Biogen (BIIB) earnings Q4 2023

A Biogen facility in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Brian Snyder | Reuters

Biogen on Tuesday reported fourth-quarter revenue and profit that shrank from a year ago, as it recorded charges related to dropping its controversial Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm and as sales slumped in its multiple sclerosis therapies, the company’s biggest drug category.

Biogen booked sales of $2.39 billion for the quarter, down 6% from the same period a year ago. Revenue from multiple sclerosis products fell 8% to $1.17 billion as the therapies face competition from cheaper generics.

The results come as the company slashes costs while broadening its focus to replace that declining revenue.

Here’s what Biogen reported for the fourth quarter compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by LSEG: 

  • Earnings per share: $2.95 adjusted vs. $3.18 expected
  • Revenue: $2.39 billion vs. $2.47 billion expected

Biogen reported net income of $249.7 billion, or $1.71 per share, for the fourth quarter. That compares with net income of $550.4 billion, or $3.79  per share, for the same period a year ago. Adjusting for one-time items, the company reported $2.95 per share.

Also on Tuesday, Biogen issued full-year 2024 guidance that calls for adjusted earnings of $15 to $16 per share. Analysts surveyed by LSEG had expected full-year earnings guidance of $15.65 per share.

The drugmaker said it expects 2024 sales to decline by a low to mid-single digit percentage compared to last year. But the company expects its pharmaceutical revenue, which includes product revenue and its 50% share of Leqembi sales, to be flat this year compared to 2023.

The results also come amid the closely watched rollout of Biogen and Eisai’s Alzheimer’s drug, Leqembi, which became the first drug found to slow the progression of the disease to win approval in the U.S. last year. Leqembi marks a new chapter for Biogen after the polarizing approval and rollout of its older Alzheimer’s drug, Aduhelm, which the company dropped last month. 

Biogen’s fourth-quarter earnings per share, both unadjusted and adjusted, saw a negative impact of 35 cents associated with previously disclosed costs of pulling Aduhelm, it said Tuesday.

Investors are watching for when the companies will file for Food and Drug Administration approval of an injectable version of Leqembi, which showed promising initial results in a clinical trial in October. 

Leqembi is currently administered twice monthly through the veins, a method known as intravenous infusion. The injectable form would be a new and more convenient option for administering the antibody treatment to patients, which could pave the way for higher uptake. 

But investors also have their eyes on other newly launched drugs. 

That includes Skyclarys from Biogen’s $7.3 billion acquisition of Reata Pharmaceuticals in July. 

The FDA cleared Skyclarys last year, making it the first approved treatment for Friedreich ataxia, a rare inherited degenerative disease that can impair walking and coordination in children as young as 5.

On Monday, EU regulators approved Skyclarys for the treatment of Friedreich ataxia in patients ages 16 and up. 

Biogen will hold an earnings call at 8:00 a.m. ET.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.