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Slow Start

Sales of Biogen's newly approved drug for Alzheimer's disease, Aduhelm, have been low, the Wall Street Journal reports.

According to Biogen, Aduhelm revenue for July through September totaled $300,000. The Journal adds that the total sales of the drug for the year was $2 million, though analysts had expected it to reach $12 million during the quarter.

The US Food and Drug Administration's approval of aducanumab (Biogen's Aduhelm) in June was controversial. The approval under the agency's accelerated approval pathway came despite an advisory panel concluding that there was not enough data showing that the drug worked. The approval led advisory panel members to resign, and reports of "off-the-books" meetings between Biogen and FDA officials has also led acting FDA commissioner Janet Woodcock to call for an investigation of the approval process.

At the same time, a number of insurance companies have said they would not cover the drug and some medical centers said they would not administer it, with some saying that a clinical benefit has not been established.

"The potential uptake of Aduhelm in the US is delayed, but we continue to believe in its long-term potential," Michel Vounatsos, the Biogen CEO, says in a statement.

The Scan

Looking for Omicron

NPR reports that SARS-CoV-2 testing in the US has gotten better but also that some experts say more needs to be done to better track the Omicron variant.

Holmes Alleges Abuse

The Associated Press reports that Theranos' Elizabeth Holmes has testified at her wire fraud trial that her business and romantic partner abused her.

Bit More Diverse, But More to Do

While Black and Hispanic patients are more likely to participate in cancer clinical trials than previously, they are still underrepresented, according to US News & World Report.

PNAS Papers on Yeast Gene Silencing, Zika Virus Inhibition, Immunoglobulin Hypermutation

In PNAS this week: gene silencing in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, possible neuroprotective role for SHFL in a mouse model of Zika virus infection, and more.