Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Momenta Continues to Rebuild

By Brian Orelli, PhD – Updated Apr 20, 2019 at 6:03PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

The biotech is waiting for proof-of-concept data expected next year.

Momenta Pharmaceuticals' (MNTA) fourth-quarter earnings were about as rough as the rest of its 2018, a year in which the biotech needed to restructure and cut about half its workforce. With ongoing competition leading to paltry sales of Glatopa, its generic version of Teva Pharmaceutical's Copaxone, Momenta's investors should be focused on the pipeline.

Momenta results: The raw numbers


Q4 2018

Q4 2017

Year-Over-Year Change


$42.8 million

$64.6 million


Income from operations

($9.7 million)

$12.6 million


Earnings per share




Data source: Momenta Pharmaceuticals.

What happened with Momenta this quarter?

  • Product revenue from sales of Glatopa products by its partner Novartis (NVS -0.73%) were only down slightly year over year -- $11 million versus $13 million. The rest of the year-over-year decline in revenue was due to reimbursement for research and development costs, which can vary from quarter to quarter.
  • On the pipeline front, Momenta has started phase 2 studies for M281 in two immunological conditions: myasthenia gravis and hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn. The phase 1 portion of a phase 1/2 study testing M254 in healthy volunteers also started recently; the phase 2 portion will enroll patients with a blood disorder called immune thrombocytopenia. A third program partnered with CSL, which Momenta calls M230 and CSL calls CSL730, is also in phase 1 development, with data expected this year.
  • The company ended the year with $449 million in the bank, putting it in good shape to weather the marathon ahead.
Scientist working in a lab.

Image source: Getty Images.

What management had to say

It was a difficult decision for Momenta to restructure and focus on its pipeline, but Craig Wheeler, Momenta's president and CEO, noted that the company now has "sufficient capital to fund our novel programs to key proof of concept without any additional significantly dilutive capital raises ahead of [proof-of-concept] data expected in 2020."

There's also potential to extend the runway a little further by licensing M923, the company's biosimilar to Humira. Chief business officer Young Kwon hinted that the company would be willing to take lower royalties -- or perhaps no royalties at all -- in exchange for more up-front cash to fund its operations:

I think there's kind of a balance between our objectives. Having a share of the value downstream is certainly helpful to the long-term value creation in terms of providing cash flow to the company and, call it, the midterm. However, we certainly would, I think, value -- and maybe even prioritize -- kind of early and near-term milestones in order to help kind of continue to capitalize the company as we pursue both these studies that we're conducting now, as well as the studies in phase 3 that we hope to enter, pending positive clinical readouts.

Check out the latest earnings call transcripts for companies we cover.    

Looking forward

With multiple drugs in relatively early-stage development, it's likely to be a slow news year for Momenta on the pipeline front. While some safety data may be released this year, the next big event is likely to come from M254, which is scheduled to read out proof-of-concept data in the first half of 2020.

There's also potential for the aforementioned deal for a marketing partner for M923, but the drug can't be launched until 2023 due to patents AbbVie claims on the branded drug, so potential partners may not be in a rush to sign on the dotted line.

Brian Orelli has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Momenta Pharmaceuticals. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Stock Quote
Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Novartis AG Stock Quote
Novartis AG
$76.01 (-0.73%) $0.56

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 10/01/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.