Biogen Increases Full-Year Forecast After Profit Surges

Biogen Idec Inc., the fourth-largest U.S. biotechnology company by market value, raised its full-year forecast after first-quarter net income increased on a tax benefit.

Full-year earnings excluding one-time items will be $7.80 to $7.90 a share, the Weston, Massachusetts-based company said today in a statement. Analysts had anticipated $7.86, according to the average of 29 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

First-quarter earnings excluding items were $1.97 a share, beating the average analysts’ estimate by 34 cents, as a manufacturing tax credit of $33 million helped boost the results by 17 cents. Revenue rose 9.5 percent to $1.42 billion, led by higher sales of the drugs Avonex and Tysabri, both for multiple sclerosis.

“All major product lines were roughly in-line globally and EPS was inflated by a one-time 17 cent tax benefit” and by a deal Biogen made to gain full control of Tysabri from partner Elan Corp., Mark Schoenebaum, an analyst with ISI Group, wrote in a note to clients today. “Biogen just reported a good quarter, but the headline ‘beat’ is a bit misleading.”

Biogen increased 4.8 percent to $216 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 48 percent this year, rising to a record after Biogen gained U.S. approval for Tecfidera, its first pill for the central nervous system disease, on March 27.

Analysts estimate that Tecfidera may contribute an additional $3.4 billion in sales in 2017.

“We have been encouraged by early signs of physician and patient interest in this product,” Tony Kingsley, Biogen’s head of commercial operations, said of Tecfidera on a conference call today. “U.S. physician awareness of Tecfidera is high and perceptions are strong.”

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