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Achillion (ACHN) Q2 Loss In Line, Gains on Pipeline Update


Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ACHN reported a loss of 16 cents per share in the second quarter of 2017, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. In the year-ago quarter, the company had reported a loss of 14 cents per share.

The company generated no revenues in the reported quarter as had been the case in the year-ago quarter.

Shares of Achillion surged almost 28% in after-hours trading on Aug 8, as the company announced positive interim results on its most advanced factor D inhibitor pipeline candidate, ACH-4471. However, the stock has underperformed the industry year to date. The company’s shares lost 2.9% whereas the industry registered an increase of 8.7%.

Research and development expenses increased nearly 29% from the year-ago period to $18.3 million due to increased clinical trial costs related to pipeline candidate, ACH-4471. The increase in expenses also included higher manufacturing costs related to ACH-5528 and cost related to ophthalmic factor D inhibitor compounds in development. However, the increase was partially offset by a decrease in cost related to manufacturing of ACH-4471.

General and administrative expenses were up 4% to $5.4 million due to an increase in corporate legal fees and consulting fees, partially offset by a decrease in corporate taxes.

Pipeline Update

In April, Achillion initiated patient dosing in a phase II study, evaluating its key pipeline candidate, a factor D inhibitor, ACH-4471 for the treatment of patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH). The company completed three months of dosing during the quarter and entered a long-term extension trial.

The interim results from the study, announced together with the earnings release, showed clinically meaningful complement inhibition and a favorable tolerability profile for ACH-4471. The candidate has shown improvement in LDH, hemoglobin, fatigue score and other markers of response.

Moreover, the company plans to initiate a phase II study later this year on ACH-4471 in patients with C3G, a rare renal disorder, which includes dense deposit disease (DDD) and C3 glomerulonephritis (C3GN).

Meanwhile, Achillion is planning to advance a number of next-generation factor D inhibitors in preclinical or clinical studies by 2017 end.

Also, Achillion is evaluating a triple combination of simeprevir, odalasvir and AL-335 in a phase II OMEGA-1 study in patients with HCV genotype 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 infection, with and without cirrhosis. The study is being conducted by Johnson & Johnson’s JNJ subsidiary Janssen with data expected in the second half of 2017.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Achillion Pharma carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A couple of better-ranked stocks in the pharma sector include Summit Therapeutics PLC SMMT and Enzo Biochem, Inc. ENZ. Both stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Summit’s loss estimates narrowed from $2.59 to 32 cents for 2017 over the last 60 days. The company delivered positive earnings surprise in each of the four trailing quarters with an average beat of 25.55%. Its share price is up 66.6% so far this year.

Enzo Biochem’s loss estimates narrowed from 12 cents to 7 cents for 2017 over the last 60 days. The company came up with a positive earnings surprise in all the four trailing quarters with an average beat of 55.83%. The stock is up 62.7% so far this year.

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