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
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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