Biogen begins layoffs en-masse amidst Aduhelm mess

March 4, 2022

Biogen’s saga with Aduhelm continues to unfold.

The latest development in the company's “restructuring” plans come in the form of massive layoffs. According to media sources, more than 100 people have been laid off so far, with no official indication from the company as to how many job losses there will be in total.

Back in December, it was reported that Biogen was finalizing a plan to save between $500 and $750 million annually. Those savings were predicted to come in the form of layoffs, with the potential for 1,000 employees to lose their jobs — about 10% of Biogen’s workforce. 

The biotech has been in rough waters in the wake of its controversial Alzheimer’s drug, Aduhelm. The drug made headlines as the first new Alzheimer’s drug in almost 20 years. But so far, it hasn't lived up to the hype. Critics opposed its approval, citing potentially dangerous side effects, high costs and lack of evidence of efficacy. 

Earlier this year, citing unconvincing demonstrations of the drug’s effectiveness, the U.S. Medicare program decided to cover the drug only for patients who were participating in clinical trials.

Although forecasted to become the best-selling drug of all time, Aduhelm tanked when it went on the market, pulling in just $30,000 in sales in the third quarter — well below its expected $10.79 million. The hefty yearly cost of Aduhelm, $28,200 per dose, has led to complaints from many consumers who feel it is too high, despite Biogen lowering the price.

As if market failure and efficacy questions weren’t enough, there’s more.

Earlier this year, Biogen revealed that The Federal Trade Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating the drug’s marketing and approval. These come in addition to a congressional investigation into the drug’s approval and pricing, launched in June