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Biogen quarter-one results disappoint Wall Street as Tecfidera sales slow

Posted by: Admin | Posted on: April 24th, 2015 | 0 Comments

(Reuters) – Sales of Biogen Inc’s key oral multiple sclerosis (MS) drug Tecfidera fell on a sequential basis in the first quarter for the first time since its launch in 2013, sending the company’s stock down as much as 8 percent on Friday.

The U.S. biotechnology company posted lower-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue, saying Tecfidera’s “challenging” quarter was driven by an overall slowdown in the MS market, which has been weighed down by discounting, a single case of a serious brain infection, and the effect of a stronger dollar.

A number of patients are switching to the Biogen’s recently launched interferon-based MS drug Plegridy, which has also eaten into Tecfidera sales.

If Tecfidera’s U.S. trajectory does not improve, Biogen’s revenue growth may come in at the lower end of its previously issued forecast, Chief Financial Officer Paul Clancy said.

Tecfidera has seen robust sales since its launch, barring the third quarter of last year, when sales fell short of the average analyst estimate for the first time.

Sales of the drug rose to $824.9 million in the first quarter ended March 31 from $506 million a year earlier, but came in well below consensus projections of about $931 million, according to Deutsche Bank.

Despite sales of the blockbuster treatment falling about 10 percent from the prior quarter, Clancy said Tecfidera would still be the “largest contributor” to the company’s overall revenue growth.

Biogen’s market value has more than tripled in the last three years to more than $100 billion due to its lucrative roster of MS drugs.

The company’s attempts to diversify its pipeline received a boost last month when better-than-expected early-stage results for its drug to treat Alzheimer’s sent its stock to an all-time high.

The drug, aducanumab, is the first to significantly slow cognitive decline and reduce what is believed to be brain-destroying plaque in early-stage patients, rekindling hope of a cure for a disease that affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

“While we’re running out of patience with the lack of an obvious program emerging to anchor around, especially as the base business flounders, we’ll still give the team time to turn things around,” Piper Jaffrey’s Joshua Schimmer said, cutting his price target on the stock to $485 from $500.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company’s stock was down about 6 percent at $404.29 in morning trading on the Nasdaq.

(Editing by Simon Jennings)

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