Biotech giant Biogen said on Thursday it garnered nearly $1.6 million in sales from its controversial Alzheimer’s drug last month after it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in June.
The drug, marketed as EduHelm, is the first new treatment for Alzheimer’s in nearly 18 years and doctors hope it will not only ease symptoms but target the underlying disease.
The company said in its second quarter earnings report That drug, which was approved by the FDA on June 7, had sales of $1.6 million before the end of the quarter, which was June 30.
The company’s revenue from Aduhelm is modest right now, but the drug has just been launched. The company reported total revenue of about $2.8 billion for the quarter, down 25 percent from a year ago.
The company said it expects Eduhelm to continue to contribute modest revenue this year, with a ramp-up thereafter.
Biogen has put a price tag of $56,000 a year on EduHelm, angering some Alzheimer’s advocates and even raising questions among Wall Street analysts.
The drug’s approval by the FDA gave hope to the more than 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s—though some doctors objected to the approval, saying there wasn’t enough evidence to show it’s actually effective.
Three scientists on the panel advising the FDA have reportedly resigned following the drug’s approval.
“This may be the worst approval decision the FDA has made that I can remember,” said Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, According to the New York Times.
Despite concerns, last month a Rhode Island man became the first patient to receive a transfusion of the drug.
And questions have since been raised about whether the company played a role in influencing internal FDA deliberations.
Earlier this month, FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock called the independent office of the inspector general to investigate whether Biogen officials had met with FDA employees outside of formal correspondence.
“With regard to contacts between representatives of Biogen and the FDA during the review process, there are some that may occur outside of the formal correspondence process,” Woodcock wrote in a letter posted Friday to Acting Inspector General Christie Grimm.
“To the extent these concerns may undermine the public’s confidence in the FDA’s decision, I believe it is important that the incidence of the issue is reviewed by an independent body such as the Office of the Inspector General to determine whether there was an interaction between Biogen and the FDA. The FDA review staff was inconsistent with FDA policies and procedures.”