Sarepta sees slower sales of Duchenne drug than some views
Sarepta Therapeutics could be poised to lose more than $200 million in market cap Wednesday after issuing a 2017 revenue forecast for its Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug that fell short of what many analysts have predicted.
During a conference call with analysts after markets closed on Tuesday, Sarepta (Nasdaq: SRPT) CFO Sandy Mahatme said that the company estimates that Exondys51, which in September became the first Duchenne drug to win FDA approval, will generate $13 million to $15 million in revenue in the first quarter of 2017, and exceed $80 million for the full year. Many Wall Street analysts, including those at Leerink Partners and RBC Capital Markets, had forecasted more than $100 million in sales this year.
Shares of Sarepta declined by more than 14 percent in after-hours trading as of 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. If that loss holds on Wednesday, it would cut the company’s market cap from nearly $1.7 billion to around $1.45 billion.
With the guidance, Sarepta appeared to be lowering expectations for the commercial launch of Exondys51, its only approved drug. Some big insurers have been hesitant to reimburse the treatment due to the limited nature of the trial data that led to the FDA’s controversial approval. The high cost of the drug — $300,000 for patients the size of an 8-year-old, and more for older ones — has contributed to unease among some investors.
Nevertheless, Sarepta CEO Ed Kaye said on the conference call Tuesday that the company has observed strong interest in the drug among patients and physicians, and is working with insurers to make the treatment as widely available as possible. Exondys51 targets a gene mutation shared by about 13 percent of patients with Duchenne, a disease that causes progressive muscle weakness and mainly affects boys.
“Overall, we are quite pleased with the continued progress of the launch. But our work is not done,” Kaye said.
In January, Sarepta announced that Exondys51 had generated $5.4 million in sales in the fourth quarter of 2016, beating analysts’ expectations.
The company on Tuesday reported a net loss of $88.5 million in the fourth quarter, compared to $64.7 million in the same period in 2015. It reported a net loss of $267.3 million for 2016, compared to $220 million in 2015.