Sales Jump at Biogen Idec

Quarterly earnings rise sharply.
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Drugmaker

Biogen Idec

(BIIB) - Get Report

reported higher-than-expected quarterly revenue thanks to strong sales of its drugs Avonex and Rituxan.

The company earned $156.6 million, or 45 cents a share, in the third quarter. Last year, Biogen had a profit of $27.2 million, or 8 cents a share. Excluding merger and acquisition charges, as well as costs of 3 cents a share for expensing stock options, Biogen earned 60 cents a share.

Revenue reached $703 million, up 18% from the year-ago period. Analysts were expecting a top line of $681.3 million. Results were driven by sales of its multiple sclerosis drug Avonex, which were up 19% to $445 million, and revenue from the company's joint venture with

Genentech

(DNA)

for Rituxan, whose sales advanced 12% to $204 million.

Biogen Idec CEO James Mullen also said that returning the MS drug Tysabri to the market "was a remarkable achievement, and we expect this will enhance our neurology franchise and begin to accelerate top-line growth over the coming quarters."

The company sells Tysabri with Ireland's

Elan

(ELN)

.

Tysabri was pulled last year after the drug was linked to two cases of a rare and sometimes deadly brain disease when it was used in combination with Avonex. After a lengthy investigation by the Food and Drug Administration and the implementation of extensive safety and monitoring procedures, the drug was reapproved in June.