Geron Corporation (NASDAQ:GERN) reported financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2015.

Second Quarter 2015 Results

For the second quarter of 2015, the company reported a net loss of $9.4 million, or $0.06 per share, compared to $8.7 million, or$0.06 per share, for the comparable 2014 period. Revenues for the second quarter of 2015 were $251,000 compared to$341,000 for the comparable 2014 period. Interest and other income for the second quarter of 2015 amounted to $145,000compared to $99,000 for the comparable 2014 period. The company ended the second quarter of 2015 with $157.0 million in cash and investments.

Total operating expenses for the second quarter of 2015 were $9.7 million compared to $9.0 million for the comparable 2014 period. Research and development expenses for the second quarter of 2015 were $4.8 million compared to $5.2 million for the comparable 2014 period. General and administrative expenses for the second quarter of 2015 were $4.0 million compared to$3.9 million for the comparable 2014 period. Operating expenses for the 2015 second quarter also included restructuring charges of $941,000 in connection with the company’s organizational resizing announced in March 2015.

The decrease in research and development expenses for the 2015 second quarter, compared to the same period in 2014, was primarily the net result of reduced personnel-related and other research costs resulting from the organizational resizing, partially offset by increased costs for the development of imetelstat for hematologic myeloid malignancies in collaboration with Janssen Biotech, Inc. (Janssen). The company expects research and development expenses to increase during the remainder of the year as the development of imetelstat continues in collaboration with Janssen. The increase in general and administrative expenses for the 2015 second quarter, compared to the same period in 2014, was primarily the result of higher non-cash stock-based compensation expense and higher consulting costs in connection with business development activities to identify potential new product candidates.

Six Months Ended 2015 Results

Net loss for the first six months of 2015 was $18.7 million, or $0.12 per share, compared to $17.2 million, or $0.11 per share, for the comparable 2014 period. Revenues for the first six months of 2015 were $788,000 compared to $815,000 for the comparable 2014 period. Interest and other income for the first six months of 2015 was $294,000 compared to $182,000 for the comparable 2014 period. The company has not incurred any impairment charges on its investment portfolio.

Total operating expenses for the first six months of 2015 were $19.7 million compared to $18.2 million for the comparable 2014 period. Research and development expenses for the first six months of 2015 were $9.8 million compared to $10.4 million for the comparable 2014 period. General and administrative expenses for the first six months of 2015 were $8.6 million compared to$7.8 million for the comparable 2014 period. Year-to-date operating expenses for 2015 also included restructuring charges of$1.3 million.

The decrease in research and development expenses for the first six months of 2015, compared to the same period in 2014, was primarily the net result of reduced personnel-related and other research costs resulting from the organizational resizing, partially offset by increased costs for the development of imetelstat in collaboration with Janssen. The increase in general and administrative expenses for the first six months of 2015, compared to the same period in 2014, was primarily the result of higher non-cash stock-based compensation expense and higher consulting costs in connection with business development activities to identify potential new product candidates.

Recent Company Events

Status of Imetelstat Collaboration with Janssen

  • In June 2015, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted orphan-drug status to imetelstat for the treatment of myelofibrosis.
  • In July 2015, the IMbark™ study, a Phase 2 clinical trial to evaluate the activity of two dose levels of imetelstat in patients with DIPSS intermediate-2 or high-risk myelofibrosis who have relapsed after or are refractory to a JAK inhibitor, opened to patient enrollment at the first study site. Multiple medical centers across North America, Europe and Asia are planned to participate in this clinical trial. For more information about the IMbark™ study being conducted by Janssen, please visit http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02426086.

“We expect our transition activities for the imetelstat program to Janssen to be completed in the third quarter and have been pleased with the progress Janssen has made with imetelstat,” said John A. Scarlett, M.D., Geron’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our business development efforts continue, as we seek to identify and acquire and/or in-license other oncology products, programs or companies.” (Original Source)

Following the earnings release, shares of Geron are down 1.18% to $3.95. GERN has a 1-year high of $4.67 and a 1-year low of $1.76. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $4.15 and its 200-day moving average is $3.81.

On the ratings front, Geron has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on May 1, MLV & Co. analyst Thomas Yip maintained a Buy rating on GERN, with a price target of $6, which represents a potential upside of 48.1% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on April 20, Oppenheimer’s Ling Wang initiated coverage with a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $5.50.

According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Thomas Yip and Ling Wang have a total average return of 1.8% and -3.2% respectively. Yip has a success rate of 45.0% and is ranked #2066 out of 3724 analysts, while Wang has a success rate of 38.5% and is ranked #3163.

Geron Corp is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of therapeutic products for oncology such as telomerase inhibitor, imetelstat and in hematologic myeloid malignancies, among others.