Sunday, May 11

"At least one analyst questioned the significance of the finding".....TYSABRI BREAKING NEWS:

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Biogen shares rise following MS drug reports
Biogen Idec shares gain ground following positive studies on MS drugs Avonex, Tysabri
NEW YORK (Associated Press) - Shares of Biogen Idec Inc. gained ground Friday after separate studies showed the positive long-term effects of the multiple sclerosis drug Avonex and allayed some side-effect fears over the MS treatment Tysabri.

Shares rose $1.01, or 2.1 percent, to $48.15 in afternoon trading. The stock has traded between $45.37 and $84.75 over the last 52 weeks.

On Thursday, the company said a study of Tysabri showed the drug did not increase the risk of a virus called JCV, which is the underlying cause of a rare viral infection called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, or PML. Tysabri was pulled from the market in 2005 after being linked to the rare brain disease but was reintroduced under restricted sales conditions in mid-2006.

Recently, the company and its partner Elan Corp. reported two new cases of the condition in European patients, sending shares into a tailspin. Shares are down about 30 percent since the announcement was made July 31.

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder that results in physical and neurological damage. There are about 32,000 patients on Tysabri worldwide, with 17,800 in the U.S. The company hopes to eventually get 100,000 patients on Tysabri worldwide.

Sales of the drug nearly tripled to $200 million during the second quarter and Wall Street has been concerned that the new PML cases could impact future sales.

In the recent study results, there was no difference between the prevalence of JCV in patients' urine before or after treatment with Tysabri.
At least one analyst questioned the significance of the finding.

"Even though the concern continues to be that pre-existing, dormant JC virus can spread to the brain in patients taking Tysabri, detection of JC virus in serum or urine are not diagnostic or predictive of PML," Citi analyst Dr. Yaron Werber said in a note to investors.

He reaffirmed a "Hold" rating with a $59 price target.

Meanwhile, the company also said patients taking Avonex over a 15-year period had significantly lower disability progression compared with patients who aren't taking the therapy.

This story originally appeared on CNN