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Biogen rises as analyst boosts sales estimates

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January 14, 2014 02:52 PM EST | AP

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NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Biogen Idec rose Tuesday after a Stifel Nicolaus analyst forecast stronger sales for the company, including more revenue from new drugs and a slower decline for its current best-seller, the multiple sclerosis drug Avonex.

THE SPARK: Analyst Joel Sendek expects $2.46 billion in revenue from Avonex, almost $500 million above his previous estimates. He said Avonex, which is given intravenously, will lose ground to newer MS drugs that can be taken orally, but that sales erosion is happening more gradually than he expected. The analyst also raised his estimates for Plegridy, an injectable MS drug that Biogen is developing.

Sendek is forecasting $2.16 billion in sales of another Biogen MS drug, Tecfidera. Tecfidera was approved in 2013. It's a pill taken once per day.

The analyst expects the Food and Drug Administration to approve Plegridy in May, and also thinks the agency will approve two Biogen hemophilia drugs by the middle of the year. He said Plegridy sales could reach $2.28 billion in 2018.

He rates Biogen shares "Buy" with a price target of $295.

THE BIG PICTURE: Biogen Idec Inc. had $1.83 billion in revenue in the third quarter, the most recent period for which it has reported its quarterly results. Avonex remains its top seller and it bought in $733 million in revenue, down slightly from a year ago. The company also had $401 million in revenue from Tysabri, a newer drug that treats MS and Crohn's disease, and $287 million from Tecfidera.

THE STOCK: Biogen Idec shares advanced $15.08, or 5.3 percent, to $298.75 in afternoon trading. The stock has doubled in value over the last year and reached an all-time high of $302.95 on Monday.