$BIIB slashes 2015 forecast

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Biogen slashes 2015 forecast as MS drug sales disappoint

Biogen Idec CEO George Scangos speaks to a Reuters reporter at the company’s headquarters in Weston, Massachusetts March 2, 201 REUTERS/Brian Snyder

(Reuters) – Biogen Inc (BIIB.O) slashed its full-year profit and revenue forecasts as sales of its roster of multiple sclerosis drugs failed to live up to Wall Street’s expectations, sending the drugmaker’s shares down 12 percent in premarket trading.

Sales of Biogen’s flagship oral multiple sclerosis (MS) drug, Tecfidera, rose less than analysts expected for the second quarter in a row, hurt by higher discounting and reports of serious brain infections linked to the drug, among others.

Tecfidera’s sales were $833.3 million in the second quarter ended June 30, well below Wall Street’s estimate of about $933 million, according to Evercore ISI.

Sales of the drugmaker’s injectable MS drug Tysabri and interferon-based MS drug Avonex fell more than analysts expected, while sales of its new longer-lasting Plegridy also missed estimates.

The weak sales, especially those of Tecfidera, forced the company to chop its full-year sales growth forecast to 6-8 percent from 14-16 percent, in line with total sales growth in the latest quarter.

Overall, Biogen’s second-quarter sales rose a less-than-expected 7 percent to $2.59 billion, missing analysts’ average estimate of $2.71 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“Bottom line, this appears to be an ugly quarter”, J.P. Morgan’s Cory Kasimov wrote in a note.

Net profit attributable to Biogen rose 30 percent to $927.3 million, or $3.93 per share. Excluding items, it earned $4.22 per share, beating estimates of $4.10.

The U.S. biotechnology company cut its full-year adjusted profit forecast to $15.50-$15.95 per share from $16.60-$17.

Tysabri second-quarter sales fell to $463.1 million compared with estimates of $505 million. Biogen said last week it would continue evaluating Tysabri as a treatment for stroke, even though the drug failed a mid-stage study for the indication.

Avonex and Plegridy together raked in sales of $690 million in the quarter, far below expectations of about $767 million.

Biogen’s stock slumped 12.4 percent to $337.21 in premarket trading on Friday.

The stock hit a record high of $480.18 in March when tests showed Biogen’s experimental Alzeihmer’s drug, aducanumab, significantly slowed mental decline – a potential breakthrough in treating the incurable disease.

But that enthusiasm was tempered last Wednesday, when researchers concluded that a different dose of the drug failed to significantly slow mental decline.

(Reporting by Natalie Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)

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