Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. incurred a loss of 14 cents per share in the second quarter of 2019, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. However, it was wider than the year-ago loss of 12 cents.
The company did not generate any revenues in the reported quarter due to the absence of an approved product in its portfolio.
The company’s shares were up 8.6% on Aug 8, following the earnings release. Shares of Achillion have soared 203.2% so far this year against the industry’s decrease of 2.5%. Shares displayed a significant uptrend following the announcement of regulatory submission for initiation of phase II study on ACH-5228 in July.
Quarter in Detail
Research and development (R&D) expenses increased nearly 44.5% from the year-ago period to $15.9 million, primarily due to increased research costs related to pipeline candidates — danicopan (previously ACH-4471) and ACH-5228. Moreover, higher manufacturing and formulation costs for ACH-5228 and ACH-5548 also increased R&D expenses.
General and administrative expenses declined 31.5% year over year to $5.1 million due to lower personnel fees and stock-based compensation.
Achillion anticipates completing the phase II study evaluating danicopan in patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (“PNH”) in the third quarter. In May, the company presented interim data from the study, which showed that the addition of danicopan to Alexion’s (ALXN - Free Report) Soliris (eculizumab) nearly eliminated patients’ needs for blood transfusions. Top-line data is expected in the fourth quarter of 2019. The company has initiated an extension of the study to evaluate Alexion’s latest PNH drug, Ultomiris, in combination with danicopan.
Meanwhile, the company has completed enrollment in two phase II studies evaluating danicopan in C3 glomerulopathy, rare kidney disorder. However, the company postponed the end-of-phase II meeting with the FDA from the fourth quarter of 2019 to 2020.
Achillion is also developing its next-generation oral factor D inhibitors, ACH-5228 and ACH-5548, in two separate phase I studies targeting alternative pathway diseases. Data from the phase I study on ACH-5228 showed that the candidate achieved near complete and sustained alternative pathway inhibition for the dose of 120 mg twice daily. The company expects to submit an investigational new drug application to the FDA to support phase II development of ACH-5228 in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider
Achillion currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A couple of better-ranked stocks in the biotech/drugs sector are Theravance Biopharma (TBPH - Free Report) and Neurocrine Biosciences (NBIX - Free Report) , both carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Theravance’s loss estimates narrowed from $4.74 to $4.28 for 2019 and from $4.27 to $4.01 for 2020 over the past 60 days.
Estimates for Neurocrine have improved from a loss of 35 cents to earnings of 80 cents for 2019 and increased from $3.01 to $3.36 for 2020 over the past 60 days.
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