This unprecedented CMS decision effectively denies all Medicare beneficiaries access to ADUHELM® (aducanumab-avwa), the first and only FDA-approved therapy in a new class of Alzheimer’s drugs. It may also limit coverage for any future approved treatment in the class. These coverage restrictions, including the distinction between accelerated approval and traditional approval, have never been applied to FDA-approved medicines for other disease areas.
When additional data from this new class of treatments become available, Biogen urges CMS to reconsider today’s decision for all FDA-approved amyloid-beta targeting therapies. For lecanemab, our partner Eisai has initiated FDA filing via the accelerated approval pathway and the readout of the Phase 3 confirmatory Clarity AD clinical trial is expected in the fall.
Biogen continues to advocate for patients to have rapid and equitable access to all FDA-approved therapies to treat Alzheimer’s disease and for the continuity of care for Medicare beneficiaries already on ADUHELM.
Biogen is carefully considering its options and will provide updates as the company further evaluates the business impact of this decision.
About ADUHELM® (aducanumab-avwa) injection 100 mg/mL for intravenous use
ADUHELM is indicated for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Treatment with ADUHELM should be initiated in patients with mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia stage of disease, the population in which treatment was initiated in clinical trials. There are no safety or effectiveness data on initiating treatment at earlier or later stages of the disease than were studied. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on reduction in amyloid beta plaques observed in patients treated with ADUHELM. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification of clinical benefit in confirmatory trial(s).
ADUHELM is a monoclonal antibody directed against amyloid beta. The accumulation of amyloid beta plaques in the brain is a defining pathophysiological feature of Alzheimer’s disease. The accelerated approval of ADUHELM has been granted based on data from clinical trials showing the effect of ADUHELM on reducing amyloid beta plaques, a surrogate biomarker that is reasonably likely to predict clinical benefit, in this case a reduction in clinical decline.
ADUHELM can cause serious side effects including: Amyloid Related Imaging Abnormalities or “ARIA”. ARIA is a common side effect that does not usually cause any symptoms but can be serious. Although most people do not have symptoms, some people may have symptoms such as: headache, confusion, dizziness, vision changes, nausea, and seizures. The patient’s healthcare provider will do magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans before and during treatment with ADUHELM to check for ARIA. ADUHELM can also cause serious allergic reactions. The most common side effects of ADUHELM include: swelling in areas of the brain, with or without small spots of bleeding in the brain or on the surface of the brain (ARIA); headache; and fall. Patients should call their healthcare provider for medical advice about side effects.
From 2017 to March 13, 2022, Biogen and Eisai jointly collaborated on the development, commercialization and manufacturing of ADUHELM. Effective March 14, 2022, Biogen has sole decision-making authority over the development, commercialization and manufacturing of ADUHELM. In 2022 the parties will continue in a global profit/loss sharing arrangement subject to a cap on Eisai’s expenses for 2022. Eisai will be entitled to a tiered royalty on net sales of ADUHELM as of January 1, 2023.
As pioneers in neuroscience, Biogen discovers, develops, and delivers worldwide innovative therapies for people living with serious neurological diseases as well as related therapeutic adjacencies. One of the world’s first global biotechnology companies, Biogen was founded in 1978 by Charles Weissmann, Heinz Schaller, Sir Kenneth Murray, and Nobel Prize winners Walter Gilbert and Phillip Sharp. Today, Biogen has a leading portfolio of medicines to treat multiple sclerosis, has introduced the first approved treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, and is providing the first and only approved treatment to address a defining pathology of Alzheimer’s disease. Biogen is also commercializing biosimilars and focusing on advancing the industry’s most diversified pipeline in neuroscience that will transform the standard of care for patients in several areas of high unmet need.
In 2020, Biogen launched a bold 20-year, $250 million initiative to address the deeply interrelated issues of climate, health, and equity. Healthy Climate, Healthy Lives™ aims to eliminate fossil fuels across the company’s operations, build collaborations with renowned institutions to advance the science to improve human health outcomes, and support underserved communities.