Biogen Finds More PML In The Woodpile (BIIB)

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Biogen Idec Inc. (NASDAQ: BIIB has notified regulatory agencies of a confirmed case of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) in a multiple sclerosis patient treated with TYSABRI .

The company said that this patient has a history of MS and priordisease-modifying therapies including beta-interferons and glatirameracetate. The patient had also received prior therapy with methotrexate for arheumatological condition.  Biogen noted that the patient received 14infusions of TYSABRI monotherapy and this led to an early detection andis under the care of physicians.

Shares closed down almost 1% at $41.94 in regular trading today, but the stock is being battered in after-hours trading.  Shares are currently down over 15% at $35.30 after the news was out to a new 52-week low if this holds.  Its previous 52-week trading range is $38.04 to $78.57.

TYSABRI patients frequently have better results than other treatments.  The risks of PML have been noted as a cause that might deter new users, but most patients taking TYSABRI have supposedly stayed on the drug.  As a personal friend told me about his wife on TYSABRI, "If she gets PML she gets PML, but she’s done so much better on TYSABRI over treatments that we won’t get her off of it unless something better comes along."

Jon C. Ogg
October 29, 2008