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Ophthotech (OPHT) Q2 Loss Narrows, Zimura Progress On Track

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Ophthotech Corporation (OPHT - Free Report) incurred a loss of 37 cents per share for the second quarter of 2018, narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 40 cents and loss of 62 cents in the year-ago quarter.

With no approved products in its portfolio, Ophthotech derives revenues from milestone and other payments under collaborations. However, there were no such revenues in the quarter. The company had reported $1.7 million in revenues in the year-ago period.

Shares of the company fell 1.6% in after-market trading on Aug 1. Moreover, Ophthotech’s shares have underperformed the industry so far this year. The stock has lost 21.1% compared with the industry’s decrease of 4.1%.

Quarter in Detail

Research and development expenses in the second quarter decreased 45.9% to $8.5 million, mainly due to termination of the Fovista development programs in wet age-related macular degeneration (“AMD”) and lower personnel costs.

General and administrative expenses decreased 26.7% from the year-ago period to $6.3 million due to lower personnel, operational and infrastructure cost.

Pipeline Update

The company’s lead pipeline candidate, Zimura, is being evaluated in several mid-stage clinical studies for the treatment of dry and wet AMD, Stargardt disease, geographic atrophy and idiopathic choroidal vasculopathy (“IPCV”).

In April 2018, the company announced the completion of enrollment of patients in a phase IIa study, evaluating Zimura in combination with Roche's Lucentis, an anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (“VEGF”) agent for treating wet AMD patients who did not receive prior anti-VEGF treatment.

The company remains on track to complete patient enrollment by the end of third-quarter 2018 in a phase IIb study for evaluating Zimura in geographic atrophy.

Top-line data from a phase IIa study on Zimura in combination with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ (REGN - Free Report) Eylea in IPCV is expected in the second half of 2019.

Apart from Zimura, Ophthotech is also focusing on gene therapy programs. In February, the company initiated an innovative gene therapy program to discover and develop new treatments for ocular disease. Ophthotech has entered into several agreements with academic institutions to evaluate promising gene therapy product candidates.

Cash Balance

Ophthotech’s cash balance was $146 million as of Jun 30, 2018.

The company continues to expect its cash balance at 2018 end to be in the range of $112 million to $117 million, after deducting costs related to the development of Zimura and initiation of a gene therapy program in the year.

Ophthotech Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise


Ophthotech Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Ophthotech Corporation Quote

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Ophthotech currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A couple of better-ranked stocks in the biotech sector are Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (VRTX - Free Report) and Seattle Genetics, Inc. (SGEN - Free Report) . Both the stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Vertex’s earnings per share estimates moved up from $3.16 to $3.79 for 2018 and from $4.33 to $4.58 for 2019 over the last 30 days. The company delivered a positive earnings surprise in all the trailing four quarters, with an average beat of 27.5%. The company’s shares have rallied 25.4% year to date.

Seattle Genetics’ loss per share estimates narrowed from $1.81 to $1.27 for 2018 and from 81 cents to 68 cents over the last 30 days. The company delivered a positive earnings surprise in three of the trailing four quarters, with an average beat of 12.93%.  The stock has surged 68.2% so far this year.

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