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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Biogen's Tysabri Sales Surpass $1 Billion In 2009; Users Rise 30%


Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB) said sales of its controversial multiple sclerosis treatment Tysabri surpassed $1 billion in 2009, reaching blockbuster status, as the number of patients using the treatment climbed 30%.

The company estimates that at the end of December, the number of patients using Tysabri was 48,800 globally; including 24,500 in the U.S., 23,700 in the rest of the world and 600 in clinical trials.

The company faces continued pressure from activist shareholders and concerns about the growth trajectory of the controversial multiple sclerosis treatment, sold with Elan Corp. (ELN).

Tysbari's connection to a rare brain infection called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, or PML, led to an 18-month market withdrawal beginning in 2005; the infection re-emerged in 2008, although it remains within the 1-in-1, 000 PLM rate implied by its label. The number of Tysabri patients is closely followed as a result of the ratio.

Chief Executive Officer James C. Mullen, who will outline the company's growth strategy at an investors meeting Tuesday, said Biogen intends to continue its focus on accelerating Tysabri sales, as well as pipeline advancements, potential milestones for 2010 and plans to reinvigorate MS drugs Avonex and Rixuxan.

Biogen also said it submitted a marketing application to European regulators for its Fampridine tablets.

Shares were up 9 cents at $53.99 in recent trading. The stock is up 11% in the past year.

-By Tess Stynes, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2481;;

  (END) Dow Jones Newswires   01-12-101041ET   Copyright (c) 2010 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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