The FDA’s conditional approval of Biogen’s (NSDQ:BIIB) and Eisai’s (OTCMKTS:ESALY) Alzheimer’s drug aducanumab (Aduhelm) may have been controversial, but the decision will likely have a significant financial impact.
There are 6 million people with Alzheimer’s in the U.S. alone, according to Alzheimer’s Association estimates. Approximately half of those patients have mild symptoms, which is the group most likely to be prescribed the drug.
A significant number of physicians are considering prescribing the intravenous drug for approximately one-third of Alzheimer’s patients with mild cognitive impairment, according to an analysis from Jefferies.
As part of the aducanumab treatment, patients will require preliminary PET scans to determine the initial levels of amyloid in the brain. The need for such PET scans could drive an uptick in PET imaging, according to an investor briefing note from UBS.
As a result, Cardinal Health (NYSE:CAH) could be among the beneficiaries of the aducanumab approval as the company’s Nuclear & Precision Health Solutions division has a significant reach across the U.S. In addition, the company operates approximately one-third of the PET tracers now approved for the type of scan required for aducanumab treatment. By FY 2022, Cardinal Health could see a tangible lift from PET screening related to new aducanumab diagnoses, UBS predicts.