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Moody's Upgrades Biogen Idec's Credit on MS Drug Sales

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 3:54pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Moody's Investors Service upgraded Biogen Idec's credit rating on Wednesday, saying the biotech drugmaker should continue to report strong sales of its multiple sclerosis drugs.

Moody's raised its rating to "Baa1" from "Baa2." Both ratings are investment-grade, and the new rating is three notches above "junk" status. The ratings apply to about $550 million in debt. The outlook is "Stable," implying no imminent changes in the ratings.

The firm said Biogen Idec Inc. has a strong credit metrics and a solid market position in multiple sclerosis, as treatments for the disease provide most of its revenue. Moody's said Biogen has a positive outlook for growth, as sales of its drug Tecfidera will climb now that European Union regulators have approved the drug. It said the company is not facing any revenue-depleting patent expirations in the near future.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Tecfidera in late March, and Biogen reported $876.1 million in revenue from the twice-per-day pill last year. Biogen says Tecfidera is now the most prescribed pill for multiple sclerosis in the U.S. European Union regulators approved the drug earlier this month.

Biogen reported $6.93 billion in sales in 2013. In addition to the Tecfidera revenue, that total included about $4.5 billion from two older MS drugs, Avonex and Tysabri.

Shares of the Cambridge, Mass., company fell $2.76 to $343.54 in afternoon trading.

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