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Biogen’s Stock Is Soaring Because of Its Experimental Alzheimer’s Drug — But Some Are Urging Caution

Biogen and partner Eisai’s stock soared in Friday trading as investors cheered the companies’ announcement that their experimental Alzheimer’s drug met its goals in a mid-stage study. Shares of Biogen and Eisai were both up as much as 20% in early Friday trading. But some biotech analysts and industry observers are urging cautious optimism given the long history of drug development failures in Alzheimer’s and the trial’s complicated design.

The therapy, BAN2401, was successful in patients receiving the highest dose 18 months into a mid-stage clinical study, according to the companies (although the full data won’t be released until a medical meeting later this year). That’s actually a departure from an earlier analysis done 12 months into the trial; part of the reason for that is that Biogen is using an “adaptive” trial design that allows for switching patients to different doses if their original regimens don’t appear effective.