By Clifton Leaf and Sy Mukherjee
August 16, 2017

Good morning, readers! This is Sy.

Shares of biotech giant Biogen rose 2.5% in early Wednesday trading thanks to a boost from Goldman Sachs, which has added the company to its Americas Conviction List. That means that Goldman analysts believe Biogen has enough upside that they’re issuing their highest rating for its stock, a “Conviction Buy.”

Just what’s driving the enthusiasm? It’s all about Biogen’s audacious Alzheimer’s drug ambitions. The company’s experimental aducanumab “could be one of the first disease-modifying drugs to reach the market,” wrote the analysts, adding that if it does win regulatory clearance, it could reach peak sales of $12 billion considering the rapidly-growing burden of the disease.

The treatment has shown some early promise, but Alzheimer’s is a notoriously difficult (and from an R&D standpoint, heartbreaking) space. For instance, both Eli Lilly and Merck were forced to stop work after their own failures in Alzheimer’s treatment.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee


There’s climbing demand for virtual doctor visits. A recent survey by Parks Associates finds that Americans are increasingly interested in telemedicine and virtual doctor visits, especially following a hospital stay. In fact, “60% of U.S. broadband households are interested in remote care that would take place online or by telephone,” according to the report. Other interest areas for virtual care include ongoing treatment for chronic conditions.


America’s largest health insurer gets a new CEO. UnitedHealth, the largest health insurance company in the U.S., has named current company president David Wichmann as its next CEO. Wichmann will succeed Stephen Hemsley, a long-time UnitedHealth vet who will now be appointed as executive chairman. (Fortune)

Ending Obamacare insurer payments would hike premiums, balloon deficit. The Congressional Budget Office reports that, if President Trump actually carries through on his threats to end federal payments made to health insurers participating in Obamacare’s marketplaces, premiums would rise an additional 20% next year alone while also ballooning the deficit by nearly $200 billion over the next decade. (The Hill)


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