Mast Therapeutics Inc (NYSEMKT:MSTX), a biopharmaceutical company developing novel, clinical-stage therapies for sickle cell disease and heart failure, today reported financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2016.

“We continued to advance our assets toward valuable inflection points during the second quarter.  Announcing top-line data from the EPIC study continues to be our top priority.  With 388 subjects randomized at study sites around the globe, EPIC was the largest placebo-controlled study in sickle cell disease ever concluded and we look forward to announcing results next month.  To support our NDA for vepoloxamer, we also continue to enroll patients in EPIC-E, our repeat exposure study for EPIC patients, and in a clinical pharmacokinetics study of vepoloxamer in individuals with varying degrees of renal insufficiency,” stated Brian M. Culley, Chief Executive Officer.

“In addition, clinical development of AIR001 in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction is progressing through multiple Phase 2 studies.  In particular, we are pleased that the first patient was dosed in the 100-patient Phase 2 study being conducted by the Heart Failure Clinical Research Network,” continued Mr. Culley.

Second Quarter 2016 Operating Results
The Company’s net loss for the second quarter of 2016 was $10.7 million, or $0.05 per share (basic and diluted), compared to a net loss of $10.2 million, or $0.06 per share (basic and diluted), for the same period in 2015.

Research and development (R&D) expenses for the second quarter of 2016 were $7.8 million,  compared to$7.7 million for the same period in 2015.  Increases of $0.5 million in external clinical study fees and expenses and $0.1 million in share-based compensation expense were offset by a $0.5 million decrease in external nonclinical study fees and expenses.

The increase in external clinical study fees and expenses was due primarily to increased costs related to the Company’s Phase 2 study of vepoloxamer in heart failure ($0.7 million) and the Phase 2 studies of AIR001 in HFpEF ($0.4 million), offset by decreases in costs for the EPIC study ($0.4 million) and the Phase 2 study of vepoloxamer in acute limb ischemia, which the Company began to wind-down in the third quarter of 2015 ($0.2 million).  The decrease in external nonclinical study fees and expenses was due primarily to decreases in research-related manufacturing costs for vepoloxamer ($1.2 million) and nonclinical studies of vepoloxamer ($0.4 million), offset by increased costs related to preparing a new drug application for vepoloxamer ($0.9 million) and research-related manufacturing for AIR001 ($0.2 million).

Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses were $2.4 million in each of the second quarter of 2016 and the second quarter of 2015.

Interest expense for the second quarter of 2016 was $512,000, $511,000 of which was related to the Company’s debt facility.  There was interest expense of $1,000 for the second quarter of 2015.

Year-to-Date Financial Results
The Company’s net loss for the six months ended June 30, 2016 was $21.9 million, or $0.12 per share (basic and diluted), compared to a net loss of $19.8 million, or $0.12 per share (basic and diluted), for the same period in 2015.

R&D expenses for the six months ended June 30, 2016 were $15.6 million, an increase of $1.8 million, or 13%, compared to $13.8 million for the same period in 2015. The increase was due primarily to increases of$1.0 million in external clinical study fees and expenses, $0.4 million in external nonclinical study fees and expenses, $0.2 million in personnel expenses and $0.2 million in share-based compensation.

The $1.0 million increase in external clinical study fees and expenses was due primarily to increases in costs for our Phase 2 study of vepoloxamer in heart failure ($1.2 million) and the Phase 2 studies of AIR001 in HFpEF ($0.4 million), offset by a decrease in costs for the Phase 2 study of vepoloxamer in ALI ($0.5 million).  The $0.4 million increase in external nonclinical study fees and expenses was due primarily to increases in costs related to preparing a new drug application for vepoloxamer ($1.4 million) and research-related manufacturing for AIR001 ($0.2 million), offset by decreases in research-related manufacturing costs for vepoloxamer ($0.8 million) and costs for nonclinical studies of vepoloxamer ($0.3 million).

SG&A expenses for the six months ended June 30, 2016 were $5.3 million, a decrease of $0.7 million, or 12%, compared to $6.0 million for the same period in 2015. SG&A expenses for the first six months of 2015 included $0.4 million of severance expenses and $0.3 million of share-based compensation resulting from the termination of employment of the Company’s former president and chief operating officer in February 2015 and the acceleration of stock option vesting pursuant to the terms of his option agreements.

Interest expense for the six months ended June 30, 2016 was $1,031,000, $1,029,000 of which was related to the Company’s debt facility.  There was interest expense of $1,000 for the same period of 2015. (Original Source)

Shares of Mast Therapeutics are up 3.5% to $0.36 in after-hours trading Tuesday. MSTX has a 1-year high of $0.60 and a 1-year low of $0.21. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $0.42 and its 200-day moving average is $0.35.

On the ratings front, MSTX has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on August 2, Roth Capital analyst Michael Higgins reiterated a Buy rating on MSTX, with a price target of $2, which implies an upside of 475.0% from current levels. Separately, on August 1, Maxim Group’s Jason Kolbert reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $5.

According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Michael Higgins and Jason Kolbert have a total average return of -9.1% and -15.3% respectively. Higgins has a success rate of 37.7% and is ranked #3809 out of 4017 analysts, while Kolbert has a success rate of 28.7% and is ranked #4016.

Mast Therapeutics, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company, which engages in developing novel therapies for serious or life-threatening diseases with significant unmet needs. It provides products MST-188 has cytoprotective and hemorheologic properties and inhibits inflammatory processes and thrombosis.