Biogen posts 5% jump in third-quarter sales on growth from Spinraza, biosimilars

Headline results for the third quarter:

Revenue

$3.6 billion (forecasts of $3.5 billion)

+5%

Profit

$1.5 billion

+7%

Note: All changes are versus the prior-year period unless otherwise stated

 

What the company said:

"Biogen delivered solid performance in the third quarter driven by continued resilience from our multiple sclerosis core business and growth from Spinraza and biosimilars," commented CEO Michel Vounatsos. He said Spinraza "continued on a strong trajectory, particularly outside the US, and we are preparing for the expected launch of Vumerity, which we believe will be an important addition to our…multiple sclerosis portfolio."

 

Alongside its quarterly results, the company also announced that it would be seeking US approval for the experimental Alzheimer's disease drug aducanumab early next year based on a new analysis of a larger dataset from Phase III studies that had been discontinued in March following a futility analysis. The news bumped up company shares by as much as over 40%.

 

Other results:

  • Multiple sclerosis product sales: $2.3 billion, up 2%, Biogen said 2019 channel inventory levels in the US decreased by approximately $30 million for Tecfidera, Avonex, Plegridy, and Tysabri combined
    • Tecfidera: $1.1 billion, up 3%, matching consensus estimates
    • Tysabri: $484 million, up 3%
    • Avonex: $420 million, down 13%
    • Plegridy: $110 million, up 2%
  • Spinraza: $547 million, up 17%, beating expectations of $488 million, Biogen said the number of commercial patients receiving the spinal muscular atrophy therapy growing about 3% in the US, where sales were $237 million, and roughly 18% outside the US compared to the previous quarter.
  • Rituxan/Gazyva: $408 million, up 9%
  • Ocrevus royalties: $188 million, up from $137 million in the year-ago period
  • Biosimilars: $184 million, versus $135 million in the prior-year period, primarily driven by Imraldi

 

Pipeline news:

Biogen said that in October, the FDA issued a tentative approval for Vumerity (diroximel fumarate), "a novel oral fumarate with a distinct chemical structure" for the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis. The company, along with partner Alkermes, recently reported positive top-line results from the Phase III EVOLVE-MS2 trial, showing that Vumerity was superior to Tecfidera on the study's primary endpoint, with patients self-reporting significantly fewer days of key gastrointestinal symptoms on the Individual Gastrointestinal Symptom and Impact Scale (IGISIS). For related analysis, see ViewPoints: Alkermes delivers on Vumerity, now it is Biogen's turn.

Biogen also stated that it made "strong progress in our pipeline as we initiated new clinical programmes targeting Parkinson's disease and brain contusion, and we look forward to nine important data readouts by the end of next year." In August, the drugmaker dosed the first patient in a Phase I study of BIIB094, an antisense oligonucleotide targeting LRRK2 for Parkinson's disease. In addition, it recently dosed the first patient in a Phase II trial of glibenclamide, also known as BIIB093, for brain contusion.

 

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