Biogen Boosts 2013 Forecast as Tecfidera Tops Estimates

Biogen Idec Inc., the maker of multiple sclerosis drugs Avonex, Tysabri and Tecfidera, boosted its 2013 forecast after Tecfidera sales topped analysts’ third-quarter estimates.

Revenue this year will grow by 23 percent to 25 percent, with adjusted earnings of $8.65 to $8.85 a share, the Weston, Massachusetts-based drugmaker said today in a statement. The company previously had projected revenue gaining 22 percent to 23 percent and adjusted earnings of $8.25 to $8.50 a share.

Investors are focused on Biogen’s first pill for MS, Tecfidera, which was cleared for sale by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in March. Tecfidera sales were $286.4 million, beating analysts’ average $217.2 million estimate. The medicine more than doubled the analysts’ estimate last quarter, and they expect it to draw $3.5 billion in annual revenue by 2016.

“Tecfidera crushed it,” Mark Schoenebaum, an analyst with ISI Group, wrote in a note to clients today. “This is really, truly, incredible.’”

Biogen gained less than 1 percent to $254.43 at the close in New York. The shares gained 74 percent this year.

The company told analysts and investors on a conference call today that it faces a potential delay in approval of Eloctate, its experimental drug for hemophilia. The potential delay relates to validating its manufacturing process, not concerns over safety or efficacy, Chief Executive Officer George Scangos said on the call.

“It is a bit premature to discuss this development since it so recent and evolving and, unfortunately, we cannot be more precise about the matter or timing at this time,” Scangos said.

Revenue Gain

Third-quarter revenue rose 32 percent to $1.83 billion, helped by a 46 percent boost to $401 million from Tysabri, an infused medicine used for more severe cases of the disease. Revenue from Avonex, an injected drug that is Biogen’s top seller, fell less than 1 percent to $733.4 million, “likely due to Tecfidera competition,” Schoenebaum wrote.

Net income increased 22 percent to $487.6 million, or $2.05 a share, from $398.4 million, or $1.67, in the period a year earlier, Biogen said. Adjusted for one-time items, earnings were $2.35 a share, beating the average of $2.09 from 23 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.