TEL AVIV - Biogen Idec Inc. (Nasdaq: BIIB) charges $54,900 a year for Tecfidera, its new and promising treatment for multiple sclerosis, and a rival of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries' (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) Copaxone. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Tecfidera for sale last week, and analysts believe that it will become the market leader within a few years.
Tecfidera is taken orally, in contrast to Copaxone, which is injected.
For the sake of comparison, Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS; LSE: NOV; SWX: NOVZ) charges $60,000 a year for its oral treatment for multiple sclerosis, Gilenya, and Sanofi SA (Euronext: SAN; NYSE: SNY) charges $48,000 for its treatment, Aubagio. Research firm ISI believes that Biogn Idec will charge $51,000 for Tecfidera. Teva will also reportedly charge $50,000 a year for Copaxone.
The medical community considers Tecfidera effective and safe, on the basis of the clinical trials conducted in the past few years. It reduces attacks by 49 percent (compared with 20-30 percent for Copaxone), and its side effects are not severe.
Bernstein Research projectsTecfidera sales of $250 million in 2013, $1.77 billion in 2014, rising to $2.66 billion in 2017. Copaxone has $4 billion in annual sales.
Many Wall Street analysts, including Bernstein Research's Geoffrey Porges, do not advise investors to buy Biogen Idec shares at this time, because they believe that Tecfidera is already priced into the stock. ___