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Pharmacyclics posts bigger 1Q loss on stock costs

SUNNYVALE, Calif. (AP) -- Cancer drug developer Pharmacyclics Inc. said Wednesday that it had a bigger loss in the first quarter as its costs increased.

Pharmacyclics said costs increased with the timing of stock option grants, growth in its share price, and hiring employees. The company is developing the cancer drug ibrutinib with a unit of Johnson & Johnson. Its share price has nearly tripled in value over the last year, and it has hired about a third of its employees over the last six months of 2012.

Pharmacyclics said it lost $51.9 million, or 73 cents per share, in the latest quarter, after a loss of $12.8 million, or 19 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2012. It lost 40 cents per share in the most recent quarter, if one-time items are excluded, compared with 14 cents per share a year ago. Revenue rose to $2.8 million from $1.9 million.

Analysts expected a loss of 17 cents per share and $2.5 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Pharmacyclics doesn't have any approved drugs. With Janssen Biotech it is conducting clinical trials of ibrutinib as a treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, mantle cell lymphoma, and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

The company said its stock-based compensation costs grew by about $20 million to $23.6 million compared to a year ago.

In early April Janssen paid Pharmacyclics $50 million after it enrolled the fifth patient in a late-stage trial of ibrutinib as a treatment for chronic lymphocytic lymphoma and small lymphocytic lymphoma. As a result of that payment the company said it will be near break-even for the second quarter and the full year.

Shares of Pharmacyclics fell $5.25, or 6.4 percent, to $76.25 on Wednesday. Prior to that decline the stock had tripled in value over the last 12 months.