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IVERIC bio's (ISEE) Q2 Loss Narrows, Gene Therapy in Focus

Zacks Equity Research

IVERIC bio ISEE reported loss of 35 cents per share for second-quarter 2019, narrower than the year-ago loss of 37 cents.

With no approved products in its portfolio, IVERIC bio derives revenues from milestone and other payments under collaborations. However, there were no such revenues in the quarter.

On Apr 16, the company announced that it has changed its name from Ophthotech Corporation to IVERIC bio. The company’s ticker was also changed from OPHT to ISEE.

Shares of IVERIC bio have decreased 2.5% so far this year compared with the industry’s decline of 0.4%.

Quarter in Detail

Research and development expenses in the second quarter were up 17.5% year over year to $10 million. The increase in expenses related to development of gene therapy and HtrA1 inhibitor programs was offset by lower costs associated with the Zimura programs.

General and administrative expenses decreased 17.9% from the year-ago period to $5.2 million due to lower infrastructure and operational costs.

Cash Balance

IVERIC bio’s cash balance was $106.9 million as of Jun 30, 2019 compared with $116.6 million as on Mar 31, 2019.

The company reiterated its expectation for 2019 cash and cash equivalents in the range of $80-$85 million. The estimate takes into account the impact of preclinical development, collaborative research programs for gene therapies and continuation of Zimura development.

Gene Therapy Updates

Following the change of the company’s name to IVERIC bio, it is now primarily focused on developing gene therapy programs for treating orphan inherited retinal diseases (IRDs). The company has several gene therapy candidates in pre-clinical stage.

The company expects to initiate phase I/II studies on its gene therapy candidates – IC-100 and IC-200 – in 2020 and 2021, respectively. The company will develop IC-100 for treating rhodopsin-mediated autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa (RHO-adRP), a retinal disease impacting peripheral and night vision, and IC-200 as a treatment for BEST1 related retinal diseases.

In July, the company exercised its option under the research agreement with University of Massachusetts to gain rights to develop and commercialize novel adeno-associated virus (“AAV”) minigene therapy product candidates under the miniCEP290 program, which are being developed for treating Leber congenital amaurosis type 10 (LCA10).

In July, the company expanded its gene therapy portfolio by entering into a research agreement with the University of Massachusetts to develop novel AAV gene therapy product candidates under miniUSH2A program as a treatment for USH2A-related IRDs including Usher Syndrome type 2A and USH2A-associated nonsyndromatic adRP. The agreement includes an exclusive option for IVERIC bio to gain rights to develop and commercialize the candidate.

Zimura Progress

The company’s C5 complement inhibitor candidate, Zimura, is being evaluated in several mid-stage clinical studies for the treatment of dry and wet AMD, Stargardt disease and geographic atrophy. The company remains on track to announce top-line data from the phase IIb studies on the candidate in geographic atrophy and Stargardt disease patients in the fourth quarter of 2019 and second half of 2020, respectively.

IVERIC bio Inc Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

 

IVERIC bio Inc Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

IVERIC bio Inc price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | IVERIC bio Inc Quote

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

IVERIC bio currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the pharmaceutical sector include Axovant Sciences AXGT, Alexion Pharmaceuticals ALXN and Acorda Therapeutics ACOR. While Axovantand Acorda sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Alexion carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Axovant’s loss estimates have narrowed from $7.00 to $5.34 for 2019 and from $6.48 to $3.59 for 2020 over the past 60 days.

Alexion’s earnings estimates increased from $9.50 to $9.90 for 2019 and from $10.50 to $10.74 for 2020 over the past 60 days.

Acorda’s loss estimates narrowed from $3.59 to $3.51 for 2019 and from $3.09 to $3.05 for 2020 over the past 60 days.

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