Biogen Idec: A Biotech Pioneer With A Stellar Future
Biogen Idec is a biotechnology pioneer that has invented novel therapies to treat a range of neurodegenerative diseases and autoimmune disorders. Drugs to treat various forms of multiple sclerosis have been the mainstay of the Cambridge, MA-based company for two decades.
As global life expectancy continues to increase and people continue to live longer than ever, the prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases in the general population continues to increase. Multiple sclerosis affects millions of people worldwide and there is no cure. However, drugs such as those from Biogen help patients in different ways including by preventing disability.
Blockbuster MS Drugs
The MS drugs, Avonex, Tysabri and Tecfidera contribute the bulk of the company’s sales which totaled $6.93 billion in FY2013. Avonex and Tysabri are well established in the marketplace and contributed $4.5 billion in sales. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Tecfidera in late March of 2013 and Biogen has reported $876.1 million in revenue from Tecfidera. Some predict Tecfidera sales to reach $5 billion a year eventually.
The company also makes Rituxan (rituximab) which is approved for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). Rituxan (in combination with methotrexate) is also approved for certain types of rheumatoid arthritis.
Avonex is used by more than 135,000 patients worldwide making it the the No. 1 treatment for relapsing forms of MS. It slows the progression of disability and reduces relapses. Tysabri is approved for treatment of relapsing MS in the U.S. and relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) in the European Union.
A Strong Product Pipeline
Apart from the drugs already available in the marketplace, Biogen has several more drugs in the pipeline which will likely boost the company’s revenue and profits. These drugs deal with a variety of clinical conditions including muscular atrophy, myotonic dystrophy, secondary progressive MS, Alzheimer’s and others.
Plegridy is expected to get U.S. FDA approval in mid-2014 and EU approval in the second half of 2014 for RRMS. Plegridy is expected to add more than $2.5 billion to the bottom-line eventually. Daclizumab for RRMS is another drug in the pipeline. Tysabri is being developed for the treatment of SPMS. If this pans out, Tysabri sales might reach a peak of $5.2 billion.
More drugs under development include anti-LINGO for MS, BIB037 and BAN2401 for Alzheimer’s, SMN for Spinal Muscular Atrophy, and GA-101 for Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
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