Biogen Profit Rises on Sales of Multiple Sclerosis Drugs

Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB), maker of the multiple sclerosis drugs Avonex, Tysabri and Tecfidera, said fourth-quarter profit rose 57 percent on higher sales.

Net income increased to $457.3 million, or $1.92 a share, from $292.1 million, or $1.23, a year earlier, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Biogen said today in a statement. Excluding one-time items, profit was $2.34 a share, beating the $2.27 average of 27 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Biogen received U.S. approval last year for its first pill for multiple sclerosis, Tecfidera, and is awaiting clearance by the Food and Drug Administration of three medicines this year for hemophilia and MS. Sales of Tecfidera in the quarter were $398 million, topping analysts’ average estimate of $346.5 million.

“A generally in-line quarter once one-time factors are accounted for, perhaps generating less buzz than recent beats, though guidance suggests commercial momentum should be solid into 2014 and we expect the focus to shift near-term to the pipeline,” Brian Abrahams, an analyst with Wells Fargo (WFC), wrote in a research note today. “We continue to believe shares fairly reflect the commercial and R&D risk/reward profile.”

Biogen forecast 2014 profit excluding certain items of $11 a share to $11.20 a share and revenue growth of 22 percent to 25 percent. Analysts had estimated earnings of $11.66 a share on sales growth of 21 percent, to $8.36 billion.

Biogen fell less than 1 percent to $305.46 at the close in New York. The shares have almost doubled in the past year.

Sales in the fourth-quarter rose 39 percent to $1.97 billion, helped primarily by Tecfidera and Tysabri. Revenue from Avonex, Biogen’s top-seller, was flat at $751 million. Tysabri sales rose 45 percent to $427 million, boosted by Biogen’s acquisition last year of complete rights to the product from partner Elan Corp.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meg Tirrell in New York at mtirrell@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net

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