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Biogen (BIIB) tops earnings expectations but revenue falls short

April 24, 2024 7:02 AM
(Updated - April 24, 2024 9:42 AM EDT)

Biogen (NASDAQ: BIIB) reported its first quarter 2024 earnings, surpassing analyst expectations for adjusted earnings per share (EPS) but falling slightly short on revenue. The company announced an adjusted EPS of $3.67, which was $0.24 higher than the analyst estimate of $3.43. However, revenue for the quarter was $2.29 billion, just below the consensus estimate of $2.31 billion.

The pharmaceutical giant experienced a 7% decline in total revenue compared to the same quarter last year, highlighting challenges in the market. Despite this, Biogen's GAAP operating income saw a 10% increase, and adjusted operating income grew by 24%, signaling efficiency gains from its Fit for Growth program and research and development prioritization. The company's stock saw a 3.5% increase following the earnings release.

Biogen's first-quarter product revenue decreased by 3% YoY, while the launch of its new Alzheimer's treatment, LEQEMBI, showed promise with first-quarter global in-market sales of approximately $19 million, nearly tripling since the fourth quarter of 2023. The company also noted a significant increase in new patient starts in March, which contributed to over 20% of cumulative patients now on LEQEMBI.

President and CEO Christopher Viehbacher commented on the quarter's performance, expressing optimism about the steady momentum building for LEQEMBI and the successful launches of SKYCLARYS and ZURZUVAE. Viehbacher stated, "We are starting 2024 with an increase in earnings per share and solid execution across our new product launches along with the realization of meaningful cost savings and margin improvement."

Looking ahead, Biogen reaffirmed its full-year 2024 financial guidance, projecting an adjusted EPS range of $15.00 to $16.00, which would represent approximately 5% growth at the mid-point compared to 2023. This forecast falls slightly below the analyst consensus of $15.49. The company continues to expect a low- to mid-single digit percentage decline in total revenue versus 2023 but anticipates operating income to grow by a low-double digit percentage with a mid-single digit percentage point operating margin improvement.

Despite the mixed results, Biogen's leadership remains focused on returning to sustainable growth and enhancing value for patients and shareholders.

Reacting to the report, JPMorgan kept a Neutral rating on BIIB shares. The bank said it "would not be surprised to see an upward bias to EPS results throughout the year as the company continues to work through its cost-cutting program."

JPMorgan adds: "More broadly on the story, while shares have been under pressure in 2024, we
remain Neutral on BIIB as we 1) expect a gradual AlzheimerË–s market build and 2) see few growth drivers in the remainder of the portfolio."

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