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Sunday, May 11
Biogen and marketing partner Elan added 1,500 new Tysabri patients in the first quarter, compared to adding 2,600 patients in the fourth quarter of last year. This marks the third quarter in a row of declining patient growth
After refusing to up its bid for Facet Biotech conceding the company to Abbott Labs..Biogen Idec has
decided that the best use of its cash is to buy … itself. In
conjunction with its first-quarter earnings, Biogen announced that it
plans to repurchase and retire $1.5 billion worth of its shares.
after recently buying back $1 billion worth of shares, Biogen still had
$2.2 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities at
the end of the first quarter.
course, Biogen will be able to buy more shares today than it could
yesterday, since shares are down after this morning's report of rather
poor performance in the first quarter. Both revenue and adjusted
earnings rose year over year, but not as much as analysts were
expecting. The biggest culprit is multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri, still
saddled with decelerating growth.
Biogen and marketing partner Elan added
1,500 new Tysabri patients in the first quarter, compared to adding
2,600 patients in the fourth quarter of last year. This marks the third
quarter in a row of declining patient growth.
label was recently changed to indicate that the longer patients remain
on the drug, the greater their risk of a potentially deadly brain
infection called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). Even
though Tysabri is a more effective drug, patients are comfortable with
inferior but safer options such as Teva Pharmaceutical's Copaxone, Novartis' Extavia, and Rebif from Pfizer and EMD Serono.
some indication that doctors and patients may be shrugging off the data
after digesting it for a while, however. Biogen said that it saw about
190 new patients start therapy in each week of March, which would work
out to about 2,500 patients per quarter.
order for Biogen and Elan to realize the full potential for Tysabri,
the two companies need to identify patients who are most likely to get
PML. Removing the high-risk patients will cost the company money, but it
will make the low-risk patients more comfortable with using Tysabri.