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Prothena's (PRTA) Q1 Earnings Beat Estimates, Revenues Miss

Zacks Equity Research

Prothena Corporation PRTA reported mixed results for the first quarter of 2019. The company reported a loss of 52 cents per share, narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 60 cents and the year-ago quarter’s loss of $1.26.

Quarterly revenues came in at $0.19 million, missing the Zacks Consensus of $0.20 million. Revenues were also down from $0.23 million in the year-ago quarter. Revenues mainly came from the company’s collaboration with Roche Holdings RHHBY.

The company’s shares have lost 0.4% in the year so far compared with the industry’s’ growth of 3.2%.

 

Quarter in Detail

R&D expenses were $13.3 million, down 61.7% year over year due to lower clinical trial costs, reduced consulting and personnel costs, and decreased product manufacturing expenses.

General and administrative (G&A) expenses came in at $9.9 million, down from $14.2 million in the year-ago quarter.

As of March 31, 2019, Prothena had $414.2 million in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash.

Pipeline Updates

The company is evaluating prasinezumab (PRX002/RG7935) in collaboration with Roche for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. A phase II study, PASADENA, which is being conducted by Roche among patients suffering from Parkinson`s disease, is ongoing and data from the part I study is expected in 2020.

Also, Prothena initiated a phase I study on PRX004 in patients with hereditary ATTR amyloidosis in the second quarter of 2018. The study continues to enroll patients.  Preliminary data from lower dose cohorts, including safety, tolerability and pharmacodynamics, are expected in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Prothena has a global neuroscience research & development collaboration with Celgene Corp. CELG to develop new therapies for a broad range of neurodegenerative diseases. The collaboration is focused on three targets implicated in the pathogenesis of several neurodegenerative diseases, inducing tau, TDP-43 and a third that is undisclosed. The preclinical tau program, part of a worldwide collaboration with Celgene, initiated cell line development of a lead candidate.

The company recently reported results from the phase III VITAL study of NEOD001 in AL amyloidosis and the company is exploring business development opportunities that could result in further clinical investigation of NEOD001.

Our Take

The narrower-than-expected loss in the first quarter was encouraging for Prothena. We expect investors’ focus to remain on pipeline updates, as the company has no approved product in its portfolio yet. Moreover, the company earlier had discontinued the development of its lead pipeline candidate, NEOD001. Prothena has very limited number of candidates in its pipeline. Now, investors are likely to focus on the ongoing phase II study of prasinezumab, though results from the mid-stage study on this candidate are not expected before 2020.

Zacks Rank & Stock to Consider

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

A better-ranked stock in the healthcare sector is Bristol-Myers Squibb BMY , which sports a Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Bristol-Myers’ earnings per share estimates have increased from $4.76 to $4.93 for 2020 in the past 60 days.

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