Biogen Drops as Profit Disappoints Amid Slow Tecfidera Sales

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Biogen Inc., the maker of multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera, fell the most in more than a year after reporting profit that trailed analysts’ estimates as sales of its top drug slowed in the U.S. and in Germany.

Earnings excluding one-time items rose to $3.82 a share from $2.47 a year earlier. Analysts had forecast $3.88 on average, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue increased 20 percent to $2.6 billion, the company said Friday in a statement. Analysts had predicted $2.64 billion.

Sales of Tecfidera, Biogen’s best-selling drug, climbed to $825 million, missing analysts’ average estimate of $927 million as the company increased discounts and allowances. Sales of Tecfidera have been “flattish” for the past few months for a number of reasons, according to RBC Capital Markets analyst Michael Yee, who in an April 12 note listed a single patient death and the introduction of another Biogen drug, Plegridy, as factors slowing sales.

The company won’t update its annual forecast until it determines the outlook for Tecfidera, Biogen said on a conference call Friday. In January, the company said 2015 adjusted earnings per share would be $16.60 to $17 and revenue would rise 14 percent to 16 percent from the previous year.

Biogen shares tumbled 6.6 percent to $401.71 at the close in New York, for the biggest one-day decline since March 21, 2014. Friday’s drop pared its gain for the year to 18 percent, while the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index has added 20 percent.

Multiple Sclerosis

Meanwhile, Biogen’s early pipeline has excited investors. An experimental multiple sclerosis drug, anti-Lingo-1, showed promise in repairing damaged eye nerves in a midstage trial, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company said in January. The antibody may spur regrowth of myelin, a fatty substance coating nerve fibers that is damaged in multiple sclerosis patients.

Shareholders also are enthusiastic about Biogen’s experimental drug for Alzheimer’s, which reduced cognitive decline in a small early-stage trial. The drug, BIIB037, has now moved into a final-stage trial.

First-quarter net income rose 71 percent to $823 million.

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