Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of Amarin (NASDAQ:AMRN), a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing therapies to treat cardiovascular diseases, spiked higher by as much as 17% after reporting its third-quarter earnings results and providing an operational update.
So what: For the quarter, Amarin reported total product revenue of $8.4 million, which is entirely from the sale of high-triglyceride-reducing medication Vascepa compared to no reported revenue at this time last year. Total prescriptions written for Vascepa improved by 58% over the sequential second quarter to 74,576. Adjusted net loss grew slightly during the quarter to $43 million, or $0.25 per share, from the $39.4 million, or $0.26 per share loss, in the year-ago period (the EPS loss is lower due to more shares now outstanding). This represents a smaller loss than the $0.32 per share that was forecast by Wall Street analysts. Amarin also announced its intentions to appeal the FDA's recent decision to rescind its special protocol assessment for Vascepa in the Anchor trial, which, if approved, would have greatly expanded Vascepa's target audience.
Now what: Although Vascepa prescriptions were up notably in the sequential quarter, I wouldn't get too excited here. Amarin goes on to note in its press release that the Reduce-IT safety trial that it'll be running on some 6,000 patients around the globe is going to cost about $100 million and isn't likely to be completed until sometime in 2017. Amarin had been counting on an expanded indication of Vascepa via the Anchor trial to help fund this study, but that appears to be a lost cause now. What this means for shareholders is that Amarin's future could very well be in question. It will probably need to reduce staffing to conserve cash and somewhat regularly raise cash to fund its studies which could mean the potential for secondary offerings. This is a situation that has "avoid" stamped all over it.