Pozen cutting jobs as it seeks to reduce expenses

Posted by David Bracken on May 8, 2014 

Pozen reported a sharp increase in royalty revenue in the first quarter and said it expects to be profitable for the year.

But the Chapel Hill drugmaker also said it has reduced its research and development staff as it seeks to control expenses. Pozen said it has reduced its total headcount to 16 employees and plans to make further reductions. A company spokeswoman didn’t immediately return a call Thursday about how many jobs have been eliminated.

Pozen reported net income of $2.9 million, or 9 cents per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $5.8 million, or 19 cents per share, during the first quarter of 2013.

Pozen had royalty revenue of $4.5 million from Vimovo, its arthritis pain reliever, during the quarter. That was up from $1.41 million during the same period last year.

The company also had licensing revenue of $3 million in the quarter. The money was part of a $15 million upfront payment that Pozen received from its licensing deal with French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi.

Sanofi plans to commercialize Pozen's drug PA, which is designed to reduce aspirin-induced gastric ulcers and associated internal bleeding. The medication combines coated aspirin and omeprazole.

Pozen shares fell more than 10 percent in a single day late last month after it announced that federal regulators have informed the company that its new drug application for PA cannot be approved in its current form.

The Food and Drug Administration said that inspection deficiencies were found during an inspection of a manufacturing facility that is an active ingredient supplier. Pozen said it believes the deficiencies can be addressed and will be working with the manufacturer to respond to the FDA concerns as soon as possible.

Pozen’s operating expenses for the quarter totaled $4.7 million, down from $7.2 million during the first period of 2013. The company had $27.1 million in cash as of the end of the month.

Pozen shares closed Thursday at $8.18, up 2 cents. The stock is up 2 percent this year.

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