Biogen Wins FDA Approval of MS Pill

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. ( TheStreet) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new multiple sclerosis pill from Biogen Idec ( BIIB) on Wednesday -- a decision widely expected by investors.

Biogen shares rose 3% to $182.83 following the FDA's announcement that it had approved the drug, which will be sold under the brand name Tecfidera.

Tecfidera is the third MS pill to be approved in the U.S. following Novartis' ( NVS) Gilenya and Sanofi's ( SNY) Aubagio, but Tecfidera sales are expected to top them all and even compete against the long-approved injectable therapies.

Analysts, on average, are forecasting Tecfidera sales to reach $3.25 billion in 2017, according to Bloomberg.

"Looking forward, based on physician feedback... and our prior survey work, we expect a solid launch of Tecfidera and our sense is that there is a bolus of patients in the queue ready to transition to therapy at high volume MS centers. However, we believe that Street expectations likely already account for this and then some," said J.P. Morgan biotech analyst Geoff Meacham, in a note to clients Wednesday afternoon.

ISI Group analyst Mark Schoenebaum says investors are expecting Biogen to price Tecfidera at $51,000 and generate $291 million in 2013 U.S. sales.

Last Friday, Tecfidera also won a recommendation for approval from European regulators.

-- Reported by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.

Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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