Pop some corks, Tecfidera sales folks: Your $700M for Q2 trounced estimates

What's better than beating sales estimates with a new drug? Blowing those estimates out of the water. Biogen Idec ($BIIB) can celebrate that today, thanks to $700 million in quarterly Tecfidera sales.

The multiple sclerosis drug hit the ground running last spring, racking up $876 million in sales by year's end. As if that performance was just training for this year, Tecfidera has so far raced past consensus estimates. That $700 million for Q2 amounts to a $140 million beat--which means sales came in 50% higher than expected.

So, Tecfidera has already blown past the blockbuster threshold, with $1.2 billion in first-half sales--and, at this rate, it will surpass $2 billion by the end of the year.

U.S. sales accounted for $585 million of the Q2 number, so, obviously, Biogen's stateside Tecfidera salesforce is doing its job well. But with $115 million in overseas sales, their counterparts across the pond are also delivering. And that's in a challenging marketplace, where government gatekeepers look hard at prices, and reimbursement approvals can be tough to get. Tecfidera's "ex-U.S. sales were a really nice surprise as the company has said the EU launch would be more difficult than the U.S. launch."

The EU approval came through in February, and at the time, Robert W. Baird analyst Christopher Raymond predicted Tecfidera would bring in $291 million outside the U.S.--for all of 2014. So, the Q2 performance puts the drug in line to beat that figure by a healthy margin.

Worldwide, Tecfidera's launch is among the strongest ever--already far better than the top rollout on FiercePharma's 2013 list, Regeneron's ($REGN) Eylea. The vision-loss treatment brought in about $850 million worldwide in 2012, its first full year on the market, and hit blockbuster levels last year.

Closer to home, there's Novartis' ($NVS) rival MS pill Gilenya--and Tecfidera beat it out for first-half 2014 bragging rights. The first oral MS drug to hit the market, Gilenya quickly leapt to blockbuster status its second year on the market, 2012. But its first-half sales this year came in at $1.15 billion--just a tad short of Tecfidera's $1.2 billion.

- see the release from Biogen

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Editor's note: This story was corrected to show that Tecfidera sales surpassed estimates by about $140 million, rather than $250 million as previously stated. Biogen's overall second-quarter sales beat estimates by the latter amount.