The stock of Biogen Inc. rose $3 a share on Wednesday to closeat $28 after Jeff Casdin of Oppenheimer & Co. in New Yorkrated the Cambridge, Mass., company a "strong buy." Casdinestimates Biogen (NASDAQ:BGEN) will earn 40 to 50 cents ashare this year and 50 to 75 cents a share next year, up from15 cents a share in 1991.

Casdin was optimistic about Biogen because, he said, royaltyrevenues from its alpha interferon (sold by Schering-PloughCorp.) and its hepatitis B vaccine (sold by SmithKline Beechamplc and Merck & Co.) were at levels that far exceededexpectations. Casdin also expressed confidence in two productsin the company's pipeline, hirulog and beta interferon, whichare in late-stage clinical trials.

Biogen's hepatitis B vaccine seems to be penetrating the marketfor infant vaccinations, Casdin said, and alpha interferon hasbeen bolstered by rapid market growth in Japan.

Biotechnology stocks also were up across the board onWednesday, as the two indexes tracking a selection ofcompanies indicated.

The Chicago Board Option Exchange index rose 2.45 points toclose at 139.07, and the AMEX Biotechnology Index was up2.36 points, closing at 146.26.

Other significant gainers besides Biogen were GensiaPharmaceuticals Inc. (GNSA), which gained $2 a share, closingat $37.50; Immune Response Corp. (IMNR), which gained $1 toend the day at $18.50 a share; and Genzyme Corp. spinoffNeozyme Corp. (NEOZ), which also added $1 a share to reach$27.75.

Argus Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ARGS) was the only big loserWednesday, dropping $1 to close at $6.

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