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Buoyed by sales of its flagship multiple sclerosis drug,



reported earnings Tuesday that slightly exceeded Wall Street's expectations.

For the second quarter ended June 30, the Cambridge, Mass.-based bio-pharmaceutical company earned $63.4 million, or 43 cents a diluted share, compared with $53.6 million, or 34 cents a diluted share in the second quarter of 1999.

Analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

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had predicted an average of 42 cents a diluted share. The analysts did not include one-time financial events in their estimates, a First Call researcher said.

Revenue totaled $230.5 million, compared with $189 million in the comparable 1999 quarter. Total sales of the company's AVONEX multiple sclerosis drug were $190 million, up from $145.9 million in the comparable quarter. The company said 90,000 patient currently use the medication.

"The market for MS treatments continues to expand," said James C. Mullen, the company's chief executive, in a statement. "There is a very clear message behind the continuing strength of this drug: AVONEX is the best choice for people with MS who want to maintain their daily functioning."

The company also gained around $8.7 million, or 4 cents a diluted share, from sales of certain securities. A spokeswoman for Biogen, Kathryn R. Bloom, declined to describe those securities.

Including the one-time gains, earnings were $72 million, or 47 cents a diluted share. In the comparable quarter last year, net income included a one-time noncash charge of $15.3 million. Including that, earnings in the second quarter of 1999 were $53.6 million, or 34 cents a diluted share.

The company reported earnings after the markets had closed. Biogen shares, which had closed at 70, down 1/16 or 0.09%, gained 1 1/16 to 71 7/16 in after-hours trading, according to