Shares Fall as Aegerion Posts Wider-than-Expected Loss

Zacks

Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (AEGR) reported fourth quarter 2013 net loss per share of 47 cents, wider than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 28 cents but narrower than the year-ago loss of 86 cents. Shares fell 7.3% after the earnings release.

Net product revenues for the quarter were $24.5 million from Juxtapid, which is the sole marketed product at Aegerion. The company did not report any revenues in the year-ago quarter. Juxtapid revenues rose sequentially by 50.3%. Revenues marginally surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $24 million.

In the fourth quarter of 2013, research and development (R&D) expenses were $8.5 million, compared with $8.6 million in the year-ago quarter. The increase in R&D spend reflects expenses related to Juxtapid's development in Japan and increased headcount in support of Aegerion’s regulatory and medical activities.

Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses swelled 108.1% year over year to $27.2 million, mainly due to a higher headcount and selling and marketing expenses for the launch of Juxtapid.

Juxtapid is approved for the treatment of patients suffering from homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH). It was launched in the U.S. in late Jan 2013. Aegerion gained EU approval in Jul 2013 under the brand name Lojuxta. Aegerion also gained marketing approval in Canada and Mexico for Juxtapid as an adjunctive treatment for adult HoFH patients. Aegerion faces challenging reimbursement environment in the EU. Lojuxta will be launched in Europe on a limited basis in 2014.

The company expects to start a therapeutic study of Juxtapid in Japanese HoFH patients in the first quarter of this year. Aegerion plans to submit the new drug application in Japan in the first half of 2015.

2013 Details

Aegerion reported 2013 loss of $2.19 per share, wider than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of $1.99 but narrower than the 2012 loss of $2.64 per share.

Full year revenues were $48.5 million, marginally beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $48 million. The company did not report any revenues in the prior year.

2014 Outlook Maintained

For 2014, Aegerion expects net revenues in the range of $190–$210 million. The Zacks Consensus Estimate currently stands at $204 million for 2014.

Aegerion carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Investors looking for better-ranked stocks in the biopharma sector may consider companies like Actelion Ltd. (ALIOF), Lannett Co., Inc. (LCI) and Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB). Actelion and Biogen carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) while Lannett holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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