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Updated forecast from NPS welcome news to shareholders

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NPS Pharmaceuticals is increasing its forecast of the amount of patients it expects this year on Gattex, the lead product and key revenue driver for the Bedminster maker of drugs targeting rare diseases.

Shares soared more than 26 percent this afternoon, the first trading session since second-quarter results were released Thursday after the market closed.

CEO Francois Nader said Thursday the company now expects 275 to 325 patients on Gattex by the end of 2013, up from previous guidance of 200 to 300 patients. To date, Gattex has treated 141 patients with short bowel syndrome, a rare disorder that prevents a person from properly absorbing nutrients.

Gattex, with an annual price estimated at $295,000 per patient, is expected to be critical revenue source for the company. The drug generated $4.8 million in second-quarter sales.

The Somerset County company is also developing Revestive, a European Union counterpart to Gattex, which is expected to begin generating revenue in 2014.

NPS said it believes Revestive has greater revenue potential than Gattex given an estimated 6,000 to 12,000 addressable patients in targeted countries, though the company anticipates a slower ramp with Revestive.

“Our international strategy is now being implemented with the establishment of our international headquarters in Dublin, the initiation of the EU pricing and reimbursement process, and the implementation of named-patient programs in certain countries,” Nader said in a statement.

NPS expects global sales of Gattex/Revestive between $25 million and $30 million in 2013.  

The company also announced it has completed manufacturing of Naptara, designed to treat adult hypoparathyroidism, a rare endocrine disorder that causes blood calcium levels to fall. NPS will submit a marketing application for Natpara to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by the end of 2013.

Overall revenue fell 31.2 percent in the second quarter, from $53.5 million to $36.5 million, mostly because last year’s quarter benefited from a $25 million sale of royalty rights.

The company is shifting focus from royalties toward development and marketing of its own products. NPS specializes in drugs treating rare disease, defined by the federal government as those affecting 200,000 or fewer people.

NPS reported a second-quarter loss of $12.4 million, or 16 cents a share, up from net income of $7.4 million, or 8 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. NPS said it recorded a $10.6 million non-cash charge related to research and development in this year’s quarter.  

Shares rose 27.5 percent, or 4.98, to $23.08 in Nasdaq trading this afternoon. The stock is now at the high end of its 52-week range.

Reporter Tom Zanki is @BizTZanki on Twitter.

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