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Epizyme (EPZM) Incurs Narrower-than-Expected Loss in Q2


Epizyme, Inc. EPZM witnessed a loss of 48 cents per share in the second quarter of 2017, narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 56 cents and a penny narrower than the year-ago loss of 49 cents.

Notably, the company’s stock has stock gained 17% so far this year compared with the Zacks classified industry’s gain of 8.9%.

Quarter in Detail

With no approved products in its portfolio as of yet, Epizyme relies heavily on its collaborators for revenues. In this quarter, the company received $10 million representing milestone payment from GlaxoSmithKline GSK following their initiation of GLP toxicology studies for a first-in-class methyltransferase inhibitor discovered by Epizyme and licensed to GSK. Revenues exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4 million.

Research and development (R&D) expenses increased 27% year over year to $27.3 million. The improvement was primarily owing to the expansion of clinical studies of tazemetostat in several indications and initiation of advance phases in other pipeline candidates.

General and administrative (G&A) expenses were $11.2 million in the quarter, up 51.4% from the year-ago quarter. The uptick was backed by a rise in expenses related to commercial-related activities and legal spending to support the company’s growing intellectual property portfolio.

The company had $193 million of cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities as of Jun 30, 2017 and expects that it will be sufficient to fund its planned operations at least till the third quarter of 2018.

Pipeline Update

In July, the company announced positive interim data in the epithelioid sarcoma (ES) cohort from the phase II study in adult patients with INI1-negative solid tumors. It expects to file the first new drug application for tazemetostat to the FDA for epithelioid sarcoma in 2018.

Meanwhile, Epizyme continues to advance its lead candidate, tazemetostat in multiple clinical trials in a range of solid tumors and hematological malignancies, and as both a monotherapy and in combination with other anti-cancer agents. The company has collaborated with Roche Holding AG RHHBY to evaluate tazemetostat in combination with Tecentriq.

In June 2017, the company had announced that tazemetostat will be evaluated in combination with Tecentriq in a phase Ib/II study of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer as part of Genentech's (a member of the Roche Group) MORPHEUS study evaluating the efficacy and safety of multiple immunotherapy-based treatment combinations in solid tumors. This study is expected to begin enrolling patients by the end of 2017.

In the same month, positive interim efficacy data, grouped by EZH2 mutational status, were also presented from the ongoing phase II study of tazemetostat as a single-agent treatment for relapsed or refractory patients with follicular lymphoma (FL) or diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).

Epizyme, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Epizyme, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Epizyme, Inc. Quote

Zacks Rank & Key Pick

Epizyme currently holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Another top-ranked stock in the pharma sector is Enzo Biochem, Inc. ENZ sporting the same rank as the former. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Enzo Biochem’s loss per share estimates narrowed from 12 cents to 7 cents for 2017 and from 11 cents to 3 cents for 2018, over the last 60 days. The company delivered positive earnings surprises in all the trailing four quarters, with an average beat of 55.83%. The share price of the company has increased 64.5% year to date.

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