n reported quarterly earnings Wednesday that came in above market expectations.
The company reported non-GAAP earnings of $4.05 a share for the fourth quarter of 2022, better than the FactSet consensus estimate of $3.48.
Revenue for the quarter was $2.5 billion, above the FactSet consensus estimate of $2.4 billion.
The company also laid out guidance for the 2023 fiscal year, saying it expects non-GAAP earnings of between $15 and $16 a share. Analysts expect earnings of $15.80 a share for the year, according to FactSet.
shares were rising 1.7% in premarket trading.
Investors are watching for developments on the biotechnology firm’s two key programs: Its Alzheimer’s treatment Leqembi, and its depression drug zuranaolone.
The expected rollouts of both drugs this year are vital to the company’s future because its remaining offerings face intense competitive pressure. Biogen stock (ticker: BIIB) has risen 33% over the past 12 months, but has declined 30% since June 2021.
The Japanese drugmaker Eisai (ESALY), with which Biogen has partnered on Leqembi, said early this month that infusions in patients began on Feb. 3. Full commercialization, however, is unlikely unless the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services decides that Medicare will cover the drug. A decision on that is unlikely before the second half of this year, at the earliest.
Biogen said Wednesday it expects “modest in-market” revenue for Leqembi this year, and said that commercialization expenses will be higher than revenue for the drug this year.
Zuranolone, on which Biogen is partnered with Sage Therapeutics (SAGE), could launch in the third quarter of this year if the Food and Drug Administration approves it as a treatment for major depressive disorder and postpartum depression.
Aside from those two programs, Biogen’s assets are facing fierce competition. At an investor conference in January, the company’s new CEO, Christopher Viehbacher, called Biogen’s multiple sclerosis franchise, which had been the company’s bedrock for years, a “melting iceberg.”
Sales of Biogen’s multiple sclerosis drugs were $5.4 billion in 2022, the company said, down from $6.1 billion in 2021. Sales of its spinal muscular atrophy drug Spinraza were $1.8 billion for the year, down from $1.9 billion in 2021.
Viehbacher, at the conference, said that his job is to “restore the company to sustainable growth,” both through the company’s internal drug-development pipeline and the launches of Leqembi and zuranolone.
“Strategically, we are working to put Biogen on a sustainable growth trajectory as we execute on two important near-term opportunities with LEQEMBI in Alzheimer’s disease and zuranolone in depression, further diversify our product portfolio, and seek expansion through organic and external opportunities, including new partnerships,” Viehbacher said in a statement on Wednesdsay. “I believe we have a solid foundation on which to build Biogen’s future.”
The earnings announcement Wednesday marked Viehbacher’s first as CEO. He took over from Michel Vounastos on Nov. 14.
The company will host an investor call at 8 a.m. Eastern time to discuss its performance.
Write to Josh Nathan-Kazis at [email protected]
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