UPDATE 1-Biogen's new MS drug tops sales expectations, earnings rise

Monday, 28 Oct 2013 | 8:07 AM ET

Oct 28 (Reuters) - Biogen Idec on Monday reported $286 million in third-quarter sales of its high-profile new multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera, providing fresh evidence that the medicine is off to an impressive launch and exceeding expectations.

The company also reported higher-than-expected third quarter earnings and raised its full year profit and revenue forecasts.

In just its second quarter on the market, Tecfidera sales easily topped Wall Street analysts' forecasts of about $205 million. Its sale of $192 million in its first quarter on the market had blown past Wall Street estimates of about $66 million.

Tecfidera is the third oral MS drug to market after Gilenya from Novartis and Sanofi's Aubagio, but is widely expected to dominate the class. According to IMS, which provides data on prescription medicines, it has already laid claim to being the leading oral drug for multiple sclerosis after just six months, Biogen said.

The U.S. biotechnology company said net profit for the quarter rose to $488 million, or $2.05 per share, from $398 million, or $1.67 per share, a year before.

Excluding items, Biogen had adjusted earnings of $2.35 per share. Analysts on average expected $2.10 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Biogen said it now expects 2013 earnings, excluding items, of $8.65 to $8.85, up from its prior forecast of $8.25 to $8.50 per share. It now sees full-year revenue growth of 23 percent to 25 percent. It had previously projected growth of 22 percent to 23 percent.

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