Biogen Shares Fall on Weaker Tysabri Sales

Biogen Idec shares are falling after the company reported weaker-than-expected sales of its multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri and cut the drug's long-term sales outlook.
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Biogen Idec

(BIIB) - Get Report

shares fell Friday as the company reported weaker-than-expected sales of its multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri and cut the drug's long-term sales outlook.

Another Tysabri patient has also been diagnosed with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, or PML, a serious brain infection, the company disclosed.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based biotech firm reported a 3% increase in adjusted fourth-quarter earnings Friday to $274.3 million, or 93 cents a share, matching Wall Street's expectations, and said it expects 2009 adjusted earnings of $1.17 billion, or above $4 a share.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect 2009 adjusted earnings of $3.99 a share.

Biogen shares were falling 2.1% to $52.15 in recent trading.

Meanwhile, Biogen received notice from Icahn Partners for the nomination of four people to Biogen's board. The individuals are Alexander Denner, Richard Mulligan, Thomas Deuel and David Sidransky.In June 2008, investor Carl Icahn lost his battle to change the makeup of Biogen's board when his nominees weren't elected to the board. Icahn and his affiliates own about 6% of Biogen shares.

Worldwide sales of the multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri totaled $218 million in the fourth quarter, up from $129 million in sales during the year-ago period but far worse than analysts' forecasts of $249 million.

Biogen shares Tysabri revenue with Irish drug maker

Elan

(ELN)

. On the Biogen conference call this morning, CEO Jim Mullen said it would be difficult for the company to achieve its previously stated goal of having 100,000 patients on Tysabri by the end of 2010.

Tysabri's growth has been pinched by PML concerns. The latest case, reported today, brings to five the number of patients diagnosed with the serious brain infection since the drug was relaunched in 2006.

Biogen said net income in the fourth quarter totaled $207.7 million, or 70 cents a share, compared with net income of $201 million, or 67 cents a share, in the year-earlier period.

Fourth-quarter revenue rose to $1.07 billion from $893.3 billion, just shy of the consensus forecast of $1.08 billion.

For 2009, the Biogen said it expects revenue growth in the high-single digits. In 2008 revenue was $4.1 billion. The current consensus is for 2009 revenue of $4.47 billion.

In early January, Biogen said that the growth rate of new patients taking the multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri slowed in the fourth quarter to 6%, down from 11% in the third quarter, due in large part to reports of new cases of Tysabri patients coming down with PML.

Fourth-quarter sales of the multiple sclerosis drug Avonex rose 11% to $565.8 million, whiles sale of the cancer drug Rituxan, co-marketed by

Genentech

(DNA)

Idec (DNA), totaled $303 million in the quarter, up 20% year over year.

Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet.com. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet.com. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback;

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