), will be added to the S&P100 index after market close on
Friday, Mar 21. With a market cap of more than $80 billion,
Biogen is considered to be more representative of the mega-cap
market space. Shares were up 3.9% on the news. Biogen, which
exited 2013 on a strong note, should continue performing well
The company is well known for its strong presence in the
multiple sclerosis (MS) market. Biogen's MS portfolio consists of
drugs like Avonex, Tysabri and recent entrant Tecfidera.
Tecfidera, an oral MS treatment, is off to a strong start in the
U.S. and already holds a leading position in the oral MS market.
We expect the drug to do well in the EU too where it was launched
Apart from MS, Biogen is focusing on autoimmune disorders,
neurodegenerative diseases and hemophilia. The company has a
couple of hemophilia candidates currently under FDA review -
Eloctate (long-acting factor VIII) and Alprolix (long-acting
factor IX). Both could gain approval this year. Alprolix enjoys
orphan drug designation in both the U.S. and the EU. A convenient
dosing schedule (supported by a longer duration of action and a
suitable safety profile) could help these candidates capture
share from existing products in the hemophilia market.
We expect 2014 to be a catalyst rich year for Biogen with
several data readouts expected on the company's mid-stage
pipeline. Much-awaited data include proof-of-concept or proof of
biology read-outs on candidates like anti-CD40 ligand (lupus -
phase II); anti-LINGO (MS/ acute optic neuritis), BIIB037
(Alzheimer's disease), neublastin (neuropathic pain) and STX-100
(idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis).
Biogen is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock. Some better-ranked
stocks in the biotech sector include companies like
Gilead Sciences Inc.
Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
). All three carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
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