Biogen BIIB and partner AbbVie Inc. ABBV announced that the European Medicines Agency has accepted for review their marketing application for multiple sclerosis (MS) candidate, Zinbryta (daclizumab). The companies are looking to get Zinbryta approved for the treatment of relapsing forms of MS in the EU.
According to the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, nearly 400,000 individuals in the U.S. and 2.5 million people across the world suffer from MS.
We note that Biogen holds a strong position in the MS market with drugs like Avonex, Tysabri and Tecfidera in its portfolio. Late last year, the company launched another MS drug, Plegridy, for the treatment of people with relapsing forms of MS. Biogen’s MS product sales were approximately $8 billion in 2014.
The MS market represents significant commercial potential and companies like Alkermes plc ALKS are looking to bring new treatments to market.
Meanwhile, Biogen has a few pipeline events lined up this year. The company expects to report data on candidates like neublastin (neuropathic pain; phase II). The company also expects to report data on label expansion studies of Tysabri, which is being developed for both secondary progressive MS (phase III) and acute ischemic stroke (phase II). In the meantime, Biogen intends to file a marketing application for its hemophilia B drug, Alprolix, in the EU this year.
We are encouraged by Biogen’s effort to strengthen its position in the MS market and expect investor focus to remain on further company updates.
Biogen is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock. A better-ranked stock in the health care sector is Cambrex Corp. CBM, sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy)