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Wider-Than-Expected Loss at Avanir

Zacks Equity Research

Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (AVNR) reported first quarter fiscal 2013 net loss per share of 9 cents, wider than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 8 cents, but narrower than the year-ago loss of 12 cents.

First quarter revenues soared 130% year over year to $16.5 million, marginally above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $16 million.

Net revenues included Nuedexta revenue and royalty revenue from Abreva. Net Nuedexta revenues grew 20% sequentially to $14.9 million. Nuedexta is approved for the treatment of patients suffering from pseudobulbar affect (PBA).

Research and development expenses increased 77% year over year to $6.6 million. Selling, general and administrative expenses grew 5.2% year over year to $20.1 million.

Pipeline Update

The first-in-human phase I clinical study of AVP-786 which was initiated in Nov 2012 has completed the first stage. The study assessed the candidate’s single and multiple dose pharmacokinetics.

Meanwhile, AVP-923 is being studied for four indications, namely, Alzheimer's disease (phase II ongoing), central neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis (phase II ongoing), levodopa-induced-dyskinesia (:LID) in Parkinson's disease (:PD) (phase II ongoing) and diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain (phase III ongoing).

Avanir plans to speed up the PRIME study (neuropathic pain related to multiple sclerosis) being conducted with AVP-923. Avanir expects to have top-line data from the PRIME study in the fourth quarter of calendar 2013.

Avanir currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Right now, Furiex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (FURX), Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (SLXP) and Valeant Pharma (VRX) look more attractive with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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