bluebird bio's (NASDAQ:BLUE) second-quarter financial report was fairly mundane, with no drugs generating revenue. But that will change shortly, given the recent European approval of Zynteglo to treat a blood disease called beta-thalassemia.

Bluebird results: The raw numbers

Metric

Q2 2019

Q2 2018

Change

Revenue

$13.3 million

$7.9 million

69%

Income from operations

($203 million)

($149 million)

N/A

Earnings per share

($3.55)

($2.91)

N/A

Data source: bluebird bio.

What happened with Bluebird this quarter?

  • The increase in revenue came mostly from an increase in collaboration revenue from Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG), through the two companies' pact to develop idecabtagene vicleucel (ide-cel), a chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) treatment for multiple myeloma, and the follow-on product bb21217.
  • Bluebird ended the quarter with a solid $1.54 billion in the bank.
  • In June, the European Commission approved Zynteglo for the treatment of transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia.
  • Also in June, Bluebird presented data from multiple clinical trials at the European Hematology Association's annual congress.

What management had to say

CEO Nick Leschly, who also goes by the moniker "chief bluebird," focused on the approval of Zynteglo: "With the approval of our first gene therapy, bluebird bio has entered into an exciting, and potentially transformative time for patients and for the company. We are focused on getting our qualified treatment centers up and running in Europe, ensuring we are prepared to deliver Zynteglo to patients, and advancing the implementation of our value and outcomes-based payment model."

"In the second half of the year," Leschly continued, "we are focused on executing our clinical studies as well as initiating new studies in sickle cell disease, multiple myeloma, and early stage oncology programs."

Nurse giving a patient an infusion

Image source: Getty Images.

Looking forward

Investors should look for additional data from clinical trials testing Zynteglo in transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia at the American Society of Hematology meeting in December. The blood-disease meeting will also likely have updates on LentiGlobin in sickle cell disease, and ide-cel and bb21217 in multiple myeloma.

Assuming the data remains solid, Bluebird plans start a phase 3 study of LentiGlobin in sickle cell disease later this year.