Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc.CNAT reported third-quarter 2015 loss of 31 cents per share, narrower than the year-ago loss of 42 cents. The company benefited from lower expenses and a higher number of shares. The company's third-quarter loss was also narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 36 cents.
With no approved product in its portfolio, the company does not generate revenues yet.
In the third quarter, research and development (R&D) expenses were $4.1 million, down 6.7% from the year-ago quarter. The decrease in R&D expenses was primarily due to lower external emricasan study and manufacturing expenses, which was partially offset by higher external emricasan preclinical costs. General and administrative expenses remained flat year over year at $2 million.
Emricasan in Focus
The company is developing its lead candidate, emricasan, for the treatment of patients with chronic liver disease. In the third quarter, the company reported encouraging data from an exploratory phase II portal hypertension study on the candidate. In the study, it was observed that emricasan significantly lowered portal pressure in patients with severe portal hypertension.
Conatus plans to initiate the ENCORE (EmricasaN, a Caspase inhibitOR, for Evaluation) program comprising multiple parallel phase IIb studies on emricasan to evaluate a range of doses over various treatment durations in patients of different etiologies over the next 15 months. Top-line data from these studies are expected to be available periodically from the first half of 2018.
Conatus carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the health care sector include Anika Therapeutics Inc. ANIK , Baxalta Incorporated BXLT and Eli Lilly and Company LLY . Both Anika and Baxalta sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while Eli Lilly carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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