Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:KERX), a biopharmaceutical company focused on bringing innovative medicines to market for people with renal disease, today announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2015. The company also reviewed its commercialization progress with Auryxia™ (ferric citrate), upcoming milestones and selected 2016 financial guidance.
“As we enter 2016, the fundamentals of Auryxia are solid, and we plan to build on that foundation to advance our launch in the U.S.,” said Greg Madison, chief executive officer of Keryx. “Importantly, the data readout expected in early second quarter from the ferric citrate phase 3 label expansion trial will be an important marker of our efforts to help people with pre-dialysis chronic kidney disease. Specifically, we believe that ferric citrate – which, through its novel mechanism of action, delivers iron orally through the body’s natural absorption process – could be the first FDA-approved oral medicine to treat iron deficiency anemia (IDA) in this patient population.”
Fourth Quarter 2015 and Recent Business Highlights
Auryxia (ferric citrate) Commercialization
- Auryxia net U.S. product sales for the fourth quarter of 2015 were $4.8 million, based on approximately 7,850 prescriptions, an increase of 46 percent from the third quarter. For the full year 2015, Auryxia net U.S. product sales were $10.1 million, representing greater than 18,000 prescriptions.
- Cumulative target physicians who have written a prescription for Auryxia increased more than 25 percent from the third quarter of 2015.
- Keryx completed its sales force expansion and now will have 95 sales representatives calling on target prescribers. The expansion enables increased reach and frequency of contact with physicians, dieticians and the entire dialysis care team.
Product Expansion Opportunities
Pivotal Phase 3 Trial Aimed at Increasing the Number of Adults Eligible for Treatment with Ferric Citrate
- The 24-week pivotal phase 3 trial evaluating ferric citrate for the treatment of IDA in patients with stages 3-5 CKD completed in January, as planned. Early in the second quarter of 2016, Keryx expects to announce topline safety and efficacy results. If the results are successful, Keryx intends to submit a regulatory application for approval to the U.S. FDA in the third quarter of 2016, and submit the data for presentation at a fourth quarter 2016 medical conference.
Potential Geographic Expansion
- Keryx is seeking potential partners to make Fexeric® (ferric citrate) available to patients inEurope.
Fourth Quarter and Year Ended December 31, 2015 Financial Results
“In the fourth quarter of 2015, we strengthened our financial position through a re-alignment of our cost structure and an infusion of capital, which we expect will take the Auryxia franchise to cash flow positive,” said Scott Holmes, chief financial officer of Keryx. “For 2016, we expect prescription volume to increase between 20 percent and 35 percent on a sequential quarter basis, ramping as we realize the full impact of our expanded sales force. As we progress through 2016, we are committed to maintaining fiscal discipline, while advancing our business and supporting the continued growth of Auryxia.”
At December 31, 2015, the company had cash and cash equivalents of $200.3 million.
Total revenues for the quarter ended December 31, 2015 were approximately $5.8 million, compared to $0.6 million during the same period in 2014. Total revenues for the quarter consisted of Auryxia net U.S. product sales of $4.8 million, and license revenue of $1.0 million associated with royalties received on ferric citrate net sales from Keryx’s Japanese partner. For the year ended 2015, total revenues were $13.7 million, including $10.1 million of Auryxia net U.S. product sales.
Cost of goods sold for the quarter ended December 31, 2015 was $1.1 million. Cost of goods sold for the full year 2015 was $4.5 million, which included $2.6 million related to manufacturing charges incurred as a result of not fully utilizing planned production at certain of the company’s third party manufacturers as reported in the third quarter.
Research and development expenses for the quarter ended December 31, 2015 were $8.0 millioncompared to $5.8 million during the same period in 2014. The increase was primarily due to an increase in costs associated with our medical affairs efforts in support of Auryxia. For the full year 2015, total research and development expenses were $36.7 million compared to $51.5 million in 2014.
Selling, general and administrative expenses for the quarter ended December 31, 2015 were $21.6 million, as compared to $34.1 million during the same period in 2014. The decrease was related to a $10.5 million decrease in non-cash stock-based compensation expense compared to the prior period, primarily related to expense recognized in connection with the first commercial sale of Auryxia in 2014. For the full year 2015, total selling, general and administrative expenses were$81.4 million compared to $70.1 million in 2014.
Net loss for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2015 was $37.8 million, or $0.36 per share, compared to a net loss of $40.3 million, or $0.44 per share, for the comparable quarter in 2014. For the full year 2015, net loss was $123.1 million or $1.19 per share compared to a net loss of $111.5 million, or $1.23 per share in 2014.
2016 Financial Guidance
This section contains forward-looking guidance about the financial outlook for Keryx Biopharmaceuticals
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. The company expects sales to ramp throughout the year, as it realizes the full impact of its expanded sales force.
Cash operating expenses: Keryx reiterated its cash operating expenses in 2016 will be in the range of $87 million 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 $3.50. KERX has a 1-year high of $14.89 and a 1-year low of $2.80. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $3.51 and its 200-day moving average is $4.55.
On the ratings front, Keryx has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on January 26, J.P. Morgan analyst Whitney Ijem reiterated a Buy rating on KERX, with a price target of $11, which represents a potential upside of 214.3% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on October 29, Brean Murray Carret’s Jonathan Aschoff maintained a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $18.
According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Whitney Ijem and Jonathan Aschoff have a total average return of -21.8% and -14.6% respectively. Ijem has a success rate of 0.0% and is ranked #3357 out of 3666 analysts, while Aschoff has a success rate of 28.7% and is ranked #3643.
Keryx Biopharmaceuticals Inc is a biopharmaceutical company focused on therapies for patients with renal disease. Its first product is the AuryxiaTM (ferric citrate), an oral, absorbable iron-based compound.