As a start-up biotech, AnaptysBio Inc. (NASDAQ:ANAB) didn't feel it necessary to conduct an earnings call after reporting first-quarter results after the bell on Tuesday. The company didn't record any revenue during the first three months of the year, but it did shore up the case for its lead assets.

AnaptysBio Inc. results: The raw numbers

Metric Q1 2018 Q1 2017 Year-Over-Year Change
Revenue N/A N/A N/A
Income from operations ($15.78 million) ($9.99 million) N/A
Earnings per share ($0.63) ($0.75) N/A

Data source: AnaptysBio Inc.

What happened with AnaptysBio Inc. this quarter?

  • The company reported updated data from an ongoing study with its lead candidate, ANB020, for the treatment of eczema. Highlights include a 50% improvement at 29 days for 10 of 12 patients treated with a single dose of the experimental therapy.
  • The ANB020 program kicked into high gear with the initiation of a 300-patient placebo-controlled study. We should know if we've been deceived by outliers in the last group of 12 after the phase 2b produces data in 2019.
  • Anaptys also reported proof-of-concept data from an ongoing study with a small number of peanut allergy patients. After receiving a single dose of ANB020, just one in 15 patients reported allergic symptoms that overlap with peanut allergy, versus four out of five in the placebo group. 
  • Ramping up development activity raised R&D expenses to $11.8 million during the first quarter, a 49% increase over the same period last year.
  • At the end of March, there was an impressive $310 million in cash, cash equivalents, and investments on the balance sheet. 
Laboratory worker inspecting a flask with liquid in it.

Image source: Getty Images.

What management had to say

Since AnaptysBio has no revenue yet, pipeline development is far more important to the company than quarterly financials. With this in mind, Hamza Suria, president and CEO, was keen to highlight some important milestones investors can look for in the quarters ahead:

We have a number of additional clinical milestones approaching, including top-line Phase 2a data from our ANB020 eosinophilic asthma trial and advancement of our ANB019 Phase 2 trials in patients with generalized pustular psoriasis and palmoplantar pustulosis, which are all important steps toward bringing our novel treatments to patients with severe inflammatory diseases.

Looking forward

Although AnaptysBio has discovered candidates aimed at the familiar PD-1 checkpoint for two partners, Tesaro and Celgene, its unique proprietary programs are driving the stock's value right now. ANB020 and ANB019 could carve out lucrative niches for themselves as the first drugs to aim at IL-33 and IL-36 cytokines, respectively, but uncharted waters are terribly dangerous. We saw impressive results from ANB020 from a small number of eczema patients, and we still don't have any human efficacy data for ANB019 because its first trial recruited healthy volunteers.

Pustular psoriasis isn't nearly as common as the plaque variety, but I'll be watching intently for data from a 10-patient study with ANB019 that the company began in the first quarter. IL-36 is implicated in pustular psoriasis and the far more common plaque variety. If the human proof-of-concept trial is a success, Anaptys could find itself with a second wholly owned drug ready for mid-stage development just a couple of years after the company's initial public offering.

Cory Renauer owns shares of Celgene. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Celgene. The Motley Fool recommends AnaptysBio. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.