Biogen Idec Raises Its Forecast Following Strong MS Drug Sales

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If its third-quarter results are any indiciation, then biopharmaceutical giant Biogen Idec means business when it comes to treating multiple sclerosis.

For the quarter, Biogen Idec delivered a whopping 32% increase in sales to $1.8 billion on adjusted earnings of $2.35 per share, which is a 23% improvement over the previous year. Comparatively speaking, Wall Street consensus estimates called for just $1.78 billion in revenue and $2.11 in EPS.

There were three primary growth drivers behind Biogen Idec's sales surge.

First, there's Tecfidera, the company's first-line therapy for treating relapsing multiple sclerosis, or MS, that was approved in late March. During the third quarter Tecfidera sales soared to $284 million -- a 47.9% sequential increase from the second-quarter -- and it became the leading MS treatment prescribed in the United States, according to IMS. At this pace Tecfidera will become a blockbuster drug within its first 12 months on the market.

Second, Biogen Idec saw the benefits of capturing 100% of Tysabri's revenue stream, which it gained when it purchased Elan's stake in Tysabri for $3.25 billion back in early February. Therefore, even with Tysabri's global in-market sales remaining flat, Biogen saw its share of revenue from Tysabri jump 46% to $401 million.

Finally, cancer drug Rituxan, from which it receives a percentage of sales in conjunction with Roche's Genentech, saw sales improve modestly by 5% to $303 million.

If there was one negative to nitpick it was that sales of its current best-selling MS drug, Avonex, actually fell 0.4% year-over-year to $733 million. However, a more likely explanation for this drop is the uptick in sales of Tecfidera, so it's hardly a huge hit for Biogen.

To add the icing on the cake, Biogen upped its full-year forecast and is now calling for revenue growth of 23% to 25% and adjusted EPS in the range of $8.65 to $8.85.


The article Biogen Idec Raises Its Forecast Following Strong MS Drug Sales originally appeared on

Fool contributor  Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle  @TMFUltraLong . Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days . We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights  makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

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