Peregrine Pharmaceuticals' Q4 Loss Narrower than Expected

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Peregrine Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (PPHM) reported a net loss of 6 cents per share in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014 (ended Apr 30, 2014), narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 8 cents. The fourth quarter loss was in line with the year-ago loss.

Revenues increased 52.2% to $6.5 million, much above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4 million.

Peregrine Pharma’s net loss for fiscal 2014 of 22 cents per share was in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate but narrower than the year-ago loss of 25 cents per share. Revenues for the fiscal year increased 3.3% to $22.4 million, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $21 million.

Quarter in Detail

Avid Bioservices, a Peregrine Pharma subsidiary, posted contract manufacturing revenues of $6.5 million during the quarter, up 55.0% year over year. For fiscal 2014, Peregrine Pharma reported contract manufacturing revenues of $22.3 million, above its guided range of $18−$22 million. For fiscal 2015, the company expects contract manufacturing revenues in the $19−$23 million range.

Peregrine Pharma’s total costs and expenses increased 33.7% during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014 to $17 million, primarily due to higher research and development (R&D) expenses. R&D expenses increased 51% to $6.5 million. Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses were up 19.0% to $3.8 million.

Pipeline Update

Peregrine Pharma’s lead pipeline candidate, bavituximab, is being developed for multiple oncology indications including the treatment of second-line non-small cell lung cancer (:NSCLC). Bavituximab has received Fast Track designation from the FDA for the NSCLC indication.

The company is conducting a pivotal phase III study, SUNRISE (Stimulating ImmUne RespoNse thRough BavItuximab in a PhaSE III Lung Cancer Study), on bavituximab for second-line NSCLC. The study will enroll approximately 600 patients by the end of 2015. The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase III trial will compare bavituximab in combination with Sanofi’s (SNY) Taxotere (docetaxel) to Taxotere and placebo.  

Apart from NSCLC, bavituximab is being developed for other oncology indications including HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer (phase I – final data expected in fiscal 2015), advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (phase I/II), treatment naïve stage IV NSCLC (phase Ib – additional data expected in fiscal 2015), advanced melanoma (phase Ib) and stage II/III rectal adenocarcinoma (phase I).

Our Take

We are pleased with the higher-than-expected revenues and narrower-than-expected loss in the reported quarter. We expect investor focus to remain on updates pertaining to bavituximab. The successful development and commercialization of bavituximab would be a major positive for Peregrine Pharma, which currently has no approved drug.

Peregrine Pharma carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the health sector include BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (BMRN) and Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB), each carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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