Biogen Second-Quarter Profit Rises as Avonex Sales Increase

Biogen Reports Second-Quarter Profit Rises, Boosts Forecast
Biogen Idec Inc. has been increasing sales of Avonex and Tysabri while developing new medicines to introduce to the market. Source: Biogen Inc. via Bloomberg

Biogen Idec Inc., the third-largest U.S. biotechnology company, reported profit that topped analysts’ estimates as sales increased from its top-selling multiple sclerosis medicine Avonex and cancer therapy Rituxan.

Second-quarter net income surged 34 percent to $386.8 million, or $1.61 a share, from $288 million, or $1.18, a year earlier, the Weston, Massachusetts-based company said today in a statement. Earnings excluding some items of $1.82 topped by 26 cents the average of 21 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue beat estimates by about $90 million.

Biogen said profit this year is expected to be more than $6.20 a share, 5 cents higher than its May 1 forecast. The company has been increasing sales of Avonex, Rituxan and Tysabri, another MS therapy, while developing new medicines to introduce to the market.

“The quarter looks terrific, probably one of the stronger quarters you’ll see in this earnings season,” Eric Schmidt, an analyst with Cowen & Co., said in a telephone interview today. “It’s a blowout quarter, driven by the top line.”

Biogen rose less than 1 percent to $139.48 at 4 p.m. New York time. The shares have gained 27 percent this year.

Sales Jump

Revenue in the quarter rose 18 percent to $1.42 billion, beating analysts’ average estimate of $1.33 billion. Sales of Avonex climbed 16 percent to $762 million, while Rituxan increased 31 percent to $285 million. Tysabri revenue was little changed at $280 million, Biogen said.

The company’s first pill for MS, BG-12, is being weighed for approval by regulators in the U.S. and Europe, and late-stage data are expected this year on experimental medicines being developed for Lou Gehrig’s disease and hemophilia.

“In the next six months, we go into a really interesting period for Biogen Idec where the pre-launch activity for these late-stage programs intensifies,” Paul Clancy, Biogen’s chief financial officer, said in a telephone interview today. “We’re in this unique situation where the company is blessed with four pivotal readouts over the next nine months, and we’re doing commercial preparations.”


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