Biogen’s Alzheimer’s Drug Deals With CVS and Cigna: What Investors Should Know

Biogen (NASDAQ:BIIB) has been quite busy lately. The biotech won U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its Alzheimer’s disease drug Aduhelm. Soon afterward, Biogen announced two deals related to the drug with CVS Health (NYSE:CVS) and Cigna (NYSE:CI). In this Motley Fool Live video recorded on June 9, Motley Fool contributors Keith Speights and Brian Orelli discuss how these deals could impact the companies.

Keith Speights: Biogen also announced a couple of deals. One was with CVS Health, ticker there is CVS. Another with Cigna, ticker there is CI.

Biogen announced these deals really soon after the FDA approved Aduhelm and treating Alzheimer’s disease. What should investors know about these partnerships, do they make CVS and Cigna or maybe even Biogen itself more attractive candidates to buy?

Brian Orelli: The CVS partnership brings brain health screenings into CVS’s project health program. That focuses on minority and under-served communities. I imagine that Biogen is paying CVS to run the screenings.

It’s probably not enough, but it’s going to move the needle at CVS so it’s probably not that big of a benefit to CVS. It might help diagnose more Alzheimer’s disease patients, and that could help Biogen. But only if doctors are actually prescribing, and insurers are actually covering Aduhelm.

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The deal with Cigna has Biogen working with Cigna on a value-based agreement for Aduhelm. I like this deal more.

Value-based agreements are deals where the drug company and the insurer agree that if the drug doesn’t help the patients then the insurance gets a kickback, knocked off part of the price of the drug. I think this is going to be maybe hard to implement because what do you use as you’re determining whether the drug actually helped the patients, are they going to measure cognition over time? I don’t know. I think it’s going to be difficult for them to set up.

Speights: You could even have a placebo effect.

Orelli: Exactly.

Speights: Patients expect that the drug is going to help them and even if it doesn’t their cognitive decline is slowed because they’re expecting it to happen. The details for that kind of arrangement are going to be very hard to work out and implement effectively.

Orelli: I think even the executives might have mentioned that on the call.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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