Wider-Than-Expected Loss at Athersys

Zacks

Athersys, Inc.’s (ATHX) first quarter 2013 adjusted net loss of 13 cents per share was wider than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 10 cents. Lower-than-expected revenues were primarily responsible for the wider-than-expected loss. The company suffered an adjusted loss of 19 cents per share in the year-ago quarter.

Revenues in the first quarter of 2013 came in at $0.3 million compared to $2.7 million a year ago. The massive year-over-year decline was attributable to the $2.4 million reduction in contract revenues pertaining to Athersys’ agreement with Pfizer Inc. (PFE).  We note that the Pfizer-related contract revenues comprised amortization of collaboration payments over an estimated performance period. The period came to an end in Jun 2012. Revenues in the first quarter of 2013 fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2 million.

Research and development (R&D) expenses for the first quarter of 2013 were flat at $5.6 million. R&D expenses included $2.5 million of clinical and preclinical development costs and personnel expenses of $1.3 million. Athersys stated that it does not expect 2013 R&D expenses to be significantly above 2012 levels ($19.6 million) unless additional funds for pipeline development are received.

General administrative expenses at Athersys climbed 15.4% to $1.5 million in the first quarter of 2013. Higher legal and professional fees led to the increase.

Athersys, which focuses mainly on the area of regenerative medicine, carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Companies such as Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc. (CBST) and Celgene Corporation (CELG) appear to be more attractive with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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