The impressive earnings growth shouldn't be discarded. After all, earnings and cash flow are what investors actually "get" out of owning shares of the company. Larger companies like Johnson & Johnson
And it isn't a rosy picture right now. It's more along the lines of a piece of abstract art that's difficult to interpret. In the first quarter, revenue was up just 10%, compared to 29% revenue growth between 2007 and 2008.
Revenue from sales of multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri, which Biogen sells with Elan
Sales of Biogen's other two drugs also weren't all that impressive. Sales of its other multiple sclerosis drug, Avonex, were up just 3.6%, and cancer treatment Rituxan, which it sells with Genentech, managed to grow just 6%. In a normal economy, that would be downright pathetic, but other mid-sized drug companies like Celgene
The problem with the lack of growth is that it introduces an air of caution. Until Biogen shows that it can get back to hyperactive revenue growth, investors are likely to assign a lower multiple to the stock.
Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. Elan is a Rule Breakers recommendation. Pfizer is an Inside Value pick. Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble are Income Investor picks. The Fool owns shares of Procter & Gamble and has a disclosure policy.