Lower Milestone Revenue Widens Isis Pharmaceuticals' Q1 Loss

Collaborative antisense drug developer Isis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ISIS  ) touted the maturation of its pipeline during its first-quarter earnings results today, but it couldn't hide the fact that both its top and bottom lines reversed course from the prior-year period.

For the quarter, Isis reported revenue of $28.2 million, down 35% from the $43.4 million reported in the year-ago quarter. The timing and nature of certain milestone payments was mostly to blame, with milestone and development revenue down from $41.7 million to $19.6 million in Q1 2014. Licensing and royalty revenue, however, soared to $8.6 million from just $1.7 million,

As you might imagine, with the company planning on ending the year with three drugs in phase 3 trials and nine in phase 2, operating expenses are going up. As Isis noted, operating expenses rose 39% to $57.8 million, primarily as a result of increased research and development spending which rose to $53.4 million from $38.3 million in the year-ago quarter.

Net loss for the quarter widened considerably in the wake of less recognized milestone revenue, landing at $31.3 million, or $0.27 per share, from $1.7 million, or $0.02 per share, in Q1 2013. Most importantly, Isis ended the quarter with a healthy $631.3 million in cash and cash equivalents, down from the $656.8 million that it ended 2013 with. For biopharmaceutical companies currently losing money, cash remaining and cash burn are two important factors to monitor.

Looking ahead, Isis pegged its full-year revenue figure at $160 million, on track with its previous guidance, with an expectation that $110 million of that total will come from milestone and development payments from its partners. It also reaffirmed its expectation for a net operating loss in the low $50 million range, and expects to end the year with more than $575 million in cash and cash equivalents.

 


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