* Biogen Q4 non-GAAP EPS $1.42/shr vs $1.23 cents/shr view
* Revenue up 8 percent to $1.22 billion
* Tysabri sales up 12 percent at $333 million
* Sees 2011 non-GAAP EPS to be above $5.70/shr
* Shares rise 2.2 percent in midmorning trading
(Adds company comment, updates share price)
By Toni Clarke
BOSTON, Feb 1 Biogen Idec Inc (BIIB.O) reported
fourth-quarter results that topped expectations and issued a
better-than-expected 2011 forecast on Tuesday, sending the
company's shares up more than 2 percent.
The Weston, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company said
net profit fell 21 percent to $240 million, or 99 cents a share
due to restructuring, but sales of its multiple sclerosis drug
Tysabri rose a higher-than-expected 12 percent to $333
Revenue rose 8 percent to $1.22 billion, driven mainly by
sales of Tysabri, which Biogen sells in partnership with Irish
drugmaker Elan Corp Plc ELN.I.
Excluding one-time items, Biogen earned $1.42 a share.
Analysts on average expected the company to earn $1.23 a share
on revenue of $1.17 billion, according to Thomson Reuters
I/B/E/S. The results were helped by a lower tax rate.
Sales of the company's multiple sclerosis drug Avonex rose
10 percent to $654 million, topping analyst expectations for
sales of $640 million.
Sales of Avonex have been helped by repeated price
increases, something that the company has said cannot continue
"Our goal is to put U.S. Avonex market share back on a
growth trajectory," said Doug Williams, the company's new head
of research and development, on a conference call with
Biogen said it expects 2011 earnings excluding one-time
items to top $5.70 a share, and 2011 revenue growth to be
between flat and the low single digits.
Analysts on average are expecting 2011 earnings excluding
items of $5.63 per share and revenue of $4.68 billion.
Biogen is battling to maintain market share as new
competitors enter the market. In September, Swiss drugmaker
Novartis AG NOVN.VX introduced Gilenya, the first multiple
sclerosis pill. Drugs like Avonex and Tysabri must be injected
Novartis recently reported that in the first quarter of the
drug's launch in the United States, 2,000 patients were on the
drug at the end of 2010.
The company said about 50 percent of Gilenya patients had
been treated with a different MS drug within the prior 12
months and of these, 80-85 percent switched from an injectable
drug, including Avonex, and 10-15 percent switched from
Tysabri, which is infused.
"We continue to believe that switching from Tysabri to
Gilenya will be modest," said Thomas Wei, an analyst at
Jefferies & Company, in a recent research note
Biogen is working on its own oral MS drug, known as BG-12,
and expects to report data from two late-stage trials later
Tysabri was temporarily withdrawn from the market in 2005
after being linked to a potentially deadly brain disorder known
as progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, or PML. Widely
considered the most effective drug on the market, it was
brought back with stricter safety warnings in 2006.
The company said said it estimates that about at the end of
December about 56,600 patients were taking Tysabri worldwide,
an increase of 1,700 patients in the fourth quarter and 8,200
As of Jan. 7, the overall incidence of PML was 1.06 per
1,000 patients and the total number of cases associated with
the drug is 85. Of those, 16 patients have died, while 69 are
still alive with varying degrees of disability.
Biogen's shares rose 2.2 percent to $66.85 in morning
trading on Nasdaq.
(Reporting by Toni Clarke, editing by Maureen Bavdek, Dave