Esperion Plans Expense & Operational Structure Alignment; Shares Fall 1.5% Pre-Market

Michigan-based Esperion Therapeutics, Inc. (ESPR) plans to align its expense and operational structure to boost the growth of NEXLIZET and NEXLETOL oral medicines. The plan will also prioritize the company’s investment in the CLEAR Outcomes trial.

Esperion is focused on the development and sale of oral therapies for the treatment of patients with elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Its shares declined 1.5%, at the time of writing, in the early trade on Monday. (See Insiders’ Hot Stocks on TipRanks)

The company has updated its 2021 operating expense outlook and now expects R&D expense to range from $110 million to $115 million, compared to the previous range of $120 million to $130 million. SG&A expenses are expected to range from $195 million to $200 million, compared to the previously announced range of $200 million to $210 million.

For 2022, Esperion expects R&D expenses to be in the $100 million to $110 million range and SG&A expenses to range from $120 million to $130 million. Moreover, the company anticipates operating expenses between $220 million and $240 million.

The President and CEO of Esperion, Sheldon Koenig, said, “Today’s decision will help to further grow NEXLETOL and NEXLIZET while conserving resources to support our critically important and differentiated CLEAR Outcomes trial, which we believe has the potential to dramatically increase adoption of our innovative cholesterol-lowering agents.”

Meanwhile, the lipid management company expects net product revenue for the third quarter of 2021 to be around $10.5 million to $11 million. It also aims to reduce its corporate workforce by 40%.

Last month, Goldman Sachs (GS) analyst Paul Choi maintained a Sell rating on the stock and lowered the price target to $8 from $16 (12.5% downside potential).

In a research note to investors, the analyst said, “Given flat prescription volumes over the last four months, meaningful improvements are needed in both prescription growth for the company to meet 2021 and 2022 consensus estimates.”

Overall, the stock has a Moderate Buy consensus rating based on 4 Buys and 2 Sells. The average Esperion Therapeutics price target of $53.67 implies 487.2% upside potential. Shares have lost 73.1% over the past year.

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