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Biogen 2019 Outlook

Feb. 11, 2019 1:32 PM ETBiogen Inc. (BIIB)VTRS5 Comments
William Meyers profile picture
William Meyers


  • Q4 2018 results included 7% y/y revenue growth and 33% EPS growth.
  • 2019 outlook more about trial results than drug approvals or revenue growth.
  • Effects of the Tecfidera ruling are exaggerated.

Biogen (NASDAQ:BIIB) has long been one of the premier biotechnology companies. In the past, most of its income has come from multiple sclerosis treatments, but it is transitioning to treating multiple neurological diseases. To give a first impression of its ability to grow, consider that revenue in 2013 was $6.93 billion. That increased 94% to $13.45 billion in 2018.

I am optimistic about Biogen's development in 2019. I recently wrote about growth prospects for the next decade in Biogen Outlook for the 2020s. In this report, I will focus on the outlook for 2019.

Biogen Stock Price

Biogen's 52-week high was $388.67, set last July on a moment of Alzheimer's disease therapy optimism. Its low of $249.17 was last April, and it had a pretty rough December, along with most other biotech stocks.

On Thursday, February 7, Biogen dropped 7.4% to close at $308.73. I believe this is a combination of the weak guidance for 2019 and the USPTO decision to allow Mylan (MYL) with its Tecfidera patent dispute, both of which will be addressed below.

Q4 2018 Results

Before speculating on 2019, a brief factual review is in order. Biogen reported Q4 results and had its analyst conference [transcript] on January 29, 2019. The Q4 2018 Slide Deck also offers a summary of the presentation.

First, note that revenue set a record for both the full-year 2018 and for Q4.

Revenues were $3.53 billion, up 3% sequentially from $3.44 billion and up 7% from $3.31 billion in the year-earlier quarter. Spinraza and Ocrevus royalties led revenue growth. Tecfidera, which had led revenue growth since its introduction, is leveling off.

Because of the effects of tax reform on GAAP numbers in Q4 2017, I am going to use non-GAAP numbers for net income and EPS. Non-GAAP results are not

This article was written by

William Meyers profile picture
I provided stock and bond research and analysis to a small cap specialist investor, Lloyd Miller, from 2002 until his death in January 2018. For my own account I invest mainly in technology and biotechnology stocks. My technology and investment web site is openicon.com, where readers can view the notes I take to make decisions and to write articles for Seeking Alpha.

Analyst’s Disclosure: I am/we are long BIIB, MYL, IONS. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Seeking Alpha's Disclosure: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. Any views or opinions expressed above may not reflect those of Seeking Alpha as a whole. Seeking Alpha is not a licensed securities dealer, broker or US investment adviser or investment bank. Our analysts are third party authors that include both professional investors and individual investors who may not be licensed or certified by any institute or regulatory body.

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Comments (5)

FreeForAll profile picture
What do you think of its prospects without Alzheimer’s now?
For Alzheimer’s candidates expected to have data over the next 12-18 months, you’ve listed anti-tau BIIB076. At last year’s Ionis annual shareholder meeting, Frank Bennett indicated anti-tau Ionis-MAPTRx, also known as BIIB080, should also produce data in early 2020.
William Meyers profile picture
thanks for that bit of data
danwatson888 profile picture
William - nice recap on Biogen, and I agree with you that "they could easily pay a dividend". I would like them more and have more "patience" as you say, if they provided a dividend as I do think they are now at that stage, e.g., ($AMGN). They can continue the stock buy-back investments based on market actions/conditions. And most importantly I very much like their products and pipeline.
best to you and all in 2019
Dan Watson
long ($BIIB), ($AMGN), ($GILD), ($CELG)
thanks for in depth article. Sorry to go off topic, but do you know any reason for the big jump in $nktr today?
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