Peregrine's Loss Shrinks As It Prepares Its Lead Drug for Phase 3 Enrollment

Small-cap biopharmaceutical company Peregrine Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: PPHM  ) reported its second-quarter results after the bell, and unsurprisingly, the primary focus was on the development of its lead experimental drug, bavituximab.

For the quarter, Peregrine reported a 19.8% increase in revenue to $7.35 million, compared with $6.14 million in the year-ago period, as the company saw a 21% increase in contract manufacturing revenue from its subsidiary, Avid Biosciences. As you might also have suspected, the additional clinical studies of bavituximab boosted expenses by 14.9% to $15.17 million, but still allowed Peregrine to report a smaller loss of just $7.79 million, or $0.05 per share, compared to its $8.75 million loss, or $0.08 per share last year.

The real excitement was created from Peregrine's announcement that it remains on track to begin enrolling patients in its phase 3 Sunrise trial testing bavituximab as a second-line treatment for non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) by the end of the year. The trial will consist of some 600 patients globally, and pit bavituximab plus docetaxel against a control arm of docetaxel and a placebo.

In preparation for the expense of a large patient study, Peregrine has boosted its quarter-end cash position to $44.4 million from the $35.2 million it boasted two quarters ago.

In addition to being a potential second-line NSCLC treatment, Peregrine notes that it is exploring a number of investigator-sponsored trials which could include combining bavituximab with Amgen and Bayer's Nexavar to treat liver cancer, or in combination with paclitaxel to tackle breast cancer. Peregrine also mentioned the potential for a combination therapy with PD-1 antibody or CTLA-4 targeted therapies.

Shares were up 7% in after-hours as of this writing.

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