happen, why didn’t you invest and make money off of your certainty?

        I think it’s because it’s easy to say in hindsight that you “knew” stuff that at the time you actually weren’t confident about.

        Don’t feel bad – we all do it!

      • Sit23 says:

        The trick is to get in with the inside crowd. The principals of that drug company will have bought and sold shares as required, just prior to each share pricing affecting announcement.They still make their fortunes. They have no loyalty to, or interest in either the company they are milking, the shareholders and staff, and certainly none at all for the poor sods whose futures depend on their Alzheimer’s being fixed or minimised.

  2. DeerInHeadlights says:

    Biogen pulled a Kodak.

    That’s the reality of the ‘pandemic markets’. Pure news-based and momentum-based participation without regard to anything else. The examples are too many of stocks that have and continue to exhibit meteoric rises and falls.

    Not a good day for your short Wolf. However, at the rate covid’s exploding, I’m still structurally bearish.

    • MCH says:

      COVID is largely priced into the downside of the market. But the problems and the reasons for Wolf’s short is more to do with the underlying situation of the economy and the structural problems of the market.

      Besides, his bet could have been very small. If he just shorted 10 shares of SPY for example, even if the SPY went to $400, he wouldn’t be out very much.

    • fajensen says:

      I think Covid-19 is mostly “baked in” by now; it has to do something New to take down “The Markets”. No-deal Brexit is “baked in” also.

      Maybe Turkey going tits-up would be an unhappy surprise, but even then, it would just be a buying opportunity – unless, perhaps, if they start a hot war with Europe like they always wants to do – and the UK joins them.

    • DeerInHeadlights says:

      I think Covid is priced in only as far as its primary impact has been understood. It’s secondary and more long-term impacts regarding debt, delinquencies with respect to mortgages, insolvencies and defaults will only be seen going forward into 2021 and beyond. Admittedly, it’s not easy or straightforward to price that in when the current modus operandi is “extend and pretend”.

      If you say that Wolf’s short is to do with the underlying situation of the economy, and by all accounts, covid has greatly worsened this situation, then it follows that the market has NOT priced it in. :)

      • RightNYer says:

        Exactly. What the market hasn’t “priced in” is the impact of the closures of the small businesses, the loss of employment and income for their owners and employees, the collapse of the travel and hospitality industry (business travel is NOT coming back, even with a vaccine), the collapse of commercial real estate, and so forth.

        • Zantetsu says:

          I’m less inclined to agree that business travel is not coming back.

          My reasoning is, that clearly there was never any good reason for it to begin with.

          Therefore, it can come back if the same vanity and/or desire for that lifestyle or whatever the causes were, come back. And I suspect they never actually left … so there will likely be a gradual build up to doing things how they were done before, modulated only by some wisdom that managed to sink into the system and be retained.

          Therefore I would predict that in 5 years business travel will probably be something like 90% of what it was before COVID.

          It’s just a theory, don’t beat me up over it please.

        • RightNYer says:

          LOL, it’s a fair point. I just think a lot of the reason it had always been done was “because it had always been done that way,” and momentum is a hard thing to break. Now that it’s broken, I don’t see it going back. Companies like to cut costs.

        • Cas127 says:

          Agreed…follow on effects are spread over time.

          I wonder if any aggregate stock mkt metrics (revenue and profit, yr over yr) support generalized sense that 3rd quarter C19 impact is as bad or worse than largely “shut down” 2nd qtr results.

          Multiple individual stocks in mkts seem to be rptg yr over yr revenue declines.

          Not by any means all…but more than a few.

  3. Matt says:

    Pump and Dump

  4. MCH says:

    Someone has to top TSLA for the WTF moment award on Wolfstreet, apparently BIIB is up to the challenge. A double tap WTF is just the right way to go. Now, will a surprise FDA approval put them on a triple WTF moment in a few weeks.

    I would be curious to see if there is approval on this most recent take on attack BA plaque as a means of staving off Alzheimer’s. They may just let this drug go because of the placebo effect and encouraging more company to chase after the disease. Everyone knows that Alzheimer’s is a gigantic market and the last decade is littered with failures to come up with any kind of treatment.

    • Anthony A. says:

      I would guess that if the FDA approves this drug, knowing it’s not effective, the insurance companies won’t cover the cost.

      • MCH says:

        It depends… BIIB may not need the insurance companies, as long as they can get themselves onto schedule D of Medicare, it might be sufficient.

        • Anthony A. says:

          Possibly, but without much drug effectiveness, it would most likely be a low tier priced drug and not make much money for BIIB.

        • MCH says:

          Probably, effectiveness though is TBD. The problem with these clinical trials is that the company in question always tries to have the pick of the litter in terms of who they think will offer the best response.

          So, the trials are always skewed slightly to favorable results. Which means failure likely dooms the molecule, but you never know, sometimes the drug can turn out to be more efficacious because the sample population in the trial was not right. (This is rare, but it does occur)

          And FDA has gone against Adcom before, there are cases like this, and sometimes it works out. You just don’t know until it’s released.

    • cd says:

      the plaque argument is dead if you invest in biotech you saw the short opportunity as this drug was already dead a year ago, someone made 3000% on the 400 call strike on pop, they also made 2000+% on the 350, 325 and 300….

      AVXL is doing it the right way, if I were you I would throw a couple dollars at it right now, On friday they released the best cognitive decline and even showed repair…..sigma 1 receptors…….some big entity took them down on the best Alz news ever to arbitrage the friday decision……

      they have CNS platform drug, Retts, ALZ and Parkinsons…

  5. nick kelly says:

    And now a thousand plus rally on the Dow on the news of a vaccine that may be 90% effective. The actual situation is this:

    “We’re in a position potentially to be able to offer some hope,” Dr. Bill Gruber, Pfizer’s senior vice-president of clinical development, told The Associated Press.

    This is about as qualified as a statement can get, but the market’s reaction is unqualified. Looks like a case where sell the rumor is advisable.

    In the US a vaccine has to be tested on 34,000 people.
    It’s probably going to be a year minimum before this is cleared for mass distribution, IF it works.

    The hope is it works. The danger is that with science deniers everywhere, the genie gets out of the bottle and we get a serious demonstration of exponential growth before the vaccine.

    • nick kelly says:

      PS: forgot to mention it’s a covid vaccine.

    • MCH says:

      So, time to buy puts in Pfizer?

      Heheh. That would be dangerous, I think coupled with uncle gaffe machine locking in the White House, the market will have a couple more days to run.

      Then it depends on if the jackasses can dump in enough money to buy GA senate seats and it might still rank the markets.

      If there is a sell off, talking a 20% drop, it won’t be for a while… at least not till December.

      • sunny129 says:

        Too much hype, just like Moderna.

        Bought a couple of PUTS on PFE at the end of day!

        Better buy Cos producing FREEZERS trucks and ware houses!?

        Vaccine need to kept at NEGATIVE 70C to keep it stabilized!

        • MCH says:

          Well, the nice thing is PFE has a reasonable dividend and fortunately, they have other businesses.

  6. 2banana says:

    Don’t know what that exactly means…but it was the best of voting outcomes and seems encouraging.

    “Voted 5 yes, 0 no and 6 uncertain on the question, “Has the Applicant presented strong evidence of a pharmacodynamic effect of aducanumab on Alzheimer’s disease pathophysiology?”

  7. Michael Church says:

    I’m a retired Clinical Neuropsychologist and I could tell you in advance there is not going to be a remarkable cure for what is a complex condition lots of disease processes and variants.

    I certainly would not put any of my money in a company trying to produce an Alzheimers drug.

    • Bobber says:

      I’m a retired financial professional. Would you put money into a company that generated over $6B free cash flow in 2019 WITHOUT an alzheimers drug, trading at less than 10x free cash flow, in a growing industry, after just dropping 30%?

      That is Biomed.

      I haven’t done in-depth research, but I am putting some money into it based on basic valuation considerations.

      • Zantetsu says:

        Basic valuations are irrelevant though. Seriously, when the piece of paper you buy (or really the electrons stored in some specific configuration somewhere) when you buy a stock has NO (or little) INTRINSIC VALUE other than what someone perceives it will have … then you should not be surprised when there is no relationship between that perceived value of that piece of paper, and anything that could be correlated with reality.

        I always have and always will think that the stock market is one big sham but … it’s the only casino I gamble in.

        I invest based on momentum only. I never look at fundamentals in any way. Call me a sucker if you want, but so far I am doing fine. And go ahead and make a post about how this strategy is guaranteed to bite me in the end, it’s only your crystal ball vs. mine, so whatever you say, please don’t pretend certainty. For my part, I won’t either. I know I could lose my shirt.

      • Bobber says:

        Meant to say Biogen, not Biomed.

    • The cure to most of these things is a healthy environment. Cancer will probably disappear after a generation raised on organic foods, who are not spending years in toxic work environments, and who are seduced at a young age by corporations subsidizing vices like sugar, tobacco and alcohol.
      The cost of remediation is far greater than the ounce of prevention. If Covid has a secret benefit, it raises our awareness of disease prevention, and that suggests broad social measures, rather than consumer choices, like vaccines. Once we accept the fallacy of choice, as a economic determinant, poor people choose to be poor, then mankind can take another step forward.

      • sunny129 says:

        @Ambrose Bierce

        ‘healthy environment’

        What’s current status our environment in the World today or where you are living?

        Air pollution, water pollution, Food pollution are increasing, NOT decreasing. More chemicals in our fod chain system. Corn syrup-Fructose in everything. Residual hormones in most meat prducts! How many in the general populace can afford organic foods?

        Longer one lives, more prone for some kind of cancer, unless die due to cardiovascular, lung, kidney or liver ailments. By age 40y, one kidney’s function is LESS THAN 50%.
        Is obesity decreasing? NO.
        Longevity is supposed to be associated calorie DEPRIVATION as one gets old. Increased OXIDATION with ‘free molecule’ supposed to be damaging to cell structure leading morbidity – cancer mortality.
        I am incorporating half day fasting to start with. Just trying! Firm believer in Aspirin.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Yes. Every effort so far has failed to come anywhere near producing an effective drug. Billions have been spent. There is a lot of soul-searching going on in a fundamental way about the industry’s approach to it.

      • sunny129 says:

        ‘fundamental way about the industry’s approach to it’

        DEFinitely yes. Only if there is PROFIT at the end!

        Just look the approach of FOOD industry towards SALT & SUGAR!?

      • Wisoot says:

        Within the last decade, the discovery that the human brain has a lymphatic system operating to clear unwanted cells (just like the body has – under arms, back of knees, inner top of thighs, between fingers and toes, top of chest) seems to be wilfully overlooked by pharma as all solution roads lead to things that support and maintain detox processes like diet lifestyle and exercise or movement. When pharmaceuticals start to get banned based upon river sample proportions of drugs found ( already targeting farmers to analyse their fertiliser use – just the beginning ) pharma will adjust their choice of pill poison. Majority if not all legal drugs for health have side effects which largely compromise digestive efficiency and detox processes. Thus Theresa Mays husband leading the CBD for health approach by monopolising licence to use as its’ pollutant impact on rivers is negligible. And so we return to the beginning, herbalists, apothecaries, spices, essential oils that have no negative impact on rivers. Big pharma bannished to the annals of history and vibration beds are the norm. Roll on.

    • cd says:

      well you better start researching sigma 1 receptors and AVXL….they just stopped decline and showed data that shows thier approach even helps generate a positive re-growth of cognitive skills

      never say never

      biogen was going to fail and I love the short I put on thursday…..plaque argument is dead…..

  8. MonkeyBusiness says:

    I guess David Einhorn guessed wrong again. He thought the market had peaked, and now it’s off to the races again.

    This country has truly reached the promised land :)

    • Phoenix_Ikki says:

      Another day of the new normal paradigm..ignore all fundamentals and celebrate any speculation and news as the next miracle…guess market will just continue to rocket up to infinity and beyond..another word. What else is new?

      • DeerInHeadlights says:

        Nothing new, really. :) When retail participation is this high and everyone and their grandma is buying stocks, the upsides and downsides are greatly pronounced. This is great for the big players and experienced traders who are profiting massively from well-timed trades. Case in point, for every person who bought gold at $1960 last week, there were a handful of people who shorted it massively.

        • cd says:

          they have very little time to be short….1840 needs to break before it ever sees 1750 again….and that would be the end of down move and then the ride to 2600

    • MonkeyBusiness says:

      The market is now independent of the Fed’s balance sheet.

  9. Dan Romig says:

    I watched Alzheimer’s hit my dad; although he was very skilled at hiding it and compensating for the steadily increasing effects that it took on his once brilliant mind.

    Those of us with sleep apnea, that’s not addressed with CPAP machines, are at greater risk for A-fib and getting Alzheimer’s at an earlier age. Plus, untreated sleep apnea can allow Alzheimer’s to develop to a greater extent than it might in a person who uses a CPAP breathing device.

    I have had A-fib. I may get Alzheimer’s. When asked about using a CPAP machine this morning in an appointment for an upcoming new knee:

    “Do you use a CPAP?”

    “All night, every night!” (Thank you, Repo Man quote)

    I write this comment to try and persuade everyone out there who may have sleep apnea to get checked out. If you have it, use today’s technology to protect yourself.

  10. Zantetsu says:

    Tangentially related, I think it’s super suspicious that the 90% vaccine effectiveness was only announced after Biden had been declared winner. I think withholding this info was likely a ploy to specifically avoid helping Trump.

    I don’t think of myself as a conspiracy theorist, but the timing is just far too coincidental for my tastes.

    My friend also told me that 60 minutes ran a piece called Operation Warp Speed that I guess showed the Trump administration response to COVID in good light? I didn’t watch it but that’s what he told me. Again very curious that this piece complimentary to Trump’s COVID response wasn’t aired until the election was declared in Biden’s favor.

    I absolutely abhor Trump but I abhor cheating more. Although I am not sure if this is cheating in a meaningful way since these private companies have the right to release info/shows whenever they feel like it. But if Trump supporters want to claim media bias, I think this might be some good evidence …

  11. BuySome says:

    A simple injection of more cash will vaccinate us all against everything evil. Now, what was my account number? Hello, who are you? Did I ever tell you the story of…..? [Thanks to the mini-governments we call corporations, serious problems that affect the greater good can now be handled in the same way as public policies…everything becomes the butt of a joke.]

  12. Gerry says:

    The Food and Drug Administration, not the Department of Education (“Can you spell Common Core?” “No, no matter, reading just leads to rioting.”), should be the next federal agency to be eliminated. In 2001, ImClone CEO Sam Waksal and his friend Martha Stewart both wound up with prison sentences for insider trading based on a rumor involving the FDA not approving the drug Erbitux. Waksal had earlier turned down Bristol-Myers Sqibb offer to buy ImClone and its Erbitux anti-cancer drug, he wanted more. With Waksal safely in prison, ImClone’s new management got the FDA to approve Erbitux in 2004 and then sold the company to Bristol-Myers Squibb for $1.9 billion. Less than what Wksal was demanding. I know, the official charge against Stewart was the “Lying to the FBI Act,” section 1001. You have worthless drugs approved by the FDA that, at a total cost of billions of dollars per year, extend lifespans by months at most for the majority of these anti-cancer drugs.
    Biogen did not pay the FDA enough so the FDA turned down Biogen’s drug application. Since Reagan changed FDA funding, the FDA depends on payments from Big Pharma to pay staff salaries. Pfizer knows the score, so their executives pay the FDA handsomely to get FDA approval for drugs like its new “90% effective” Covid vaccine. Anyone believe this crap?

    • Zantetsu says:

      Yes, we should always throw the baby out with the bath water.

    • lenert says:

      Maybe if drugs were sold in a free market without government-granted patent monopolies then the CEOs and “investors” wouldn’t get rich trading the stock and the incentive would be on developing safe and effective treatments instead of lying about testing and, say, fueling a nationwide opioid epidemic.

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        In that case the CEOs and investors would move on to something else more profitable and there would be little incentive for US private industry to develop anything. I have never understood why the NIH is not responsible for design/development/testing. But that opens a different can of worms.

        • lenert says:

          With respect, private industry seemed to have plenty of incentive to make all kinds of things in the centuries leading up to passage of the Bayh-Dole act in the lame-duck session of the 1980 congress.

          As for the NIH, if they did what you say, the information would be in the public domain and then drug makers could manufacture and sell at generic prices. People would buy them. Researchers would get paid, manufacturers would get paid. But yeah, drug company CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CTOs, CMOs, and all their VPs and Executive VPs might have to find another line of work if they want to make money trading their company stock.

          Ever wonder why no big company has come up with a new antibiotic in an age when they are becoming less effective? Not many people take a daily dose of antibiotics so it’s “a small market,” no incentive.

  13. WOLFSTREET reader from Iran says:

    Ah, Biogen. I’ve enthusiastically followed this exceptional biotech which has a penchant for elusive Alzheimer’s drugs, since 2015.

    Two years ago, when I finally found out how to buy Wall Street stocks from Iran, Biogen was the first, and the only company that I invested in it, and after a few weeks I got badly burnt :(

    The last few days have been GREAT days in the history of drug approvals/announcements, and IMO, Biogen has been the shiniest star in this show.

    Today, roughly two years after that harsh margin call, and the WTF crash today mentioned in this article, I seriously analyzed BIIB, and read several Motley Fool articles to conclude whether buy it or not; & I didn’t bought it. Instead, I bought the stock that you seem to hate, Wolf, Tesla! For the first time in my life…

Comments are closed.