NPS Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
) announced that it expects sales of its sole marketed product
Gattex to jump by over 250% in 2014 over the 2013 expected sales
of $31.5 million. Sales of Gattex in 2014 are expected in the
range of $110 million- $120 million. The rosy outlook impressed
the investors with shares of the company climbing 6.46% to close
the trading session on Jan 8 at $35.11.
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We note that Gattex is available in the U.S. (since Feb 2013) for
treating adults with short bowel syndrome (SBS), dependent on
parenteral support. The drug was cleared in the EU in 2012
(European trade name: Revestive). NPS Pharma expects to launch
the drug in the EU in the first half of 2014.
Operating expenses (excluding cost of goods sold and share-based
compensation expense) in 2014 are projected in the range of $180
million-$200 million, up from 2013 levels. The increase is
attributable to NPS Pharma's efforts to develop its pipeline and
NPS Pharma said further that as per its preliminary 2013 results,
as of Dec 31 303 patients were undergoing Gattex therapy and 530
prescriptions were received. The comparable figures as of Nov 1
were 235 and 452. We note that the expected 2013 figures
pertaining to Gattex sales and the number of patients undergoing
the SBS drug therapy were within the guidance range provided by
NPS Pharma in 2013.
NPS Pharma also announced that the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) has accepted the company's Biologic License
Application (BLA) on its lead pipeline candidate Natpara (rhPTH
[1-84]) for standard review. A decision from the FDA is expected
by Oct 24, 2014. The company is looking to get Natpara, which has
been granted orphan drug status in the U.S. and EU, approved for
treating hypoparathyroidism. We note that the BLA was submitted
by NPS Pharma to the FDA in Oct 2013.
Another interesting candidate in NPS Pharma's pipeline is NPSP795
(autosomal dominant hypocalcemia). NPS Pharma intends to make
significant efforts to advance the development of the candidate
during the course of the year. The successful development and
subsequent commercialization of the pipeline would reduce the
company's dependence on Gattex. We expect investor focus to
remain on updates relating to Gattex as well as NPS Pharma's
pipeline going forward.
NPS Pharma carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better ranked stocks
Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Forest Laboratories Inc.
WuXi PharmaTech (Cayman) Inc.
). All 3 stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).