Catalyst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (CPRX - Free Report) reported earnings of 10 cents per share in the first quarter of 2020, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 9 cents. Meanwhile, the company reported a loss of a cent in the year-ago quarter.
However, the company’s revenues of $29.1 million missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $32 million. Revenues in the year-ago quarter came in at $12.5 million. Revenues came entirely from sales of Firdapse, the company’s first-approved drug for the treatment of Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS).
Quarter in Detail
In the first quarter of 2020, 46 new LEMS patients were prescribed Firdapse.
Research and development (R&D) expenses of $4.2 million grew from $3.3 million reported in the year-ago quarter due to increases in headcount, medical and regulatory affairs, quality assurance programs, and expenses from Firdapse clinical trials and studies, as well as a higher non-cash employee-stock-based compensation.
During the quarter, the company almost doubled the size of its field sales force and contracted with a rare-disease, experienced inside sales agency to support the commercial efforts.
Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses totaled $10.1 million, up from $8.4 million reported in the year-ago quarter. The increase is due to additional costs from the expansion of the sales force and contracting with a rare-disease, experienced inside sales agency, and an increase in non-cash stock-based compensation.
The company ended the quarter with $101.8 million in cash and investments, up from $89.5 million at the end of the previous quarter.
Update on Firdapse
Apart from LEMS, Catalyst is working on developing Firdapse for additional indications. The company completed enrollment in a pivotal phase III study on the drug for the symptomatic treatment of MuSK-antibody positive Myasthenia Gravis. Top-line results from the same were expected in the second quarter of 2020 but are now postponed to the third quarter.
Firdapse is also being evaluated in a proof-of-concept study for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type 3 patients. Top-line results from this study are expected before the end of 2020.
A potential approval of the drug for any of the given indications will further drive revenues for the company.
The company withdrew its previously provided 2020 revenue guidance due to the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19 disruptions in the healthcare system. Catalyst had earlier projected Firdapse’s net revenues in the range of $135-$155 million for 2020.
Shares of Catalyst have gained 34.6% in the year so far against the industry’s decline of 9%.
Zacks Rank & Other Stocks to Consider
Catalyst currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
Other well-placed stocks in the sector include Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (SPPI - Free Report) , Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (TTPH - Free Report) and Concert Pharmaceuticals (CNCE - Free Report) . All these stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Spectrum’s loss per share estimates have narrowed to $1.05 from $1.17 for 2021 in the past 60 days.
Tetraphase’s loss per share estimates have narrowed to $4.52 from $6.13 for 2020 in the past 60 days.
Concert’s loss per share estimates have narrowed to $2.87 from $3.21 for 2020 in the past 60 days.
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