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Biogen shares rally on success of experimental Alzheimer’s drug

Shares of biotech company Biogen (BIIB) rallied on Thursday during the after-hours trading after the company said it achieved positive results from final analysis of its Phase II trial of an Alzheimer’s drug. The advanced drug candidate, BAN2401, was developed in partnership with a Tokyo-based pharma company Eisai.

The drug companies stated that their experimental drug, BAN2401, had significantly reduced the growth of the neurodegenerative disease after 18 months of treatment, thereby passing the mid-stage trial. This recent success marks an important breakthrough for Biogen in this field.

The companies, however, did not offer an update on its Phase III trial plans. If Biogen and Eisai succeed with positive results in Phase 3, it will be a huge achievement, as many pharma companies that have spent billions into R&D to find a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease have met with little success. Despite being a common disease in the US, there are currently only five drugs that are approved by the FDA to treat Alzheimer’s.

Recently, Biogen agreed to spend $700 million to boost its stake in Samsung Bioepis. When both the companies entered into a partnership in 2012, Biogen had an ownership of 5.4%. Now Biogen has increased it to 49.9% stake. Samsung Bioepis has a gained a firm foothold in biosimilar market and currently has six late-stage candidates in its pipeline.

According to FiercePharma, the reason why Biogen upped its stake in Samsung Bioepis is because of the looming competitive threat on Biogen’s Multiple Sclerosis franchise that has been a growth driver for the company.

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