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Expand chart
Data: Money.net; Chart: Axios Visuals

Biogen was a shattered biotech company in March after it pulled the plug on its new Alzheimer's drug, but it recaptured Wall Street's good graces by looking at its data again and deciding to shoot for FDA approval after all.

Reality check: Alzheimer's affects almost 6 million Americans, and those patients and their families have desperately sought an effective treatment. But independent experts have not reviewed Biogen's data, and the industry isn't exactly on good footing right now when it comes to being forthright about its data.

What they're saying: Many stock traders are skeptical of Biogen's new Alzheimer's claims, Stat reported.

  • One of the two large clinical trials still failed.
  • Everything depends on whether patients actually improved their cognitive functions on higher doses of the drug, called aducanumab.

Yes, but: That skepticism doesn't mean the drug won't get FDA approval.

  • The FDA has shown a willingness recently to approve drugs, sometimes controversially, if they treat conditions with a dearth of options and if companies agree to conduct post hoc studies.

The big picture: The public should always be skeptical of drug company data and claims — especially with this drug, and in the industry's current state.

  • Any drug treating Alzheimer's would greatly alter society, both clinically and financially, so there's a lot of pressure to get something like this right.
  • There's also a lot of pressure to make sure drug companies aren't manipulating the results. Novartis recently got approval for Zolgensma, the world's most expensive drug, but the FDA later found out the company's data was faulty — and Novartis knew about it.

Go deeper: The outlook for Alzheimer's research keeps getting bleaker

Go deeper

5 mins ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.