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Biogen's Q2 Earnings Surpass Expectations, Tecfidera Shines

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Biogen Idec (BIIB - Free Report) reported second quarter 2014 earnings per share of $3.48 (including the impact of stock-based compensation expense), way above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.80 and the year-ago earnings of $2.29 per share.

While oral multiple sclerosis (MS) drug, Tecfidera, contributed significantly to revenues, the company also benefited from the approval of an agreement with the Italian National Medicines Agency (AIFA) relating to Tysabri sales in Italy from Feb 2013 through Mar 2014. The approval of this agreement boosted the bottom line by 15 cents.

Second quarter 2014 revenues increased 40% to $2.4 billion, well above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.1 billion.

Including one-time items, second quarter 2014 earnings increased 46% to $3.01 per share.



The Quarter in Detail

Second quarter Tysabri revenues increased 37.9% to $533 million from the year-ago period. Biogen is now booking 100% of Tysabri revenues following its acquisition of Elan’s rights in Tysabri. Ex-U.S. revenues included deferred revenues of $54 million related to the agreement with AIFA.

Meanwhile, Avonex, Biogen’s lead MS product, posted second quarter revenues of $774 million, down marginally (0.8%) from the year-ago period.

Rituxan and Gazyva related revenues were $303 million in the second quarter.

Tecfidera, the latest offering from Biogen’s MS portfolio, continues to impress with sales coming in at $700 million – this included U.S. sales of $585 million and EU sales of $115 million. Second quarter Tecfidera sales were well above first quarter sales of $506 million. Tecfidera is the leading oral MS therapy in the U.S. Biogen had launched Tecfidera in early Apr 2013 in the U.S.

Alprolix, Biogen’s recently launched hemophilia treatment, recorded revenues of $10.4 million.

Ups View Again

Biogen upped its guidance for 2014 again. The company now expects earnings in the range of $12.90 - $13.10 per share on revenue growth of 38% - 41%. Earlier, Biogen had guided towards earnings of $11.35 - $11.45 per share on revenue growth of 26% - 28%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate of $11.69 per share is below the company’s guidance range. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenue growth is also below the guidance range at 27.8%.

The significantly higher guidance reflects the continued strong performance of Tecfidera and the positive impact of the AIFA agreement.

The company expects to spend 20% - 21% of total revenues (old guidance: 20% - 22%) on R&D. SG&A guidance remains unchanged at 22% - 23% of total revenues.

Our Take

Biogen's second quarter results were way above expectations. Shares were up in pre-market trading on the strong second quarter results and impressive guidance.

We remain impressed with Tecfidera’s performance. Tecfidera continues to perform well in the U.S. and is off to a strong start in the EU where it was launched recently.

Biogen remains poised for strong growth. The company continues to progress with its pipeline – it has already received approval for two hemophilia products, Eloctate and Alprolix, and could see another MS candidate, Plegridy, gain FDA approval this year.

Biogen is a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock. Some better-ranked stocks in the biotech sector include BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (BMRN - Free Report) and The Medicines Company (MDCO - Free Report) – both are Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stocks. Meanwhile, Celgene Corp. (CELG - Free Report) , a Zacks Rank #2 stock also looks good.

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