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Merrimack (MACK) Reports Wider-Than-Expected Loss in Q1

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Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. MACK reported a loss of $1.33 per share for the first quarter of 2018, which was wider than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of $1.28. The company had reported a loss of $2.20 in the year-ago quarter.

We remind investors that Merrimack sold its sole marketed drug, Onivyde, and a generic version of Doxil to Ipsen in April 2017. Merrimack did not generate any revenues in the quarter as it has no marketed product.

Merrimack’s shares lost 3.1% following the release of first-quarter results. Shares of Merrimack have also underperformed the industry so far this year. The stock has declined 16.9% so far this year while the industry declined 11.9%.

In the quarter, research and development expenses were down 39.4% year over year to $13.1 million due to Merrimack's refocused clinical and preclinical pipeline.

General and administrative expenses were down 23.2% year over year to $4.3 million due to reduced headcount levels.

Pipeline Updates

With the sale of Onivyde, the company can now focus its resources on the development of its three pipeline candidates — MM-121/seribantumab (heregulin-positive, locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer ("NSCLC"), MM-141/istiratumab (pancreatic cancer) and MM-310 (solid tumor).

Data from the phase II CARRIE study, evaluating MM-141 in front-line metastatic pancreatic cancer, is expected in the first half of 2018. MM-310 is being evaluated in a phase I study in solid tumors. Safety data and maximum tolerated dose is expected to be announced in the second half of 2018.

The company is conducting a phase II study, SHERLOC on MM-121 in non-small cell lung cancer.  Top-line data from the study is expected in the second half of 2018. In November 2017, the FDA granted orphan drug designation to the candidate for the treatment of heregulin-positive NSCLC.

Outlook

Per the company, cash and cash equivalents of $76.3 million as of Mar 31, 2017 and anticipated net milestone payments from Shire SHPG will be sufficient to fund its planned operations into the second half of 2019.

Our Take

With no approved products in the company’s portfolio and multiple data readouts from clinical studies slated this year, we expect investor to focus on pipeline updates from the company.

Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

 

Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Quote

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

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

A couple of better-ranked stocks in the biotech sector are Ligand Pharmaceuticals LGND, and Protagonist Therapeutics PTGX. Both the stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Ligand’s earnings per share estimates moved up from $4.40 to $4.43 and remained stable at $5.32 for 2018 and 2019, respectively, in the last 30 days. The company pulled off a positive earnings surprise in three of the last four quarters with an average beat of 24.88%. The company’s stock is up 14.9% so far this year.

Protagonist Therapeutics’ loss estimates narrowed from $1.30 to 66 cents for 2018 and from $1.99 to $1.26 for 2019 over the last 60 days. The company delivered a positive earnings surprise in three of the trailing four quarters, with an average beat of 24.95%.

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Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (LGND) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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