Intra-Cellular Therapies (ITCI 1.56%), a biotech that specializes in therapies to treat complex psychiatric and neurologic diseases, saw its shares rise 21.4% this week through today's close, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The stock is up more than 3% so far this year.
The company released its first-quarter report on Tuesday. Revenue was $35 million, up 120% year over year. The big driver was the company's once-daily antipsychotic pill Caplyta (lumateperone).
The drug was initially approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the first quarter of 2020 as a treatment for adult schizophrenia. In late December, an additional indication, as a monotherapy or adjunct treatment for bipolar depression, was approved by the FDA. The additional indication adds about 11 million potential patients in the United States, the company said.
In Intra-Cellular's first full quarter under the added indication for Caplyta, new prescriptions were up 63% sequentially and total prescriptions were up 45%. Compared to the year-ago quarter, new prescriptions were up 154% and total prescriptions were up 134%.
That's a huge jump and makes it easier to understand investors' enthusiasm, even with the company still losing money. In the quarter, it reported a loss of $72.1 million in net income, compared to a loss of $52.7 million in the same period last year.
Investors will wait to see how much Caplyta's sales increase in the next quarter. It is the company's only marketed drug, and as a relatively new therapy, it takes time for it to be prescribed by more doctors and for the company's marketing efforts to have an effect. Those marketing costs are weighing down the company's bottom line for now, but they should level off in time as the drug becomes better known.
Only one other drug, Quetiapine, has been approved as a monotherapy to treat bipolar depression II. The added revenue for Intra-Cellular will also help it develop its drug Lenrispodun, which is in a phase 2 trial to treat symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease and heart failure.
Investors are not exactly enthusiastic these days about biotech stocks that aren't yet profitable, so it remains to be seen how long the price bump will last.