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Why BioCryst Shares Crashed

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What: Shares of BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: BCRX  ) fell nearly 20% before lunchtime today, but have since recovered and cling to a more modest loss of 4.51% as of market close. The company's third-quarter earnings report was the culprit; both top and bottom lines sank.

So what: BioCryst's revenue for the third quarter fell substantially year-over-year, to $2.4 million from $5.8 million. The earlier result was primarily buoyed by deferred royalty revenue, but BioCryst had no similar way to boost its revenue this quarter, and, as analysts were expecting $5.8 million on the top line, this was a major disappointment. BioCryst's net loss, at $0.14 per share, was better than the year-ago quarter's $0.19 loss per share, but was nonetheless weaker than the $0.11 loss analysts had expected. The company also cut its R&D spending, which is not usually a positive sign for a development-stage drug company.

Now what: The company is still moving forward with peramivir NDA, an influenza treatment, and will probably submit the drug for Food and Drug Administration approval before the end of the year. However, that appears to be insufficient for investors, who have been spooked by today's weak results. BioCryst's other drugs are still far from reaching the market, and there was no major update on their progress through various trial stages in this report. A tiny biotech company will have short-term financial fluctuations like this; investors need to decide whether the long-term opportunity in BioCryst's drugs outweighs this present instability.

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