Biotechnology giant

Biogen

said today it will meet earnings estimates provided in January for its first quarter and full-year 2001, despite a steep drop in royalty revenue.

Biogen says it will earn between 45 cents and 46 cents in the first quarter. That is one cent lower than consensus estimates of 47 cents, according to

Thomson Financial/First Call

.

Full-year 2001 earnings will range from $1.90 to slightly above, the company said. Consensus estimates call for the company to earn $1.93.

Biogen did not offer updated revenue guidance today, but it did say royalty revenue would be in the range of $85 million to $95 million, about half of last year's $165 million total. The company's royalty revenue is falling because of patent expirations and an ongoing legal tussle over royalty payments with drugmaker

Schering-Plough

(SGP)

.

The company is expected to generate $229 million in revenue in the first quarter, and just over $1 billion for the full-year 2001, according to

Thomson Financial/First Call

.

Biogen's revenue is driven largely by sales of Avonex, its top-selling multiple sclerosis drug. Avonex has "orphan drug" status in the U.S., which blocks competition from similar multiple sclerosis drugs. But Biogen is facing increased competition in Europe and sales growth of the drug in the U.S. is slowing.

The company says that Avonex sales are expected to grow in the mid-teens percentage-wise during 2001.

Several other drugs are working their way through Biogen's development pipeline, including Amevive to treat psoriasis and Antegren for Crohn's disease. Final testing data for Amevive is expected later this year.

Shares in Biogen closed Tuesday up 75 cents, or 1.2%, to $65.06. Shares fell to $63.69 in after-hours trading on

Instinet

.