Why Receptos Inc. Shares Briefly Popped

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Receptos (NASDAQ: RCPT  ) , a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing therapies to treat immune disorders, briefly popped as much as 11% following its fourth-quarter earnings report after the closing bell last night, but are now up a more modest 3%.

So what: For the quarter, Receptos reported $773,000 in revenue, primarily from amortized milestone payments, and a net loss of $15.2 million, or $0.86 per share, which is significantly larger than the $4.5 million loss reported in the year-ago quarter. However, this loss of $0.86 met expectations, which is a nice change after Receptos had reported three straight quarterly losses that were much wider than expectations. The other major quarterly highlight includes the initiation of patient enrollment in a phase 3 trial involving RPC1063 in relapsing multiple sclerosis.

Now what: As you might expect with clinical-stage biotechs, their earnings reports are often non-events, and just a reason for management to further showcase a company's pipeline development. In this case, it appears that investors were pleased that Receptos' loss didn't balloon past the Street's expectations, and that it completed a sizable share offering in January which should give it ample cash to conduct its clinical research for quite some time. As for me, I'd much rather wait for the concrete data set to be released in mid-2014 surrounding RPC1063 than chase Receptos blindly higher at these levels.

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