Biogen Idec’s (BIIB - Analyst Report) shares were up slightly (0.62%) on the FDA approval of multiple sclerosis (MS) product, Plegridy (peginterferon beta-1a). The FDA approved Plegridy for the treatment of people with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (RMS).
Plegridy Pen, a ready-to-use autoinjector, or a prefilled syringe can be used to administer Plegridy subcutaneously. Plegridy’s less frequent dosing schedule (once every two weeks) could help it gain share from other beta interferon treatments that are currently available.
Meanwhile, data on Plegridy showed that it significantly reduced annualized relapse rate at one year by 36% compared to placebo. The risk of 12-week confirmed disability progression was down by 38% in patients on Plegridy compared to placebo. Plegridy also significantly reduced the number of new gadolinium-enhancing lesions (by 86%) and reduced new or newly enlarging T2-hyperintense lesions (67%) compared to placebo
With Plegridy’s approval, Biogen has strengthened its MS portfolio further. Biogen’s MS portfolio consists of drugs like Avonex, Tysabri and Tecfidera.
Tecfidera’s performance has been impressive since launch and it holds a leading position in the oral MS market and could very soon be the leading MS treatment in the U.S. We expect the drug to do well in the EU also where it was launched in Feb 2014.
Biogen has another MS candidate in its pipeline – daclizumab. Biogen and partner AbbVie (ABBV - Analyst Report) reported positive top-line results on daclizumab and are looking to file for approval.
Biogen is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock. Some better-ranked stocks in the biotech sector include Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD - Analyst Report) and Celgene Corporation (CELG - Analyst Report). While Gilead is a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stock, Celgene is a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock.