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Ariad takes bigger 3Q loss on cancer drug costs

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) -- Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Wednesday that it took a bigger loss in the third quarter as it continued development of its experimental cancer drug ponatinib.

The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing ponatinib for use against treatment-resistant chronic myeloid leukemia and for patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia with a type of chromosome abnormality. Ariad is conducting a variety of studies of ponatinib and is testing a second drug, AP26113, as a treatment for lung cancer and other types of tumors.

In the third quarter the company said it lost $53.2 million, or 32 cents per share. A year ago it reported a profit of $13.9 million, or 10 cents per share, in the same period. During last year's quarter, Merck & Co. made a $25 million payment to Ariad after filing for European Union approval of ridaforolimus, a cancer pill Ariad developed and sold to Merck. Ariad reported $85,000 in revenue in the third quarter of 2012.

Analysts expected the company to take a loss of 32 cents per share and $300,000 in revenue, according to FactSet.

Ariad's research and development costs nearly doubled compared to a year ago, rising to $38.8 million from $19.7 million. Its general and administrative spending more than doubled to $14.5 million.

The FDA is scheduled to make a decision on ponatinib by March 27, and Ariad expects a ruling from the EU during the third quarter of 2013. European Union regulators have not approved ridaforolimus and the FDA said earlier this year that it would not approve the drug without additional testing.

Shares of Ariad Pharmaceuticals lost 90 cents, or 4.1 percent, to $21.19 in afternoon trading as the markets slumped on Wednesday.