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Idenix Pharmaceuticals’ loss of 22 cents per share in the second quarter of 2013 was narrower than both the Zacks Consensus Estimate and the year-ago loss of 23 cents.

Second-quarter revenues plunged 92.8% to $0.1 million, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

Research and development expense during the quarter decreased 3.7% year over year to $19.8 million.

General and administrative expense surged 56.0% year over year to $9.1 million.

Idenix expects its current cash balance of $177.6 million to be sufficient to sustain its operations at least in the second half of 2014.

Pipeline Update

We remind investors that Idenix suffered a setback in Jun 2013 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked the company to provide additional preclinical safety information on its lead uridine nucleotide prodrug candidate, IDX20963, which is being developed for the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV). The study has been put on hold.

Nevertheless, Idenix is working to resolve this issue with the FDA and develop IDX20963 outside the U.S.

In May 2013, Idenix initiated a phase II study (HELIX-1), evaluating the combination of HCV candidates, samatasvir (IDX719) and simeprevir (TMC435). The study is being conducted in collaboration with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Analyst Report) company.  Initial data from the study is expected in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Idenix plans to initiate a second phase II trial (HELIX-2) on samatasvir, simeprevir and TMC647055 shortly.

Our Take

The results were roughly in line with our expectations. Notwithstanding the clinical hold on the company’s lead uridine nucleotide prodrug candidate, IDX20963, we expect progress with other HCV candidates.

Investors reacted positively to the results and shares were up 9.66%.

Idenix currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Right now, Cytokinetics Incorporated (CYTK - Snapshot Report) and Array BioPharma Inc. (ARRY - Snapshot Report) look better-positioned. Both carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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