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Biogen CFO jumps to Alexion

June 15, 2017

Biogen (BIIB) is losing its chief financial officer…to another drug maker. The company announced late Tuesday that CFO Paul Clancy will depart next month to take a post at another drug company.  Which one? That answer comes from Alexion Pharamceuticals (ALXN), which also announced yesterday that Clancy will assume the role of CFO next month, replacing Dave Anderson.

Clancy is a respected executive, both internally and by Wall Street. So the news is tantamount to an endorsement for Alexion, lifting the stock 7.4% to a recent $116 a share. For Biogen, it raises some questions, especially since Clancy’s is the latest in a string of high-profile departures at the drug maker.

BMO analyst M. Ian Somaiya says he’s rethinking prospects for Biogen.

BIIB recently spun out its hemophilia business (Bioverativ) and promoted CCO Michel Vounatsos to CEO in 12/16 after the resignation of former CEO George Scangos on 7/16. With today’s news that CFO Paul Clancy is moving to ALXN, investors may increasingly scrutinize: 1) the outlook for the MS business (we think the Street underestimates the impact of generic Gilenya/Aubagio and CELG’s ozanimod); and 2) the value of BIIB’s pipeline (aducanumab for Alzheimer’s may be the only real growth opportunity and Ph3 remains risky given limited read-throughs from the Ph2 BAN2401 trial). BIIB’s long-term prospects depend heavily on BD, which will likely be affected if not stalled temporarily. The Spinraza launch is going well (BMO above-consensus 2018E ~$1.1bn vs. Street’s $931mn) and could support the stock in the near term; however, the next key Ph3 read-outs are not until 2019E (ENGAGE/EMERGE aducanumab trials).


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