Biogen shares leap on promising Ph3 MS drug data

Shares of Biogen Idec ($BIIB) soared 21 percent this morning after the company revealed promising data from a Phase III study of its late-stage MS drug BG-12 as they reviewed first quarter results with analysts. Top-line results from the successful Phase III trial, the first of two, came out a little more than a week ago. But investors were clearly thrilled once they got a peak at the data, pushing shares to the $105 mark.

After two years of treatment the number of patients who relapsed dropped by 49 percent compared to the placebo arm of the study, which recruited 1,200 patients. And the drug reduced the rate of disability progression by 38 percent compared to a placebo, according to a report in Reuters.

New Biogen CEO George Scangos inherited the BG-12 program when he took the reins last year. But in this instance it may be better to be lucky than good, as Biogen appears to be on track to a major new product approval.

Biogen reported that its net income jumped 35 percent in the first quarter, noting a $14 million charge for an investment in AVEO. Product sales jumped 10 percent with sales of Tysabri growing 15 percent in the quarter.

- here's the Reuters report
- the Boston Globe has the first quarter numbers