It’s earnings season in biotech, and while some companies are staging a turnaround against a backdrop of wider market weakness, others are reeling from a disappointing fourth quarter. Here are two of the week’s biggest losers, and a look at why they are selling off.
Agios Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:AGIO)
First up, Agios. Shortly before markets opened on Thursday, Agios reported its fourth quarter, 2015, results. At market open, the company sold for just shy of $42 a share. By the end of the session, Agios stock went for $37 a share – a close to 12% decline across the session. The loss comes on the back of weaker than expected results, pretty much missing expectations across the board. Net loss for the quarter came in at $1.08 a share versus a consensus forecast of $0.27, and $11.7 million for full year 2015.
It’s not all bad, though. Agios has some pretty big milestones this year that could see it stage a recovery – if they are met. It’s running an oncology development program with big pharma mega-cap Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ:CELG), and plans to kick off a host of trials across all three phases of development this year. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the primary indication – a fast growth market that could be worth in excess of $1 billion dollars to a company that develops and commercializes an improvement on current SOC chemo.
We’ll also get some data from an ongoing phase II with a pyruvate kinase (PK) deficiency indication (slated from a June release), from a phase I safety study of its early stage AG-519 (again, slated for a June release) and the releasing of a framework that will pave the way for the development of the company’s PKR activators in beta-thalassemia (this one should come during the latter half of the year).
Having said this, near term, expect further weakness. The company’s balance sheet at September 30, 2015, shows a little over $80 million cash on hand, but the initiation of the raft of upcoming trials, and the maintenance of those ongoing, will quickly deplete this capital, and Agios could well need a financing round before the year is out.
Risky at present, but at current levels, a potential cheap exposure if the Celgene platform gets off to a strong start.
Perrigo Company plc (NYSE:PRGO)
Next up, Perrigo. This one’s a little harsher. The company reported its fourth quarter, 2015, financials yesterday, and proceeded to lose more than 10% of its market capitalization before market close. This comes despite the reports showing earnings of $1.80 per share on quarterly revenues of $1.4 billion and full year revenues of $5.35 billion. So why the decline? Well, it’s rooted in expectations. Consensus estimates put Perrigo’s earnings at $1.94 per share – slightly above the reported figure. Similarly, estimates for the company’s quarterly revenues came in at $1.5 billion – again, slightly ahead of the $1.4 billion reported.
Just as with Agios, however, this may be an opportunity to get in at a discount. Its stock is down 10% on the year so far, and 36% off 2015 highs recorded back in the middle of April, but the numbers reported show net sales growth of 33%, and the company had a little over half a billion dollars’ cash on hand at last count (September, 30, 2015). At it’s current market cap of $19 billion, and wit ha forward P/E of 12.00, we could well see turnaround before this first quarter draws to a close.
Things to look out for over the next twelve months include the launching of up to $1.2 billion in development therapies, and the FDA decisions on a reported 25 ANDAs – each of which could add considerable value to Perrigo’s already robust product portfolio. There’s also the potential for realization of some of the revenues from the company’s 2015 acquisition strategy. It picked up a host of products last year, most of which are yet to generate the kind of revenues Perrigo had hoped for at time of acquisition. When these revenues start to trickle in, it should shore up the company’s bottom line.
One to watch, and as mentioned, a potential opportunity for a discounted exposure to a robust biotech company.