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European panel backs MS drug from Biogen

Analysts say Tecfidera could add sales of $6 billion by 2020 for Biogen Idec.

Essdras M Suarez/Boston Globe file

Analysts say Tecfidera could add sales of $6 billion by 2020 for Biogen Idec.

Biogen Idec has won support from a European panel for Tecfidera, a pill to treat multiple sclerosis.

A Weston company known for such MS drugs as Avonex and Tysabri, Biogen Idec said it has received a positive opinion on Tecfidera from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use, which is recommending that European Union regulators approve the drug as a first-line oral treatment for adults with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.

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A decision on Tecfidera by the Food and Drug Administration is expected shortly.

“We believe Tecfidera will raise expectations for what people living with MS can achieve with their therapy,” Biogen Idec chief executive George Scangos said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Biogen Idec announced that the Patent Office had granted it broad protection for Tecfidera.

Avonex is typically injected once a week. Tysabi is generally taken by infusion once a month. And Tecfidera is envisioned as a capsule taken twice a day.

Biogen’s stock closed Friday at $178, up almost one percent.

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