What happened?

On Wednesday morning, Biotech company Esperion Therapeutics (ESPR -6.49%) released unaudited preliminary results for the fourth quarter of its fiscal year 2020. However, investors don't seem too impressed with these results and they are selling off shares of the drugmaker as a result. As of 1:13 p.m. EST, Esperion Therapeutics' stock is down by 11.4%, after dropping by as much as 12.5% earlier in the day. 

So what

Esperion Therapeutics thinks its revenue for the fourth quarter will be between $8 million and $8.5 million. The biotech only reported $982,000 in revenue during the comparable period of the previous fiscal year, which it generated thanks to collaboration agreements. Esperion Therapeutics had no products on the market in 2019, but it earned a couple of approvals from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2020.

Man holding his head in panic looking at a downward-bound graph.

Image source: Getty Images.

The launch of these products explains why the company's projected top line for the fourth quarter of 2020 looks like a substantial improvement over Q4 2019. Even so, Esperion Therapeutics' revenue for the quarter will come far short of the $41.7 million analysts are expecting on average. This may explain why investors are not impressed with the company's preliminary fourth-quarter results. 

What now

It wasn't all bad news for Esperion Therapeutics. Along with its preliminary financial results, the biotech also announced that in December, it acquired an oral PCSK9 inhibitor pipeline candidate from a privately held company called Serometrix. PCSK9 inhibitors are a type of medicine that can lower cholesterol in the blood and are typically administered by subcutaneous injection.

Esperion Therapeutics thinks an oral version has a shot at being highly successful. The company paid $12.5 million in cash for this program, and there could be future additional payments based on specific milestones. However, given that this candidate is still early in its development process, investors shouldn't put too much stock into it.