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Esperion (ESPR) Beats on Q3 Earnings, Lowers Expense Guidance

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Esperion Therapeutics, Inc. ESPR incurred a loss per share of $2.62 per share for the third quarter of 2021, narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of $2.86 per share. The company had recorded earnings of $3.07 per share in the year-ago period.

The company generated revenues of $14.4 million, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $12.31 million. The company had recorded revenues of $3.8 million in the year-ago quarter.

Shares of Esperion were however down 7.4% in pre-market trading on Nov 2. In fact, Esperion’s stock has lost 58.2% so far this year compared with the industry’s 11.1% decrease.

Zacks Investment Research
Zacks Investment Research

Image Source: Zacks Investment Research

Quarter in Details

Esperion launched its first commercial drug — Nexletol — in March 2020 followed by Nexlizet in June in the United States. While Nexletol is a bempedoic acid monotherapy tablet, Nexlizet is a combination of bempedoic acid and Merck’s MRK Zetia (ezetimibe) that are approved for treating elevated LDL-C (bad cholesterol).

Both these drugs received approval in Europe in April 2020. In Europe, Nexletol is available as Nilemdo and Nexlizet as Nustendi. Daiichi Sankyo, Esperion’s collaboration partner for Europe, launched the drugs in Germany in November 2020. Esperion records royalty on sales of its drugs in Europe.

Product revenues, solely from the United States, were $10.9 million in the third quarter compared with $3.3 million in the year-ago quarter and $10.3 million in the previous quarter. The company stated that prescriptions for its drugs were up 10% year over year.

The company recorded royalty revenues of $1.2 million during the reported quarter, compared with $1 million in the previous quarter. The drugs continued to show strong momentum in Europe. The item was included in Collaboration revenues, which were $3.5 million during the third quarter, compared with $0.5 million in the year-ago quarter.

Research and development (R&D) expenses decreased 28.3% from the year-ago period to $25.3 million due to lower clinical activities.

Selling, general and administrative expenses (SG&A) were down 19.5% year over year to $39.3 million.

As of Sep 30, 2021, Esperion had cash, cash equivalents and investment securities of $153.7 million compared with $219.2 million as of Jun 30, 2021.

Restructuring Plans

Last month, Esperion announced a plan to align its operational and expense structure, which will help the company to deliver better growth. The company plans targeted program savings and will reduce 40% of its workforce to lower its operating expense.

The company plans to streamline its sales force, and target cardiologists and primary care physicians for the promotion of its marketed drugs. It made the decision after a systematic review and is currently planning to focus on the commercialization of its two drugs as well as on the ongoing CLEAR Outcomes study, a CVOT study, evaluating Nexletol and Nexlizet in patients who have statin intolerability.

Guidance for 2021 & 2022

Esperion lowered its guidance for R&D and SG&A costs in 2021 and provided a new guidance for 2022. The company anticipates R&D expense for 2021 to be in the range of $110-$115 million compared with $120-$130 million expected previously. SG&A expense is expected to be between $195 million and $200 million, down from the previous expectation of $200-$210 million.

The company expects R&D expense for 2022 to be in the range of $100-$110 million, while SG&A expense is expected to be between $120 million and $130 million.

Esperion Therapeutics, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Esperion Therapeutics, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
Esperion Therapeutics, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Esperion Therapeutics, Inc. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Esperion Therapeutics, Inc. Quote

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Esperion currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A couple of better-ranked stocks from the same sector include Xencor XNCR and Neurocrine Biosciences NBIX. While Xencor sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Neurocrine carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Xencor’s loss per share estimates have narrowed from 75 cents to 33 cents for 2021 and from $3.14 to $2.92 for 2022 in the past 30 days. The stock has risen 3.1% so far this year.

Neurocrine’s earnings per share estimates have moved north from $1.89 to $1.93 for 2021 and from $3.64 to $3.68 for 2022 in the past 30 days. The stock has risen 10.8% so far this year.


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