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Biogen Stock Gains After Q1 Earnings Miss; CEO Michel Vounatsos Exits

"I will be leaving at a time of promise for Biogen, with noteworthy potential for value creation," said departing CEO Michel Vounatsos.

Updated at 9:41 am EST

Biogen  (BIIB) - shares moved higher Tuesday after the drugmaker posted weaker-than-expected first quarter profits and said its CEO, Michel Vounatsos, will step down from his role later this year.  

Biogen, which won a controversial approval for its Alzheimer's treatment known as Aduhelm from the Food & Drug Administration last year, said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in March were pegged at $3.62 per share, down 32.2% improvement from last year but well shy of the Street consensus forecast of $4.38 per share.

Biogen said the miss was linked in part to a 76 cents per share write-off of Aduhelm inventories.

Group revenues, Biogen said, fell 6% from last year to $2.532 billion, a figure that topped analysts' estimates of a $2.5 billion tally.

In addition, Biogen said Vounatsos, who has served as CEO since 2017, will leave the group at an undisclosed date, but will remain in place "until his successor is appointed."

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“It has been an honor to lead this outstanding Company during such a challenging period and to work closely with so many dedicated and talented colleagues," Vounatsos said. "I am very proud of Biogen’s unparalleled capabilities in neuroscience, a complex field with tremendous unmet medical need, and of the novel medicines and benefits we have brought to patients. I want to thank the Board of Directors and my colleagues for their support during this period."

"I will be leaving at a time of promise for Biogen, with noteworthy potential for value creation, and I look forward working with my successor through a smooth transition,” he added. 

Biogen shares were marked 1.8% higher in early trading immediately following the earnings release to indicate an opening bell price of $211.00 each. 

Looking into the coming year, Biogen said it sees revenues in the region of $9.7 billion to $10 billion, down from its prior forecast of $10.98 billion, while reiterating its adjusted earnings forecast of between $14.25 and $16.00 per share. 

Earlier this year, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said it will only cover treatment with Aduhelm, Biogen's Alzheimer's treatment, if patients are enrolled in a clinical trial. Biogen slashed the price of Aduhelm by around 50% in January, to $28,200 per year, in order to help expand its potential reach.