What happened

Shares of Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:KERX) dropped nearly 20% last month, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The pharma company announced second-quarter and first-half 2018 results that included disappointing sales revenue for its only drug, Auryxia. As a result, sales lagged behind consensus estimates despite delivering strong year-over-year growth.

So what

Keryx Biopharmaceuticals reported Auryxia sales of $24.1 million in the second quarter of 2018, which compared favorably with just $14.1 million in the year-ago period. The company delivered first-half 2018 total revenue of $47.5 million, including a $2.8 million bump from licensing revenue, which marked healthy growth compared with $26.9 million in the first half of 2017. 

A finger pointing to a chart showing losses on a touchscreen.

Image source: Getty Images.

However, the average of Wall Street estimates called for $26.6 million in second-quarter 2018 revenue. Keryx Biopharmaceuticals also whiffed on EPS, delivering a loss of of $0.18 compared with an expectation for a loss of $0.14 per share during the most recent quarter. 

While missing Wall Street estimates is generally not that worrisome, investors shouldn't dismiss that the company's revenue totals are a reflection of Auryxia sales. Similarly, analyst expectations are really based on the number of prescriptions Wall Street thinks are possible or likely. The drug is still not meeting expectations despite being on pace for nearly $100 million in annual revenue in 2018.

Now what

Keryx Biopharmaceuticals just can't seem to catch a break. Not that long ago, Auryxia had the pace of its commercialization delayed by third-party manufacturing hiccups. Now, Wall Street is setting a high bar for prescription expectations. The company is hoping to turn over a new leaf by merging with fellow kidney disease specialist Akebia Therapeutics, but Wall Street isn't thrilled about that move, either.

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