Elan's $8B turnaround

Looking at Elan Corp. plc today, it's hard to recognize it as the same company that imploded two and a half years ago. Indeed, FDA's approval of Tysabri natalizumab for multiple sclerosis in November and Prialt ziconotide for pain last week capped a very good year for ELN, which says investors can expect a string of approvals over the next couple of years from its pipeline of neurodegenerative programs.

The company's achievements in 2004 had at least as much to do with removing the overhang from its 2002 blowup as with its pipeline news. In 2004, as ELN put the finishing touches on its restructuring and laid to rest the last of its "legacy issues," the company gained $7.9 billion in market cap, closing the year at $10.6 billion.

In October, a month before Tysabri was approved, ELN eclipsed MS competitor Serono S.A. (SWX:SEO; SRA, Geneva, Switzerland), which closed the year with a market cap of $9.9 billion (see "Elan's Rebound").

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