Company Update (NASDAQ:LJPC): La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company Announces Third Quarter 2015 Financial Results and Recent Corporate Progress


La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company (NASDAQ:LJPC), a leader in the development of innovative therapies intended to significantly improve outcomes in patients suffering from life-threatening diseases, today reported third quarter 2015 financial results and highlighted recent corporate progress.

Recent Corporate Progress

La Jolla initiated a Phase 1 clinical trial of LJPC-401, the Company’s novel formulation of hepcidin, in patients at risk of iron overload due to conditions such as hereditary hemochromatosis, beta thalassemia and sickle cell disease. Preliminary results from this clinical trial are anticipated by the end of 2015.

La Jolla received a positive opinion from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products (COMP), which the European Commission subsequently adopted, for designation of LJPC-401 as an orphan medicinal product for the treatment of beta thalassemia intermedia and major.

La Jolla and Vanderbilt University entered into an exclusive, worldwide research and license agreement covering Vanderbilt’s research program and intellectual property rights relating to small-molecule kinase inhibitors designed to selectively block specific members of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) type-I receptor family, for the potential treatment of fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP), acquired heterotopic ossification, muscular dystrophies including Duchenne muscular dystrophy, anemia of chronic disease, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and inflammatory bowel disease.

La Jolla received orphan drug designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Orphan Products Development on two novel compounds, which were licensed from Vanderbilt University, for FOP.
La Jolla completed an underwritten public offering of approximately 2.9 million shares of common stock, which includes the full exercise of the underwriters’ overallotment option, at a public offering price of $38.00 per share. The Company received total net proceeds of approximately $104.6 million from this offering.

“The second half of 2015 is off to an exciting and productive start for La Jolla, highlighted by the initiation of our Phase 1 clinical trial for LJPC-401, continued progress with our Phase 3 clinical trial of LJPC-501, the receipt of a positive opinion for designation of LJPC-401 as an orphan medicinal product in Europe and the receipt of orphan drug designation for two of the recently licensed compounds from Vanderbilt in the U.S.,” said George Tidmarsh, M.D., Ph.D., La Jolla’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We look forward to building on this momentum, with the anticipation of preliminary results from the LJPC-401 Phase 1 clinical trial by the end of this year and results from the LJPC-501 Phase 3 clinical trial by the end of 2016.”

Results of Operations

As of September 30, 2015, La Jolla had $135.1 million in cash and cash equivalents, compared to $48.6 million as of December 31, 2014. The increase in cash and cash equivalents was primarily due to cash provided by our common stock offering that was completed in September 2015, which was partially offset by net cash used for operating activities. Based on current operating plans and projections, La Jolla believes that its current cash and cash equivalents are sufficient to fund operations into 2018.

La Jolla’s net cash used for operating activities for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2015 was $5.5 million and $16.7 million, respectively, compared to net cash used for operating activities of $2.8 million and $7.5 million, respectively, for the same periods in 2014. La Jolla’s net loss for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2015 was $10.5 million and $30.1 million, or $0.70 per share and $1.99 per share, respectively, compared to a net loss of $5.1 million and $14.5 million, or $0.37 per share and $1.58 per share, respectively, for the same periods in 2014. During the three months ended September 2015, La Jolla recognized approximately $0.6 million of contract revenue, which was pursuant to a services agreement under which La Jolla provides research and development services to a related party. The net loss includes noncash, share-based compensation expense of $3.1 million and $10.3 million for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2015, respectively, compared to $1.7 million and $6.6 million of noncash, share-based compensation expense, respectively, for the same periods in 2014.

The increases in net cash used for operating activities and net loss in 2015 as compared to 2014 were primarily due to increased clinical development costs associated with the continuation of the Phase 3 clinical trial of LJPC-501 in catecholamine-resistant hypotension and the costs associated with the initiation of the Phase 1 clinical trial of LJPC-401 in iron overload. In addition, there were increases in personnel and related costs, which were mainly due to the hiring of additional personnel and increased facility costs to support the increased development and clinical activities. (Original Source)

Shares of La Jolla Pharmaceutical closed today at $25.30, down $1.80 or 6.64%. LJPC has a 1-year high of $44.99 and a 1-year low of $10.95. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $27.28 and its 200-day moving average is $26.55.

On the ratings front, Chardan analyst Gbola Amusa reiterated a Buy rating on LJPC, with a price target of $80, in a report issued on September 8. The current price target implies an upside of 211.4% from current levels. According to TipRanks.com, CFA has a total average return of 5.8%, a 55.3% success rate, and is ranked #876 out of 3827 analysts.

La Jolla Pharmaceutical Co is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of therapies intended to significantly improve outcomes in patients suffering from life-threatening diseases.