Wider-than-Expected Loss at Pacira

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Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (PCRX) reported third quarter 2013 net loss per share of 44 cents, wider than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 36 cents but narrower than the year-ago loss of 49 cents.

Third quarter revenues rose 174% year over year to $23.3 million, marginally above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $22 million.

Net revenues included product revenues, collaborative licensing and development revenue and royalty revenues. Net Exparel revenues were $20 million, up 31.6% sequentially. Exparel, indicated for administration into the surgical site to produce postsurgical analgesia, was launched in Apr 2012. In the first year of launch, it generated revenues of $25.1 million.

At the end of the reported quarter, 1,732 customers ordered Exparel since its launch. Pacira reported an average of 23 new customers per week in the reported quarter.

Enrolment for a phase IV study in lower abdominal soft tissue surgeries is in progress. The program will evaluate the timing of the procedure as well as the dose and volume of Exparel, while measuring the opioid-sparing opportunity. Data from the study is expected by the end of 2013 or early 2014.

On Oct 1, 2013, Pacira joined forces with CrossLink Bioscience for the promotion of Exparel for postsurgical pain management. Under the five-year agreement, CrossLink will act as a local agent and a lead partner in the collaboration with additional distributors in selected markets across the U.S. to promote and sell Exparel.

Research and development expenses soared 69.3% year over year to $6 million. Selling, generaland administrative expenses increased 34.6% year over year to $15.3 million.

Pacira carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Currently, companies like Actelion Ltd. (ALIOF), AMAG Pharmaceuticals Inc. (AMAG) and Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ISIS) look well-positioned with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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