Biogen: Interferon Therapy and Tysabri Continue Modest Growth



Interferon therapy and Tysabri

In 3Q15, interferon therapy sales, which involved MS (multiple sclerosis) drugs Avonex and Plegridy, accounted for about 32.8% of Biogen’s (BIIB) total revenues from its MS franchise. The company also earns about 20% of its total revenues from the sales of MS drug Tysabri. Biogen is one of the major companies with a strong MS franchise and competes with companies such as Merck & Co. (MRK), Novartis International (NVS), and Sanofi (SNY).

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Tysabri’s performance

Tysabri witnessed a fall of 4% in total worldwide revenues, from $501 million in 3Q14 to $480 million in 3Q15. This is attributed to a 13% fall in revenues outside the United States, from $226 million in 3Q14 to $196 million in 3Q15. Tysabri’s revenues outside the United States were negatively affected by unanticipated foreign exchange losses. In the United States, Tysabri recorded revenues of $284 million in 3Q15, 3% higher than those in 3Q14, mainly due to an increase in price of the drug.

Interferon therapy performance

Total interferon therapy revenues rose by 5% in 3Q15 from 3Q14. Avonex recorded a fall of 7.7% in total revenues from $742 million in 3Q14 to $685 million in 3Q15. While Biogen has increased prices of most of its MS drugs, including Avonex, revenues in both foreign and US markets have suffered due to declining patient volumes. Patients have been actively shifting to either Plegridy or the oral MS therapy Tecfidera. To know why patients prefer Plegridy over Avonex, please refer Biogen: Global Leader in the Multiple Sclerosis Market.

Instead of directly investing in Biogen and being exposed to any company-specific risks, you can invest in the company through the Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLV). Biogen accounts for 2.5% of XLV’s total holdings.


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