Wider-than-Expected Loss at Endocyte

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Endocyte, Inc. (ECYT) reported first quarter 2013 net loss per share of 11 cents, wider than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 5 cents but narrower than  the year-ago loss of 27 cents.

First quarter 2013 revenues were $14.5 million compared with no revenues in the first quarter 2012. Revenues comprised solely of collaboration revenues. Revenues surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $14 million.

In the reported quarter, research and development expenses were $12.3 million, up 92.2%. The company’s effort to develop its pipeline was primarily responsible for the increase. In the reported quarter, general and administrative (G&A) expenses jumped 103.2% to $6.3 million. The increase was attributable to establishing commercial capability. An increase in compensation expenses was also responsible for pushing G&A costs up.

In 2012, Endocyte submitted a marketing authorization application (MAA) seeking approval for vintafolide for platinum-resistant ovarian cancer. The company is also seeking EU approval for a folate-targeted molecular imaging agent, etarfolatide. Both were granted orphan drug status in the EU in 2012. The company expects a decision from the European Commission on both candidates in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Endocyte and its partner Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK) will initiate a phase II randomized trial on vintafolide in folate receptor-positive triple negative breast cancer in the fourth quarter of 2013.

For its folate-targeted tubulysin therapeutic, Endocyte will file an investigational new drug (IND) application and initiate a study in the third quarter of 2013.

Endocyte maintained its cash, cash equivalents and investments guidance in the range of $145 - $160 million as on Dec 31, 2013.

Endocyte carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Currently, companies like Lannett Company, Inc. (LCI) and Catalyst Pharmaceutical Partners Inc. (CPRX)  look more attractive with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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