Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (LGND - Free Report) reported second-quarter 2018 adjusted earnings of $2.59 per share, significantly up from the year-ago figure of 67 cents. The bottom line also beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 93 cents.
Shares of the company have rallied 65.5% against the industry’s 4.9% decrease.
Total revenues in the quarter under review increased to $90 million from $28 million in the year-ago period. Moreover, the top line surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $60.46 million.
Royalty revenues were $31.4 million in the reported quarter, up approximately 120.9% year over year. Ligand earns royalties on sales of Novartis' (NVS - Free Report) Promacta, Amgen's (AMGN - Free Report) Kyprolis and Spectrum Pharmaceuticals' (SPPI - Free Report) Evomela among others, which were developed using Ligand’s Captisol technology. The increase in royalty revenues was mainly driven by higher sales recorded by Promacta and Kyprolis.
Under the new accounting standard ASC 606, adopted at the start of this year, Ligand said that second-quarter 2018 royalties should be compared with third-quarter 2017 royalties due to the timing of revenue recognition. Royalties for the third quarter of 2017 were $21.9 million.
License fees, milestones and other revenues were $51 million compared with $8.2 million in the year-ago quarter, mainly owing to a $47-million upfront payment received upon amendment of the licensing agreement of Ligand’s OmniAb platform with China-based WuXi Biologics.
Material sales increased to $7.6 million from $5.6 million in the year-ago quarter, riding on the favorable timing of Captisol purchases for clinical and commercial use.
Research & development (R&D) expenses increased 27.1% to $6.1 million and general & administrative expenses rose 43.1% year over year to $9.3 million.
During the quarter, Ligand amended its license agreement with WuXi Biologics related to the use of Ligand’s OmniAb platform, which eliminates predefined contract payments. Ligand will be eligible to receive royalties at the same rate and terms as the previous agreement.
Meanwhile, Ligand entered into a research and development agreement with Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, for the development of heavy-chain-only version of Ligand’s OmniChicken. Ligand also entered into agreements with other smaller companies related to the use of its OmniChicken and Captisol platform.
The company’s partners have made significant progress with their pipeline candidates using Ligand’s technology platform. Sage Therapeutics filed a new drug application for intravenous brexanolone for the treatment of postpartum depression. Retrophin and Aldeyra Therapeutics initiated phase III studies of their respective pipeline candidates, sparsentan and ocular reproxalap..
2018 Outlook Raised
Ligand increased its revenue guidance for 2018 to be approximately $232 million from its previous guidance of $226 million. The expected revenues include royalties of nearly $120 million, material sales of roughly $23 million and license fees and milestones of almost $89 million with the potential for up to an additional $9 million in license fees and milestones. Adjusted earnings are estimated to be $6.30 per share for 2018 compared with $6.15 expected previously.
Ligand is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
The Hottest Tech Mega-Trend of All
Last year, it generated $8 billion in global revenues. By 2020, it's predicted to blast through the roof to $47 billion. Famed investor Mark Cuban says it will produce "the world's first trillionaires," but that should still leave plenty of money for regular investors who make the right trades early.
See Zacks' 3 Best Stocks to Play This Trend >>