Bloomberg News

Biogen Rises as MS Pill Shows No Safety Concerns in Study

October 21, 2011

(Updates shares in first and sixth paragraphs.)

Oct. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Biogen Idec Inc., the world’s largest maker of multiple sclerosis drugs, rose to its highest value in almost four months after data on its MS pill BG-12 raised no concerns about safety in a late-stage trial.

The medicine met study goals, reducing the proportion of patients that relapsed by as much as 50 percent at two years compared with a placebo, Weston, Massachusetts-based Biogen said today in a statement. The data were presented at the Congress of the European and Americas Committees on Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis, known as ECTRIMS, in Amsterdam.

Biogen presented results from the same trial, called Define, in April, prompting the company’s shares to rise the most in more than three years when analysts said the data may make BG-12 the best treatment option for patients. If approved, the pill may generate as much as $3 billion in annual revenue in the next seven years, or about 20 percent of the MS market, said Michael Yee, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets.

“This was the de-risking event,” Yee said in a telephone interview today from the meeting. “It suggests there are no issues to be concerned about at this time for BG-12.”

Yee said the information also removes concerns the drug wouldn’t perform well in a trial called Confirm, that like Define is part of the third and last phase of studies generally required for U.S. regulatory approval. Biogen will present data from Confirm later this year, Doug Williams, the company’s head of research and development, said today in the statement.

Biogen gained 7.1 percent to $108.84 at 4 p.m. New York time, the highest since June 29. The shares have increased 62 percent this year.

--With assistance from Phil Serafino in Paris. Editors: Andrew Pollack, Bruce Rule

To contact the reporter on this story: Meg Tirrell in New York at mtirrell@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net


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