Furiex is considering all its options

Shares of Furiex Pharmaceuticals fell 6 percent Wednesday after the company said it is examining its strategic options.

Last month, Bloomberg News, citing people with knowledge of the situation, reported that the company had retained Bank of America to find a buyer.

But on Wednesday, the company’s chairman, Fred Eshelman, said during a conference call to discuss fourth-quarter earnings: “We continue to evaluate all strategic options that might be available for the company.”

Possibilities cited by the company include launching on its own its experimental treatment for irritable bowel syndrome, eluxadoline, after obtaining regulatory approval; as well as possibly seeking a strategic partnership.

“I don’t think we have ruled anything off the table,” Eshelman said.

Furiex shares closed at $87.87, down $5.36, on Wednesday even though the company reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter financial results after the markets closed Tuesday.

Furiex shares have more than doubled this year. Its stock jumped 130 percent on a single day last month after the company posted encouraging test results for eluxadoline.

Eshelman said that the company remains on track to submit a new drug application for eluxadoline by the end of June.

In the fourth quarter, revenue from milestone and royalty payments totaled $13.1 million, versus $9.2 million a year ago.

The company’s net loss totaled $6.5 million, or 63 cents per share, an improvement from a $9.1 million loss a year ago. Analysts were expecting the company to post a per-share loss of $1.06, according to Bloomberg News.

For all of 2013, Furiex posted a net loss of $29.6 million, or $2.92 per share, on revenue of $45 million. The company spent $82.7 million on research and development last year.

Staff writer David Ranii