Why Biogen Stock Leaped Nearly 5% Higher Today

The company came out swinging with its first set of quarterly earnings for this year.

Before market open on Wednesday, Biogen (BIIB 4.56%) unveiled its first earnings report of 2024. Happily, the company was far more profitable than many expected it to be, and investors rewarded this performance by trading the stock up by almost 5%. That compared quite favorably to the essentially flat performance of the S&P 500 index.

A convincing first-quarter earnings beat

In its first quarter, Biogen took in $2.29 billion in revenue, which was down by 7% on a year-over-year basis. Its product sales slipped by 3%, led by a 4% decline in its No. 1 product category: multiple sclerosis. Other revenue saw a far steeper fall of 39%, but this segment is notably smaller (it totaled $579 million).

The story was quite different on the bottom line. The biotech grew its non-GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) adjusted net income by 8% to $535 million, or $3.67 per share.

On average, analysts tracking Biogen stock were modeling $2.31 billion on the top line, resulting in a narrow miss, yet only $3.43 for adjusted, per-share net income.

Leqembi was a standout

Many investor eyes were on Biogen’s Leqembi, the first Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drug shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Leqembi performed well, as its sales were roughly $19 million for the quarter, nearly double the $10 million it earned last year (it won that approval in July 2023). The former figure was also well above the average analyst estimate of $11 million.

The company reaffirmed its guidance for the entirety of 2024. It believes it will post an adjusted net profit of $15 to $16 per share, which at the midpoint would be 5% higher than the 2023 number. The consensus analyst estimate is $15.49. Revenue should decline at a low-to-mid-single digit percentage rate; Biogen did not get more specific.

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