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Merrill Downgrades Biogen to 'Sell'

Merrill Lynch downgraded Biogen (BGEN) to sell from neutral.

Analyst Eric Ende says the company's stock price doesn't reflect the significant risks to revenue growth. He says Avnoex, the company's multiple sclerosis drug, may by hurt by the maturation of market and increased competition from Serono's Rebif, which is marketed by Pfizer. Ende sxpects a negative impact in the first quarter of 2003 as Pfizer gains traction with community-based neurologists.

Ende also thinks sales of Biogen's psoriasis drug Amevive may trail expectations. He says the company is likely to meet stiff competition from Enbrel, Remicade and Raptiva drugs. He notes the market for the drug is smaller than he thought, and says investors should take profits after the stock's recent run-up. Ende sees $1.56 2002 earnings per share.

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