Tuesday January 8 5:42 PM ET
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Biogen Inc. (Nasdaq:BGEN - news) expects its revenue to climb steadily, doubling to $2 billion per year by 2005 after which the biotechnology company projects a 20-percent annual earnings per share growth rate, Biogen's chief executive said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the JPMorgan H&Q Healthcare conference CEO James Mullen also reaffirmed other financial targets the biotechnology company first outlined last November, including a forecast for 2002 earnings per share of $1.90-$2.00.
He cited a sales growth rate in the high teens for Avonex, Biogen's flagship multiple sclerosis drug, as the primary driver, and downplayed the potential for competition in the U.S. from Rebif, another multiple sclerosis drug now sold in Europe by Switzerland's Serono SA (SEOZ.VX).
"Avonex already competes with Rebif," he said.
Mullen expects revenue to rise 14-18 percent this year and projected an annual growth rate of 16-22 percent in 2003-2005.
"We expect a 20-percent annual EPS growth rate beyond 2005," he said.
This year, Biogen expects to launch Amevive, a treatment for psoriasis which was filed at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites) five months ago, the CEO said. He estimated that sales of Amevive will reach an annual rate of $500 million in the third year after its launch.
Although several biotech companies, including Genentech Inc. (NYSE:DNA - news) are working on new psoriasis drugs, Biogen's looks likely to be the first on the market. "As the first new entrant, we will have access to a large market of frustrated patients," Mullen said.
Also in 2002, Biogen expects to enroll
patients in pivotal-stage clinical trials of its experimental drug Antegren
for patients with multiple sclerosis and Crohn's disease.
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