In a puzzling move, Biogen disclosed plans Tuesday to spin off its hemophilia business, a smaller but fast-growing piece of its operations, into a separate entity in order to focus on neurology medicines, notably multiple sclerosis treatments. But the idea has puzzled some Wall Streeters, triggering speculation that the biotech may be setting itself up for still bigger things.
The spinoff, which is expected to occur by the end of this year or early 2017, would include two hemophilia drugs — Alprolix and Eloctate — that generated 8 percent of $2.3 billion in product sales during the first quarter. Looked at another way, those drugs generated $640 million in sales over the past 12 months, and some analysts predict the unit could become a $1 billion business.
The plan comes just seven months after Biogen announced a reorganization that involves eliminating $250 million in operating costs and 11 percent of its global workforce of 8,000 people. At the time, Biogen suffered a setback when it had to discontinue a late-stage clinical study to expand the use of its best-selling drug, Tecfidera, a multiple sclerosis treatment.