Biogen's Earnings Pushed Ahead of Estimates by Avonex

Revenue from the multiple sclerosis drug was up 29% from a year ago.
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Updated from 9 a.m. EDT

Biogen

(BGEN)

said Tuesday that third-quarter earnings reached 46 cents a share, topping Wall Street estimates by 2 cents.

Third-quarter net income at the Cambridge, Mass.-based biotech firm was $70 million, up from $68 million in the year-ago period. Third-quarter revenue totaled $265 million, a 13% increase over the same period in 2000.

Analysts were expecting Biogen to report earnings of 44 cents a share, according to consensus estimates compiled by Thomson Financial/First Call. Third-quarter revenue matched analysts' expectations.

Biogen makes the bulk of its profits from the sale of the multiple sclerosis drug Avonex. Sales of the drug in the third quarter were $249 million, up 29% over the third-quarter 2000. In a statement issued before the market opened Tuesday, Biogen President and CEO Jim Mullen described international Avonex sales as "strong," although "there are some markets -- especially in Germany -- where we clearly have work to do."

Avonex and Betaseron, marketed by Berlex Laboratories, have a monopoly on the U.S. multiple sclerosis market because of the drugs' orphan drug status. Avonex's biggest competition in Europe comes from Rebiff, which is made by Swiss biotech firm

Serono

(SRA)

.

During the third quarter, Biogen paid an $8 million fee as part of a drug development collaboration with

Icos

(ICOS)

. Excluding the fee, Biogen reported third-quarter earnings of 49 cents a share.

Biogen closed Monday at $56.49 a share.