Prothena's (PRTA) Loss Narrows in Q4, Pipeline Progresses

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Prothena Corporation plc PRTA reported a loss of $1.24 per share for the fourth quarter of 2017, narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of $1.44 and the year-ago loss of $1.41.

Quarterly revenues came in at $0.23 million, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.27 million but rose 34% from the year-ago quarter.

Prothena's stock moved up more than 4% on Wednesday, following the announcement of the results. However, the company's shares have declined 41.4% in the year so far, underperforming the industry 's loss of 3.3%.

Quarter in Detail

R&D expenses were $33.5 million, down 15.8% year over year primarily due to lower product manufacturing costs and costs related to clinical studies, partially offset by higher personnel and expenses related to PRX002/RG7935.

General and administrative (G&A) expenses were $14 million, up 45.8% year over year.

2017 Performance

Revenues for the full year was $27.5 million, compared to $1.1 million in the year ago period. Revenues included $26.6 million received as part of milestone payment from Roche Holdings RHHBY . Loss per share narrowed 12.7% year over year to $4.07. R&D expenses increased 12.6% year over to $134.5 million, and G&A expenses rose 17.3% to $48.2 million.

2018 Outlook

Prothena projects net cash burn from operating and investing activities in the range of $175-$230 million. The company expects to end 2018 with approximately $218 million in cash (midpoint).

Pipeline Updates

Prothena continues to progress with its pipeline candidates. The company is evaluating its lead candidate, NEOD001 in the phase III VITAL Amyloidosis study in newly diagnosed treatment-naïve patients with AL amyloidosis and cardiac dysfunction. Enrolment has been completed in the VITAL study.

Prothena is also evaluating the candidate in a phase IIb study, PRONTO, in previously treated patients with AL amyloidosis and persistent cardiac dysfunction. The company has completed enrolment in this study. Data from the study is expected in the second quarter of 2018.

Moreover, Prothena is evaluating PRX002, in collaboration with Roche for the treatment of Parkinson's disease and other related synucleinopathies. The company initiated a phase II study, PASADENA, on PRX002 in patients suffering from Parkinson`s disease, which triggered a $30-million milestone payment from Roche to Prothena. The study is continuing enrolment.

Alongside, Prothena is also working to advance PRX004 in a phase I study in patients with ATTR amyloidosis. A phase I study is planned for mid-2018.

Our Take

The narrower-than-expected loss in the fourth quarter was encouraging. The company's efforts to develop its pipeline are encouraging. We expect investor focus to remain on further updates from its late-stage candidate, NEOD001.

Prothena Corporation PLC Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Prothena Corporation PLC Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Prothena Corporation PLC Quote

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Prothena carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

A couple of better-ranked stocks from the health care space are XOMA Corp XOMA , and Exelixis EXEL . Both the stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .

XOMA's loss per share estimates have narrowed from 99 cents to 42 cents for 2018 in the last 60 days. The company pulled off a positive earnings surprise in one of the last four quarters, with an average beat of 47.92%. Share price of the company skyrocketed 393% over a year.

Exelixis' earnings per share estimates have moved up from 72 cents to 77 cents for 2018 in the last 60 days. The company delivered positive earnings surprise in the last four quarters, with an average beat of 572.92%. Share price of the company surged 33.7% over a year.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Business , Stocks
Referenced Symbols: RHHBY , XOMA , EXEL , PRTA

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