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Biogen Idec Keeps Forecast

First-quarter earnings miss estimates.

Biogen Idec's

(BIIB) - Get Biogen Inc. Report

adjusted first-quarter profit increased 7% from a year ago, but came in just shy of analysts' expectations.

The Cambridge, Mass., biotechnology company reported earnings of 59 cents a share, before items, for the quarter ended March 31, up from 55 cents a share last year. However, analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had a consensus target of 61 cents a share.

After all items were counted, Biogen earned $132 million, or 38 cents a share, compared with $123 million and 36 cents a share a year earlier.

First-quarter revenue rose to $716 million, a 17% increase over $611 million in the year-ago period. The improvement was driven primarily by a 14% advance in sales of multiple sclerosis treatment Avonex to $449 million and a 13% surge in revenue from Rituxan, a therapy for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis, to $207 million.

Biogen has a joint-sales arrangement with



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for Rituxan.

The company saw quarterly revenue of $30 million related to Tysabri, a treatment for MS that's marketed with



, and $6 million from other products.

Looking ahead, Biogen is sticking with its guidance that this year's earnings will be $2.50 to $2.65 a share, excluding various items. On the same basis, analysts expect earnings of $2.56 a share for the year.

Total revenue should grow at a "mid-teens" percent from 2006, Biogen said.

"Overall, the first-quarter results met our expectations," said James Mullen, Biogen Idec's chief executive, in a press release Wednesday. "Especially notable are the corporate market share gains in the multiple sclerosis market and the steady growth of Tysabri sales."

Shares of Biogen rose 31 cents, or 0.7%, to $47.88.