A lot of hope is resting on Exelixis' (NASDAQ:EXEL) Cometriq as a possible treatment for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer; but tonight was all about the company's first-quarter earnings results.

For the quarter, the cancer-focused drug developer reported total revenue of $4.9 million consisting entirely of Cometriq product sales. Currently, Cometriq is only approved to treat metastatic medullary thyroid cancer. Comparably, revenue dipped by close to 50% from the prior-year period, but that was primarily due to the recognition of $7.8 million in licensing and contract revenue, which was missing in Q1 of this year. Cometriq sales totaled just $1.9 million in the year-ago period.

Research and development costs for the quarter soared 68%, to $54.8 million, as costs related to its clinical trials, as well as the need for personnel to run four phase 3 clinical studies, have increased. Exelixis notes the wind down of other studies partially offset this rise in R&D expenses.

Selling, general, and administrative costs rose by 40%, to $14.7 million, with an increase in personnel accounting for about half of the rise. The remainder of the increase related to marketing expenses for Cometriq, as well as stock-based compensation.

The end result of these higher costs was that net loss for the quarter ballooned 67%, to $74.6 million, or $0.39 per share, compared to a narrower loss of $0.24 per share in Q1 2013. Exelixis also announced that it ended the quarter with $407.7 million in cash and cash equivalents compared to $415.9 million in the sequential fourth quarter. Keep in mind its cash total includes proceeds from a 10 million share offering in January that raised approximately $75.6 million.

Sean Williams owns shares of Exelixis, but has no material interest in any other companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.

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