Biogen Profit Rises With Tecfidera Sales Boost

Biogen Idec Inc., a maker of multiple sclerosis drugs, reported a 27 percent jump in second-quarter profit and raised its 2013 forecast after its recently approved pill Tecfidera helped boost sales.

Net income climbed to $490.7 million, or $2.06 a share, from $386.8 million, or $1.61, a year earlier, Weston, Massachusetts-based Biogen said today in a statement. Earnings, excluding one-time items, of $2.30 a share beat by 36 cents the average of 27 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Revenue from MS pill Tecfidera was $192 million, more than double the analysts’ average $69.4 million estimate. The medicine, cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration March 27, may draw more than $3.5 billion in annual revenue by 2017, analysts’ project. Biogen said about $82 million of the Tecfidera revenue represents building up of inventory, while $110 million was generated by underlying patient demand.

“Holy mother of all launches,” Mark Schoenebaum, an analyst with ISI Group, wrote today in a report to clients, noting the patient “demand” revenue of $110 million alone is “above the high end of buy-side expectations for the total reported number.”

Biogen rose less than 1 percent to $227.48 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 55 percent this year.

Tysabri Effect

Total revenue climbed 21 percent to $1.72 billion, topping analysts’ average $1.62 billion estimate. Tysabri, an infusion for MS that Biogen bought full control of from partner Elan Corp. earlier this year, saw sales increase 38 percent to $387 million. Revenue from the drug was affected by some patients switching to Tecfidera, Schoenebaum said.

Biogen forecast revenue growth of 22 percent to 23 percent this year, and said it expected adjusted earnings of $8.25 to $8.50 a share. The company previously projected sales growth of as much as 18 percent and profit of $7.80 to $7.90.

Revenue from Avonex, an injectible MS drug that is Biogen’s top-seller, rose 1.6 percent to $774 million in the quarter.

Tecfidera is Biogen’s first oral offering for MS, an autoimmune disease that affects about 2.1 million people worldwide. The company is awaiting regulatory approval of other drugs for MS and hemophilia, and has additional medicines for MS and diseases such as spinal muscular atrophy and Alzheimer’s in earlier stages of development.

Biogen is continuing to look for early-stage compounds to add to its pipeline, Chief Financial Officer Paul Clancy said today in a telephone interview. The company is interested in acquisitions and licensing deals, he said.

“The ingredients for success there are being really good technology pickers of the asset,” Clancy said. “If they’re great ideas, we will fund them.”