Stock Update (NASDAQ:KERX): Keryx Biopharmaceuticals Announces First Quarter 2016 Financial Results

Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:KERX), a biopharmaceutical company focused on bringing innovative medicines to people with renal disease, today announced its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2016.

“In March, our recently expanded and fully trained field team began calling on physicians, dietitians and the entire dialysis care team to enhance awareness of Auryxia and drive increased adoption,” said Greg Madison, chief executive officer of Keryx Biopharmaceuticals. “Through the expansion of our field team, we are able to increase the reach and frequency of contact with the treating community, and I am confident that with their efforts we will continue to increase uptake of Auryxia in people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) on dialysis.”

Mr. Madison continued, “In the first quarter, we announced positive top-line results from our pivotal Phase 3 study evaluating ferric citrate in people with non-dialysis dependent CKD struggling with iron deficiency anemia (IDA). These results bring us one step closer to treating another important complication of CKD. The rapid, durable and significant responses observed with ferric citrate in the study were a major milestone for Keryx and confirmed the unique attributes of ferric citrate’s mechanism of action, which delivers iron orally through the body’s natural absorption process. As we look ahead, our top priorities for this year are to increase adoption of Auryxia in the dialysis setting, submit a regulatory application seeking label expansion, and prepare for potential launch in 2017 in the new indication.”


Auryxia Commercialization

  • Auryxia net U.S. product sales for the first quarter of 2016 were $5.6 million compared with $0.4 million in the first quarter of 2015. First quarter 2016 Auryxia product sales resulted from approximately 9,150 prescriptions, which represented 17 percent growth in total prescriptions compared to the fourth quarter of 2015.
  • In the first quarter of 2016, cumulative target physicians who have written a prescription for Auryxia increased approximately 25 percent from the fourth quarter of 2015. This reflects continued efforts to increase the breadth of physicians prescribing Auryxia.

Potential Label Expansion
Pivotal Phase 3 Trial Aimed at Increasing the Number of Adults Eligible for Treatment with Ferric Citrate

  • In March, the company announced that its 24-week pivotal Phase 3 trial evaluating ferric citrate for the treatment of iron deficiency anemia in adults with stage 3-5 non-dialysis dependent CKD demonstrated statistically significant differences between ferric citrate- and placebo-treated patients for the primary and all pre-specified secondary endpoints. Specifically, 52 percent (61/117) of patients who received ferric citrate achieved the primary endpoint, which was a 1g/dL or greater rise in hemoglobin at any time point during the 16-week randomized efficacy period, compared with 19 percent (22/115) in the placebo group (p<0.001). Importantly, the vast majority of patients who achieved the primary endpoint (57/61) had a durable response. In terms of safety, during the randomized efficacy period, the majority of adverse events reported were mild to moderate, with the most common being diarrhea. Read the full press release of the top-line Phase 3 results here.
  • The company intends to submit an sNDA for approval to the U.S. FDA in the third quarter of 2016.
  • Keryx plans to submit detailed Phase 3 results for presentation at the American Society of Nephrology’s 2016 Kidney Week taking place November 15 – 20, 2016, and plans to submit data for possible publication in a peer reviewed medical journal.


  • In April, Keryx announced new appointments and changes to its board of directors.

First Quarter Ended March 31, 2016 Financial Results
“As a result of our continued focus on commercial execution and fiscal discipline, we met or exceeded all of our internal financial goals in the first quarter and, therefore, are progressing nicely toward achieving our previously stated 2016 full year financial objectives,” said Scott Holmes, chief financial officer of Keryx. “The passion and commitment that my colleagues at Keryx bring to work each day both in the field and in our home office will drive us to achieve our goals in 2016 and beyond.”

At March 31, 2016, the company had cash and cash equivalents of $170.5 million.

Total revenues for the quarter ended March 31, 2016 were approximately $6.8 million, compared with $1.2 million during the same period in 2015. Total revenues for the quarter consisted of Auryxia net U.S. product sales of $5.6 million, and license revenue of $1.2 million associated with royalties received on ferric citrate net sales from Keryx’s Japanese partner.

Cost of goods sold for the quarter ended March 31, 2016 was $1.1 million or 19 percent of Auryxia net U.S. product sales, as compared with $0.1 million or 18 percent during the same period in 2015.

Research and development expenses for the quarter ended March 31, 2016 were $7.6 millioncompared with $9.6 million during the same period in 2015. The decrease was primarily due to a decrease in costs associated with the company’s recently completed Phase 3 clinical trial evaluating ferric citrate for the treatment of IDA in adults with stage 3-5 non-dialysis dependent CKD.

Selling, general and administrative expenses for the quarter ended March 31, 2016 were $20.8 million, as compared with $18.9 million during the same period in 2015. The increase was primarily related to incremental costs associated with hiring and onboarding of Keryx’s expanded field team.

Net loss for the first quarter ended March 31, 2016 was $41.0 million, or $0.39 per share, compared to a net loss of $27.7 million, or $0.28 per share, for the comparable quarter in 2015. The company’s net loss for the quarter ended March 31, 2016 includes $15.7 million in non-cash interest expense related to amortization of the debt discount on its convertible senior notes, as well as a $2.0 millionnon-cash charge related to the increase in fair value of the derivative liability that was recorded in connection with the issuance of the convertible senior notes.

Cash Operating Expenses (a non-GAAP measurement)*
Total operating expenses (excluding cost of goods sold and license expenses) for the first quarter ended March 31, 2016 were $28.4 million, which included $4.5 million in non-cash expenses, thereby making cash operating expenses $23.9 million for the first quarter. During the same period in 2015, total operating expenses were $28.5 million, which included $4.5 million in non-cash expenses, thereby making cash operating expenses $24.0 million.

Non-cash expenses referenced above include stock-based compensation expense, depreciation expense and certain non-cash commercial expenses, such as product samples.

2016 Financial Guidance
This section contains forward-looking guidance about the financial outlook for Keryx Biopharmaceuticals

Keryx today reiterated the following financial guidance provided in February 2016.

Auryxia net U.S. product sales: Keryx expects full year 2016 Auryxia net U.S. product sales to be in the range of $31 to $34 million, and expects sales to ramp throughout the year, as it realizes the full impact of its expanded field team.

Cash operating expenses: Keryx expects its 2016 cash operating expenses will be in the range of$87 to $92 million. Cash operating expense guidance excludes cost of goods sold, license expenses, and other non-cash expenses.* (Original Source)

Shares of Keryx closed yesterday at $5.08, up $0.02 or 0.40%. KERX has a 1-year high of $11.40 and a 1-year low of $2.80. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $4.82 and its 200-day moving average is $4.51.

On the ratings front, Keryx has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on March 29, Maxim Group analyst Jason Kolbert reiterated a Buy rating on KERX, with a price target of $7, which implies an upside of 37.8% from current levels. Separately, on March 28, Cowen’s Boris Peaker reiterated a Hold rating on the stock .

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Jason Kolbert and Boris Peaker have a total average return of -11.7% and 13.6% respectively. Kolbert has a success rate of 33.3% and is ranked #3835 out of 3839 analysts, while Peaker has a success rate of 45.9% and is ranked #191.

The street is mostly Bullish on KERX stock. Out of 6 analysts who cover the stock, 4 suggest a Buy rating and 2 recommend to Hold the stock.

Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. engages in the development and commercialization of medicines for the treatment of renal disease. Its products include phosphate-binding medicines, intravenous iron, and other medications. The company was founded in October 1998 and is headquartered in Boston, MA.


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