Biogen Continues to Focus on Raising Tecfidera Sales in 3Q15


Oct. 26 2015, Published 3:48 p.m. ET

Multiple sclerosis drug franchise

In 3Q15, Tecfidera sales accounted for about 42.1% of Biogen’s total revenues from its MS (multiple sclerosis) drug franchise. Biogen (BIIB) earns more than 90% of its total revenues from MS drugs.

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Tecfidera’s performance

The above graph shows that compared to 3Q14, Tecfidera’s overall revenues rose by 19%, with US sales and those in the rest of the world rising by 18% and 23%, respectively. Tecfidera’s US sales increased on account of an increase in inventory levels at specialty pharmacies as well as a price rise by Biogen. However, this impact was partially offset by an increase in rebates given to government-managed health programs and health insurance companies. Though pricing continues to be a challenge in the German market, Tecfidera’s revenues were high in the rest of the world due to strong performance in relatively new markets such as United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain.

Tecfidera’s competition

To date, more than 170,000 patients in the world have been treated with Tecfidera. This includes patients treated following the launch of the drug as well as those who were initiated on Tecfidera therapy in the clinical trial process. Despite the slowdown in sales in the US market due to safety concerns, Tecfidera continues to be the most prescribed oral MS therapy in the world. However the drug is facing tough competition from other oral MS therapies such as Novartis’ (NVS) Gilenya, Sanofi’s (SNY) Aubagio (through subsidiary Genzyme Corporation), and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries’ (TEVA) injectable MS drug, Copaxone. To know more about the safety concerns related to Tecfidera and its impact on the MS market in United States, please refer to Will Biogen’s Multiple Sclerosis Drugs See Healthy 3Q15 Growth?

Tecfidera’s strategy

To raise Tecfidera’s sales, Biogen has substantially increased their sales calls to educate physicians regarding the drug’s efficacy and safety profile. In addition, the company has adopted DTC (direct-to-consumer) marketing in the United States. where the company initiated a television campaign in the first week of October. The company expects that if patients approach physicians with a preferred therapy, there is a high possibility of the latter prescribing that therapy.

Instead of directly investing in Biogen and being exposed to any company-specific risks, you can invest in the company through the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY). Biogen accounts for 0.4% of SPY’s total holdings.



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