This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, January 28, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Also out with earnings Tuesday, also better than expected, biotech giant Biogen. The company announcing a penny better than Wall Street had been looking for. Joining me now from Watertown, Massachusetts, with the details, the company's president and CEO, James Mullen.
Jim, good to have you back.
CAVUTO: Things are looking good, huh?
MULLEN: Well, I think we had good, solid quarter. The sales held up well and we are right on the doorstep of launching the next products. So we put the foundation in place now for a nice period of growth in front of us.
CAVUTO: All right. Avonex, of course, the drug to treat Multiple Sclerosis. I should disclose here I take this drug. I do have Multiple Sclerosis, we got that out of the way. But now we are told that Avonex sales are dipping a little bit, or the growth certainly is slowing. And you need other drugs. What are you doing on that front?
MULLEN: Well, certainly, the MS market has slowed down. And Avonex sales have been relatively flat for the last couple of quarters. What we are doing is what every good pharmaceutical company needs to do, bring in new, innovative products to the market. Amevive, which will be indicated for moderate to severe Psoriasis, should get approved this quarter in the U.S. and will launch as soon as we get approval. And another product in Phase III, Antigren, that's in trials for both Multiple Sclerosis and Crohn's Disease. So I think we have made good progress in the pipeline and I am pretty optimistic about the next few years.
CAVUTO: You know, not all analysts are, Jim, particularly on Amevive. They are saying that your estimates for that drug are way off. They don't see the demand that you do, what do you say?
MULLEN: Well, I think that we've seen this play before with the MS market, according to everybody there wasn't an MS market if you went back 10 years ago. And now there is $2 1/2 billion. When you bring solutions and you bring innovative therapies, the market is there. There is over a million people here in the U.S. with moderate to severe Psoriasis. There are a quarter of a million people on some kind of systemic therapy. A small fraction of those patients are all that is required to in fact hit the estimates we put out there. So I think they are very realistic, and I think we'll surprise people. But we will have to put the numbers up on the board.
CAVUTO: You know, there is anecdotal evidence to suggest, Jim, that some MS sufferers, since there is no cure for the disease, are sort of bolting and saying, well, if this thing is going to alleviate the progress of the disease, why should I keep taking it? In other words, like a crapshoot for them. And a lot of them are saying, well, forget it, is that a big issue?
MULLEN: Well, that's certainly always been a issue in this market because, as you know, it is difficult to it really see the progression of the disease. But now I think the analytical tools are pretty good with the MRIs and the doctors are now tracking it. And they can give the individual patients more confidence that it is working or not working for them. Certainly, we need to bring more new therapies to the market, and that is what we are working on.
CAVUTO: Jim Mullen, always a pleasure, thank you very much.
MULLEN: Thanks a lot.
CAVUTO: Jim is the president, the CEO of Biogen, joining us out of Watertown, Massachusetts.
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