Pozen reports narrower loss in fourth quarter

Pozen reported a narrower net loss in the fourth quarter thanks to revenue from its arthritis drug and the licensing of its experimental cardiovascular treatment.

The Chapel Hill drugmaker had a net loss of $2.2 million, or 7 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $6.1 million, or 20 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2012. That was a wider loss than the $1.35 million, or 5 cents a share, forecast by Wall Street analysts who cover the company, according to Bloomberg.

Pozen’s revenue for the fourth quarter totaled $4.7 million, compared with revenue of $1.4 million during the same period in 2012. The company’s quarterly revenue beat the $4.35 million forecast by Wall Street analysts.

Pozen earned $1.7 million in the quarter from royalty payments for Vimovo, its arthritis pain reliever. It also earned $3 million from its recent licensing deal with French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi. Sanofi is to commercialize Pozen’s drug – known as PA. PA is designed to reduce aspirin-induced gastric ulcers and associated internal bleeding. The medication combines coated aspirin and omeprazole.

Pozen’s agreement with Sanofi includes a $15 million upfront payment and could earn the company as much as $35 million in payments.

On a conference call with analysts Wednesday, Pozen CEO John Plachetka said the company still expects the Food and Drug Administration to rule on its new drug application for PA by April 25. The FDA has asked Pozen to conduct additional tests of the drug, and Plachetka said the company expects to submit the data by the end of this month.

Pozen has estimated the drug’s potential market at $400 million annually in the United States.

For 2013, Pozen reported a net loss of $16.7 million, or 55 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $25.3 million, or 84 cents per share, in 2012. Revenue for the year was $10.3 million, compared with $5.4 million in 2013.

As of the end of 2013, Pozen had $32.8 million in cash on hand. The company’s cash position was reduced by $53.6 million after it issued a special $1.75 per share dividend to stockholders in December.

Pozen shares closed Wednesday at $8, down 10 cents. The stock is up 25 percent over the past year.

Staff writer David Bracken