Uptake for Aduhelm, the newest approved drug for Alzheimer’s disease, remained slow over the summer, and sales could be minimal through the end of the year, drugmaker Biogen Inc. BIIB -0.59% said Wednesday.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based pharmaceutical company said its revenue from Aduhelm was $300,000 from July through September, the first full quarter since its approval. That brought total sales for the drug this year to $2 million. Analysts had been expecting sales of Aduhelm to reach $12 million in the quarter, according to FactSet.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Aduhelm in June, making it the first drug U.S. regulators have approved to treat the neurological disease in almost two decades. The decision has been controversial because of uncertainty about Aduhelm’s ability to help patients and its potential side effects, as well as its high cost.

The debate about the drug has held back its rollout in places. The Department of Veterans Affairs and several regional Blue Cross Blue Shield companies have excluded Aduhelm from their lists of regularly available treatments. Federal officials have yet to decide whether Medicare will pay for Aduhelm.

A few hospitals such as Cleveland Clinic and New York City’s Mount Sinai have said they won’t provide the drug.

“The potential uptake of Aduhelm in the U.S. is delayed, but we continue to believe in its long-term potential,” Chief Executive Michel Vounatsos said.

Biogen’s guidance for the rest of 2021 assumes minimal revenue from Aduhelm, with an increase after that, the company said.

Overall, Biogen’s sales declined to $2.78 billion in the third quarter, from $3.38 billion in the same three months of 2020. Most of the company’s revenue comes from drugs for multiple sclerosis and spinal muscular atrophy. Sales of those drugs mostly declined or were flat year over year.

After stripping out one-time items, Biogen’s profit was $4.77 a share, compared with $5.64 a share a year ago.

Wall Street analysts were expecting sales of $2.67 billion and adjusted earnings of $4.09 a share, according to FactSet.

The company said it expects full-year sales to reach $10.8 billion to $10.9 billion, with a per-share profit of $18.85 to $19.35. That was a rise from the forecast the company had offered in July.

Shares were up 2.3% in premarket trading.

Focus on Aduhelm

Write to Matt Grossman at [email protected]

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This post first appeared on wsj.com

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