Big Biotech scores big sales from Biogen, Amgen

A pair of cross-continent Big Biotechs came up big this week in the revenue department, with hefty sales powering both Biogen Idec ($BIIB) and Amgen ($AMGN) to double-digit fourth-quarter earnings increases.

Biogen's profits skyrocketed 57%, leaping to $457.3 million, or $1.92 a share, from $292.1 million, or $1.23 a share, in the year-ago period. Hot-selling multiple sclerosis newcomer Tecfidera put up $398 million of the company's $1.97 billion in quarterly revenue, beating analyst estimates of $346.5 million for the popular pill.

"Tecfidera's worldwide promise is materializing as we look forward to continued U.S. sales growth and a near-term EU launch," Canaccord analyst Ritu Baral wrote in a note to investors.

Biogen's other MS therapies chipped in too, with top-seller Avonex contributing $751 million and Tysabri sales rising 45% to hit $427 million.

"We see continued Avonex and Tysabri long-term value and major potential in [Biogen's] hemophilia franchise with a near-term approval and launch expected," Baral wrote.

Meanwhile, California-based Amgen saw fourth-quarter profits climb 30%, rising to $1.02 billion, or $1.33 a share, from $788 million, or $1.01 a share, a year prior. Revenue hit $5.01 billion thanks to a 13% gain, driven largely by sales of Neulasta and Prolia.

But don't expect similar increases in 2014, Leerink Partners' Howard Liang wrote in a note to clients.

"On guidance for 2014, management seems to be emphasizing growth on the bottom line rather than large increases in revenue," he said.

As ISI analyst Mark Schoenebaum noted in a video seen by Bloomberg, investors will have their eyes on Kyprolis, the multiple myeloma drug behind Amgen's $10.4 billion pickup of Onyx Pharmaceuticals, and how Amgen might expand its use.

"The key to the trading action at Amgen over the next 6 months is probably data on Kyprolis," Schoenebaum said. "That's very important because the stock kind of took it on the chin late last year with concerns around this drug."

- here's the Biogen Idec release | more from Bloomberg
- and the Amgen release | more from Bloomberg

Special Reports: Top 15 Drug Launch Superstars - Tecfidera - Biogen Idec | Xgeva/Prolia - Amgen | Kyprolis - Onyx Pharmaceuticals