Sarepta Therapeutics Q4 Loss More Than Triples on a Doubling in Expenses

Clinical-stage RNA-based therapeutics developer Sarepta Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SRPT  ) reported its fourth-quarter earnings results before the opening bell this morning, highlighting significantly higher expenses and a widened quarterly loss.

For the quarter, revenue fell 64% to $2.63 million due to the discontinuation of the Ebola portion of its Ebola-Marburg U.S. government contract. Sarepta also notes that while the Marburg portion was unaffected by this termination, revenue from this portion decreased during the quarter due to the timing of certain activities throughout the life of the contract. Declines from this contract were slightly offset by revenue obtained in the EU from its SKIP-NMD agreement, which is researching an exon 53 skipping therapeutic.

Adjusted net loss for the quarter more than tripled to $29.1 million, or $0.77 per share, from $8.9 million, or $0.34 per share, in the year-ago quarter. Sarepta notes that the combination of lower revenue and significantly higher expenses due to corporate growth widened its loss. Specifically, research and development expenses jumped 95% to $25.1 million while general and administrative costs soared 114% to $10.4 million.

With much of the company's valuation tied to eteplirsen, its Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug hopeful, investors will also want to note that CEO Chris Garabedian anticipates, "continued discussions with the FDA to gain clarity in the coming weeks on the clinical path forward for eteplirsen."

As with all clinical-stage biopharmaceutical companies, cash and cash burn are important. Sarepta ended the fiscal year with $264.9 million in cash, cash equivalents, and restricted investments. This compares favorably with the $187.7 million it ended fiscal 2012 with, and was bumped higher primarily by the $125 million it raised in an at-the-market share offering of 3.4 million shares in July.

Looking ahead toward fiscal 2014, Sarepta is forecasting a loss from operations of $110 million-$120 million, which is fairly consistent with the $112 million loss reported for fiscal 2013 this morning.

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