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Biogen Idec Revenue Surges

The company has high hopes for its new multiple sclerosis treatment Antegren.

Biogen Idec

(BIIB) - Get Biogen Inc. Report

said second-quarter revenue quadrupled, thanks to strong sales growth for two key drugs.

The company earned $827,000, or zero cents per share, vs. $28.8 million, or 17 cents a share, a year go. On an adjusted non-GAAP basis, Biogen Idec's net income rose 20% to $122 million, or 34 cents a share, vs. $102 million, or 29 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The difference between the two yardsticks is primarily a result of $173 million in non-cash merger-related accounting impacts. The companies agreed to merge last November.

Revenue rose to $539 million vs. the prior year's $124 million.

The consensus forecast -- despite the complications of the merger's impact -- was for net income of $117 million, or 32 cents a share, on revenue of $529 million.

Wall Street's focus on Biogen Idec recently has been dominated by the prospects for its new multiple sclerosis drug, Antegren, which the company is developing with Irish drugmaker



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In February, the two companies stunned investors by announcing they would seek U.S. regulatory approval a year ahead of schedule after one year of phase III trials produced surprisingly positive test results. The companies, however, also said they would continue the testing program despite the decision to apply for early FDA approval.

Indeed, Biogen Idec Tuesday said the FDA granted Antegren priority review status. As a result, the companies anticipate action six months from the submission date rather than the 10 months for a standard review. On May 25, 2004, the companies announced they had previously submitted the application. The FDA made its decision in June.

"With the timeline of Antegren accelerated by more than a year in MS, much of the energy of the organization is focused on preparing for launches in the U.S. and Europe," Biogen Idec said Wednesday.

Second-quarter results were driven by sales of two key drugs. Sales of Avonex, another MS treatment, rose 21% to $347 million. Biogen Idec's share of sales of the cancer treatment Rituxan, under its joint venture with



, increased 28% to $151 million.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease of the central nervous system that affects approximately 400,000 people in North America and approximately 1 million people worldwide, the majority of whom are women, according to the companies. Symptoms include vision problems, loss of balance, numbness, difficulty walking and paralysis.

Biogen shares closed at $56.31 Tuesday. Elan's rose 40 cents, or 2%, to $20.27 in premarket trading.