Checking In on Biogen

Now that all the Biogen Idec (Nasdaq: BIIB  ) buyout rumors have died down (for now), we can focus on how Biogen is performing as a business, rather than speculate whether a pharma would overpay for the privilege of unraveling the collaboration asset soup that is Biogen.

On Monday, Biogen outlined its goals and forecasts at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. Doing so seems to be a trend in the drug development industry, after Merck (NYSE: MRK  ) released its long-term financial forecast. Biogen reiterated its long-term guidance of 15% compound annual sales growth and 20% average non-GAAP earnings-per-share (EPS) growth from 2007 through 2010.

Much of Biogen's forecast for this time frame depends on its and Elan's (NYSE: ELN  ) multiple sclerosis drug, Tysabri, reaching an optimistic 100,000-patient target by the end of 2010. Biogen announced that 21,000 patients worldwide were being treated with Tysabri at the end of 2007, which is 24% more than just three months before.

In 2008, Biogen expects non-GAAP EPS to range between $3.20 and $3.35, and its 2007 non-GAAP EPS to come in above its previous $2.70 forecast. If Biogen can hit the top of its 2008 financial guidance and experience 15% EPS growth in 2009 and 2010, this will give it $4.43 annualized non-GAAP EPS by the end of 2010.

This isn't bad, considering Biogen's much-reduced share price valuation, but whether Biogen can hit this EPS number will be based on the success of Tysabri and its potential competitors, including Genzyme's (Nasdaq: GENZ  ) Campath and Novartis' (NYSE: NVS  ) oral multiple sclerosis therapy FTY720. Place your bets accordingly. 

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