Ariad Pharmaceuticals' Loss Shrinks 23% as Iclusig Revenue Rises

Controversial small-cap biopharmaceutical company Ariad Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ARIA  ) took steps in the right direction to rebuilding its Iclusig brand this morning with the release of its first-quarter earnings results.

For the quarter, total revenue surged 82% to $11.8 million and included $8 million in sales of its leukemia drug Iclusig -- which was temporarily pulled from markets late last year for a couple of weeks and relabeled with more inclusive safety warnings – up 25% from the prior year. Per its press release, $4.7 million in sales came from the U.S. and $3.3 million from Europe. Ariad also noted $3.1 million in deferred revenue not yet reported, including $1.3 million in inventory waiting to be shipped from pharmacies to patients, and $1.8 million shipped to France despite the fact that reimbursement pricing negotiations are still ongoing.

In addition to product revenue, Ariad recorded $3.8 million in licensing revenue reflecting a $3.75 million milestone payment from Medinol for the licensing of ridaforolimus.

Research and development expenses shrank considerably during the quarter, partially as a result of the clinical hold placed on Iclusig by the FDA last year. R&D costs totaled just $28.6 million, down 31% from the prior-year period, as a reduction in clinical-trial costs, primarily the absence of its EPIC trial, which was shelved in October, led to the lower costs. Selling, general and administrative costs jumped 7% to $31.6 million and reflect the marketing effort put toward relaunching Iclusig at home and in new countries abroad.

Net loss for the quarter, inclusive of higher sales and lower costs, dipped 23% to $49.8 million, or $0.27 per share, from $64.7 million, or $0.36 per share in the year-ago period. Ariad announced that it ended the quarter with $183 million in cash and cash equivalents, down from $237.2 million in the sequential fourth quarter. 


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