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Biogen adds $10 billion in value as Alzheimer’s win lifts peers

Biogen Inc. headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., on Monday, June 7, 2021. Biogen Inc. shares soared after its controversial Alzheimer's disease therapy was approved by US regulators, a landmark decision that stands to dramatically change treatment for the debilitating brain condition.Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg

Biogen Inc. rose the most intraday since June 2021 after a key clinical trial with its partner Eisai Co. showed the therapy lecanemab slowed the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

The stock jumped as much as 43 percent, reversing this year’s decline and adding about $10 billion in market value, after the clinical win. Other firms developing treatments for the disease are also higher Wednesday in the wake of the data, helping lift a gauge of biotechnology stocks as much as 3.7 percent.

Biogen shares had been rocked over the past few years by developments around its controversial Alzheimer’s treatment Aduhelm, which won approval from the FDA last year but was hit by limited coverage from Medicare. Now, analysts are turning more bullish on the company after its lecanemab trial met the main goal, with at least a trio of brokers upgrading the stock to buy-equivalent ratings as the data increases the likelihood of regulatory success.

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“The reported data is pretty much a best-case scenario that not only should lead to approval and reimbursement but could make it challenging for competition (assuming any are successful) to match,” Baird analyst Brian Skorney wrote in a note.

Biogen’s partner Eisai soared 17 percent in Tokyo, while BioArctic AB, which the therapy was originally licensed from, surges as much as 176 percent.

Other companies developing treatments for the neurodegenerative disease have gained. Eli Lilly and Co., which is studying donanemab for early Alzheimer’s, climbed as much as 8.3 percent, the most since December, to an intraday record. Prothena Corp. surged as much as 91 percent and Acumen Pharmaceuticals Inc. jumped 80 percent.