Drugmaker Biogen Idec’s fourth-quarter sales surged with the help of a new Multiple Sclerosis drug that the Massachusetts company plans to manufacture in the Triangle as soon as the plant here receives the necessary regulatory approval.
Biogen’s fourth-quarter sales increased 39 percent to $2 billion, about a fifth of which was attributable to Tecfidera, the new MS drug now made outside North Carolina by contract manufacturers. Fourth-quarter net income grew 56 percent to $457.3 million, Biogen reported Wednesday.
The company’s stock closed Wednesday at $305.46, down 19 cents. The shares have doubled in value in the past year.
Biogen, which employs 1,200 in the Triangle, currently makes two injection treatments for MS – Avonex and Tysabri, the company’s top-sellers – at its Morrisville facility. Biogen plans to add two hemophilia therapies to production in Morrisville in 2014 that are currently awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
The company projected global sales growth between 22 percent and 25 percent on the assumption that “Tecfidera will represent the largest contributor to our revenue growth,” Paul Clancy, Biogen’s chief’s financial officer, told analysts during a conference call.
Tecfidera, an MS pill that generated $398 million in sales in the fourth quarter, is slated for production here in 2015.
Virtually all of Biogen’s global production of Tecfidera would take place in Durham at facilities owned by Eisai, a Japanese company with U.S. operations. Eisai leased a portion of its facility to Biogen Idec last year, said company spokesman Steven Goldsmith.
More than 6,000 U.S. doctors prescribed Tecfidera last year, representing about 85 percent of all MS prescriptions. Almost all American insurers cover the treatment, Tony Kingsley, executive vice president for global commercial operations, told analysts.
Tecfidera is under regulatory review in Europe with plans for introduction in Germany and other European Union countries over the next 18 months. It was approved in Australia in December and approval is expected in Canada this year.
Biogen’s Morrisville facility includes manufacturing and support, such as quality control, engineering and IT, and also product development for clinical trials, as well as a patient services call center. The Cambridge, Mass.-based company employs 5,500 worldwide.
Biogen has five products on the market and six in advanced stages of development. For the full year, Biogen posted revenue of $6.9 billion, a 26 percent increase of 2012, and net income of $1.9 billion, an increase of 36 percent, both all-time highs.