OncoGenex Posts Wider Loss, Beats Revenues


OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (OGXI) reported a loss of 59 cents per share in the first quarter of 2014, wider than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 44 cents and the year-ago loss of 46 cents per share.

First quarter 2014 revenues were $11.7 million, up 131.1% from the year-ago quarter. Revenues surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $9 million. Revenues increased due to patient enrolment and treatment in the AFFINITYstudy. OncoGenex’s revenues comprised solely of collaboration revenues.

Collaboration revenues were earned from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA) relating to OncoGenex’s agreement to develop and commercialize the oncology candidate, custirsen.

In the reported quarter, OncoGenex’s research and development expenses increased 55.7% year over year to $16.9 million. General and administrative expenses rose 10.3% year over year to $2.8 million in the first quarter of 2014.

Pipeline Update

SYNERGY, a phase III study on custirsen, evaluated the survival benefit of the candidate, in combination with first-line Taxotere, in men with metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer (:CRPC). The SYNERGY study missed the primary endpoint of a statistically significant improvement in overall survival in men with metastatic CRPC, compared to Taxotere alone. The detailed analysis is in progress.

Custirsen is also evaluated in two other phase II studies – AFFINITY and ENSPIRIT. ENSPIRIT is conducted in patients with advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (:NSCLC). The study is evaluating the potential survival benefit of custirsen plus Taxotere as second-line chemotherapy. The AFFINITY study is evaluating the overall survival benefit of custirsen plus Jevtana as second-line chemotherapy in patients with metastatic CRPC. OncoGenex expects to complete enrolment in this study by the end of 2014.

Our Take

The first quarter was quite disappointing for OncoGenex as the SYNERGY study failed to meet its primary endpoint and the company reported a wider-than-expected loss. We expect investor focus to remain on the two other phase III studies, ENSPIRIT and AFFINITY, evaluating custirsen.

OncoGenex carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Investors looking for better-ranked stocks in the biopharma sector may consider companies like Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ALXN) and Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD), both carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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