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Aerie (AERI) Suspends Guidance Due to Coronavirus Outbreak

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Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Inc. AERI provided a business update associated with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its operations.

Aerie has two ophthalmology drugs — Rhopressa and Rocklatan — in its portfolio. Rocklatan is a once-daily, quadruple-action, fixed-dose combination of Rhopressa and Pfizer’s PFE Xalatan.

While volumes increased sequentially in the first quarter of 2020, the pace of volumes has declined as the COVID-19 pandemic worsened since late March.

The growth in new prescriptions has slowed as ophthalmologists shut down their offices or are in the process of doing so.

Consequently, Aerie is withdrawing its previously-provided annual guidance for net revenues and net cash used in operations. The company had earlier guided full-year 2020 net revenues of $100-$110 million.

Per the company, it has not observed any disruptions to date in its supply chain for the production of Rhopressa and Rocklatan. Aerie estimates that it has approximately three years of starting materials and active pharmaceutical ingredients in inventory, and an adequate supply of finished products in hand to support its commercial efforts for at least the next six months.

The regulatory review of Roclanda in Europe (Rocklatan in the United States) remains on track, while the results for the Mercury 3 trial for the same are now expected in late 2020 or early 2021. Aerie expects to hold a meeting with the regulatory authorities in Japan during the second quarter of 2020 to discuss phase III study designs for Rhopressa while continuing to prepare for the trials and exploring partnership opportunities.

Aerie’s early-stage retina implant trials remain on track and it hopes to commence its phase IIb clinical study for dry eye candidate, AR-15512 (formerly AVX-012), by the end of 2020.

The company’s shares have lost 36.9% in the year so far compared with the industry’s decline of 18%.

 

The uncertainty regarding business volumes will weigh on shares of companies like Aerie as the COVID-19 pandemic refuses to die out.

Moreover, competition will be stiff from the likes of Allergan’s AGN Lumigan and Bausch Health's (BHC - Free Report) Vyzulta in 2020, among others.

Aerie currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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