Durham-based BioCryst Pharmaceuticals posted a fourth-quarter net loss and revenue decline that was in line with what Wall Street analysts who cover the company had forecast.
Still, BioCryst shares fell 12 percent Tuesday, closing at $1.90. The stock is down 81 percent in the past year, including an 71 percent one-day drop two weeks ago when the company announced that its lead experimental drug failed in a clinical trial.
During a conference call, BioCryst executives told analysts Tuesday that the company has $101 million in cash and investments on hand to finance operations and key upcoming drug studies. The company specializes in rare genetic disorders and is focused on developing treatments for a potentially fatal swelling disorder.
Fourth-quarter revenue fell to $4.6 million from $5.4 million from a year ago. The corresponding net loss widened to $18.1 million from a loss of $11.7 million a year ago.
The losses are due to the company’s research expenditures exceeding federal research dollars and licensing revenue from peramivir, BioCryst’s flu medication that is commercially sold as Rapivab. BioCryst spent $19 million on research and development in the fourth quarter, compared with $18.5 million a year earlier.
The 69-employee company is largely funded by federal research grants from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.
The company’s primary focus has been developing avoralstat to prevent swelling attacks in patients with hereditary angioedema, a rare genetic disorder. BioCryst had been developing a soft gel oral formulation to replace current treatments, which must be injected. But after the failed clinical trail BioCryst switched focus this month to a solid dosage formulation of avoralstat, and expects to report initial results in mid-year.
BioCryst has also developed successful anti-viral drugs, including Rapivab, licensed last year to drug developer and plasma bank company CSL Behring. That licensing agreement gives BioCryst exclusive rights to U.S. stockpiling orders for biodefense and public health purposes, even though there is no imminent expectation of such an order.
BioCryst’s BCX4430 is a potential treatment for hemorrhagic fever viruses, such as Ebola and Marburg, under ongoing development through federal funding.
For the full year, BioCryst reported revenue of $48.3 million, up from $13.6 million in 2014. Net loss in 2015 dipped to $43 million from a 2014 loss of $45.2 million.