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Q2 Loss at Aegerion Wider than Expected

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Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.  reported second quarter 2013 net loss per share of 66 cents, wider than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 62 cents and the year-ago loss of 60 cents.

Net product revenues for the quarter were $6.5 million from Juxtapid, which is the sole marketed product at Aegerion. The company did not report any revenues in the year-ago quarter. Revenues surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4 million.

In the second quarter of 2013, research and development (R&D) expenses were $7.6 million, compared with $5.4 million in the year-ago quarter. The increase in R&D spend reflects expenses in support of Juxtapid's development in Japan and increased headcount in support of Aegerion’s regulatory and medical affairs activities.

Selling, general and administrative expenses soared 117.5% year over year to $16.8 million, mainly due to higher headcount and selling and marketing expenses for the launch of Juxtapid as well as worldwide expansion.

Juxtapid, for the treatment of patients suffering from homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH) was launched in late Jan 2013. The Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) gave a positive opinion on Juxtapid in May 2013 and Aegerion expects to gain EU approval in Aug 2013.

Outlook Upped

Aegerion raised its net revenue expectation to $30 - $35 million in 2013 from the earlier guidance of $15 million to $25 million reflecting Juxtapid’s performance in the U.S. Aegerion maintained its total operating expenses guidance, excluding share-based compensation, in the range of $75 million to $85 million in 2013. The company expects more than 250 to 300 patients to be on Juxtapid therapy worldwide in 2013.

Our Take

We are encouraged with Juxtapid’s performance. Currently, there are 215 patients under Juxtapid therapy as compared to 75 patients in the last quarter, which means the company is on track to beat its guidance by the end of 2013. As per the estimates provided by Aegerion, there are at least 3,000 potential patients for Juxtapid in the U.S. We expect investor focus to remain on the sales ramp up of the drug. Aegerion share price went up 7.3% after the earnings release.

Aegerion carries a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold). Currently, biopharmaceutical companies like Actelion Ltd. , Medivation, Inc. and Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ - Free Report)  look well positioned. While Medivation and Jazz Pharma carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), Actelion carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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