What happened

Shares of Corcept Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CORT), a California-based drug developer that focuses on treating severe metabolic, oncologic, and psychiatric diseases, tumbled as much as 18% during Friday's trading session following the release of its third-quarter operating results after the closing bell on Thursday. As you can probably infer from the move lower, Corcept's earnings report disappointed investors.

So what

For the quarter, Corcept Therapeutics reported a 97% increase in year-over-year revenue, to $42.8 million. This surge in sales is a result of organic sales growth from its lone Food and Drug Administration-approved product, Korlym, a treatment for Cushing's syndrome. Comparatively, Wall Street was only looking for Corcept to report $41.6 million in sales.

A businessman touching the quarterly report tab on a digital screen.

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The issue was related to the company's reported quarterly adjusted profit of $17.4 million, or $0.11 per share. While this was leaps and bounds ahead of the adjusted $0.02 in earnings per share (EPS) reported in the year-ago quarter, Wall Street had been looking for an adjusted profit of $0.13 per share. Operating expenses rose by 56% year over year as a result of increasing stock-based compensation, pharmacy costs related to higher revenue, and increased spending on the company's pipeline.

Corcept also updated its full-year guidance and offered a rough timeline for clinical-data readouts for experimental medicines in its pipeline. For the year, the company anticipates reporting $157 million to $162 million in sales, which is higher than the $151 million that Wall Street had been projecting.

In terms of clinical highlights, the company's phase 2 trial involving glucocorticoid receptor agonist relacorilant (formerly CORT125134) for Cushing's syndrome should yield a top-line readout during the first quarter of 2018, while results of its phase 1 study involving CORT118335 are expected in the second quarter next year.

Now what

While I'm sure investors aren't too pleased that Corcept missed Wall Street's quarterly EPS expectations for the first time in the past six quarters, the double-digit percentage dip in the company's stock may present an intriguing opportunity for long-term investors.

Dollar signs inside prescription pill packaging.

Image source: Getty Images.

According to Wall Street pundits, Korlym could offer a peak sales potential of around $300 million, meaning there's still room for sales to double from their 2017 levels. Though one-drug companies come with inherent risks, Corcept could sit back and remain profitable for a long time by just riding Korlym's success.

More importantly, though, the company generated $9 million in additional cash during the quarter, bringing its cash and investments total to $76.7 million. Even with increased investment in its pipeline, Corcept conceivably could generate $50 million to $70 million in annual free cash flow from Korlym at its peak, in my opinion. This cash would allow Corcept to either go on the hunt for acquisitions in order to inorganically diversify its pipeline, or serve as a dangling carrot to attract a larger suitor looking to add a specialty medicine to its own portfolio.

At the very least, the recent decline in Corcept Therapeutics should merit a watchlist add for growth-seeking investors.

Sean Williams has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.