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What's Behind Clovis Oncology's Mixed Q4 Results

By Keith Speights - Feb 25, 2020 at 6:00AM

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Sales of cancer drug Rubraca were higher than expected -- but so were the drugmaker's spending levels.

It's hard to know if investors were really worried about Clovis Oncology's (CLVS 58.33%) Q4 update or simply concerned about the broader market pullback coming into this week. Either way, the biotech's shares fell nearly 12% on Monday before closing 9.82% lower.

Clovis announced its 2019 fourth-quarter and full-year results after the market closed on Monday. And those results were mixed, causing the stock to fall even further in after-hours trading. Here are the highlights from Clovis' Q4 update.

Hand wearing a blue glove holding a beaker with a $100 bill in it and hundred dollar bills underneath it

Image source: Getty Images.

By the numbers

Clovis announced fourth-quarter revenue of $39.3 million, a 29% increase from the $30.4 million reported in the same quarter of the previous year. This result was also higher than the average analysts' revenue estimate of $38.97 million.

The company reported a net loss of $99.5 million, or $1.81 per share, based on generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Clovis' GAAP net loss in the prior-year period was $99.3 million, or $1.88 per share. Wall Street analysts estimated that the company would post a net loss of $1.71 per share in the quarter.

Clovis ended the fourth quarter with cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments of $161.8 million. The company's net cash used in operating activities during Q4 totaled $70.1 million.

Behind the numbers

All of Clovis' revenue in Q4 was generated by its ovarian cancer drug, Rubraca. Most of the drug's sales ($36.1 million) were made in the U.S., with $3.2 million in international markets. The company's year-over-year revenue growth, however, came from outside the United States.

Clovis' revenue was weighed down somewhat by the free drugs that its distributed to eligible U.S. patients through its Rubraca patient assistance program. The company stated that this program accounted for 18% of overall U.S. commercial supply in Q4, or around $8 million in commercial value, versus 20%, or around $9 million, in the third quarter of 2019.

The company's year-over-year revenue growth in Q4, though, was wiped out by its increased spending. Operating expenses climbed nearly 3% from the prior-year period to nearly $131 million. Interest expense rose to $6.72 million from $3.59 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. Income tax expense also increased from $888,000 in Q4 of 2018 to $2.38 million in Q4 of 2019.

Looking ahead

There are two key things that drive biotech stocks -- commercial success and pipeline progress. Clovis should have developments on both fronts in 2020.

The company has launched Rubraca in Germany, England, Italy, and France already, but it's still in the early stages of those rollouts. Clovis expects to launch the drug in Spain in the near future.

Perhaps the biggest thing to watch for, though, is the anticipated FDA approval of Rubraca in BRCA1/2-mutant recurrent, metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer. An FDA decision is expected by May 15, 2020. In addition, Clovis should report initial results from its lucitanib combo studies in 2020 targeting solid tumors.

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