Can Biogen (BIIB) Keep the Earnings Streak Alive in Q2?

Biogen Inc.BIIB , a well-known name in the multiple sclerosis (MS) market, will report second-quarter 2017 results on Jul 25, before the market opens. Last quarter, the company delivered a positive earnings surprise of 4.63%.

Biogen's shares have declined 0.4% this year so far while the Zacks classified Biomed-Genetics industry recorded an increase of 8.8%.

Biogen's earnings performance has been pretty impressive so far, having delivered back-to-back positive surprises. The average earnings beat over the last four quarters is 5.29%.

Let's see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Factors to Consider

At the first quarter call, the company had said that it expects relatively stable demand for both Tecfidera and Tysabri (its multiple sclerosis drugs) in 2017 as patient growth in ex-U.S. markets offsets the modest decline in the U.S. due to rising competition from drugs like Roche's Ocrevus. It remains to be seen whether its second-quarter performance reflects the trend.

Meanwhile, the combined number of patients using Avonex and Plegridy is on the decline as patients transition to other oral multiple sclerosis therapies or other high-efficacy products.

Zinbryta, launched in collaboration with AbbVie Inc. ABBV in Aug 2016, is expected to continue to contribute to revenues in the U.S. and the EU. The drug benefits from increased use of high-efficacy products.

Spinraza approved for spinal muscular atrophy in Dec 2016 was off to a promising start backed by robust underlying demand Notably, Spinraza, which added $47.4 million to the top line in the first quarter of 2017, should contribute further to sales. At the Q1 conference call, the company had said that it is working on expanding access to Spinraza to all patients.

However, at the call, the company had warned of possible logistics and coverage restriction on the drug in the U.S. as well as other markets. We expect management to provide an update on the issue at its second quarter conference call.

Biogen's biosimilar products - Flixabi (a biosimilar referencing Remicade) and Benepali (a biosimilar referencing Enbrel) are also generating higher revenues. The trend should continue this quarter as well.

Headcount reduction and restructuring initiatives are expected to continue to lower operating expenses. Meanwhile, R&D expenses are expected to increase due to increased business development payments.

At the second quarter call, investor focus will remain on Tecfidera's scrip trends, sales ramp-up of Spinraza, pipeline progress and acquisition plans.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Biogen is likely to beat on earnings this quarter. This is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) for this to happen. That is not the case here, as you will see below.

Zacks ESP: Its Earnings ESP is -5.61% as the Most Accurate estimate stands at $4.21 while the Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged higher at $4.46. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they're reported with our Earnings ESP Filter .

Zacks Rank: Biogen's Zacks Rank #3 increases the predictive power of ESP. However, we need to have a positive ESP to be confident about an earnings beat.

We caution against Sell-rated stocks (Zacks Rank #4 or 5) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions.

Biogen Inc. Price and EPS Surprise

Biogen Inc. Price and EPS Surprise | Biogen Inc. Quote

Stocks to Consider

Stocks in the pharmaceuticals sector that have both a positive ESP and a favorable Zacks Rank include

Eli Lilly & Company LLY , scheduled to release results on Jul 25, with an Earnings ESP of +0.97% and a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .

Pfizer, Inc. PFE with an Earnings ESP of +1.54% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is scheduled to release results on Aug 1.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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