Paced by sharp gains in royalties and sales of its own products,Alza Corp. (NYSE:AZA) reported Wednesday that its second-quarter profits jumped 92 percent to $16.8 million, or 21 centsa share.

Royalty and fee revenues were up 86 percent to $27.4 millionfor the quarter. The rise was sparked by sales of MarionMerrell Dow Inc.'s Nicoderm nicotine transdermal patch, whichwas launched last December in the U.S., and an increasedroyalty rate on sales of Pfizer Inc.'s Procardia XL, a version ofthe largest-selling cardiovascular drug in the U.S., that uses anAlza-designed delivery system.

Celtrix Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:CTRX) reportedWednesday a 98 percent deeper first-quarter loss to $3.5million, owing largely to a doubling of research anddevelopment expenses to $3.6 million. The per-share loss, 43cents vs. 75 cents for the comparable year-ago quarter waslower due to an increase in shares.

Expanded clinical trials of BetaKine, Celtrix's naturallyoccurring, cell-regulating protein for treatment of macularholes (wounds to the retina) and dermal ulcers was the mainreason for the rise in R&D spending. The company also steppedup spending on manufacturing scale-up, regulatory affairs,quality assurance and medical affairs.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX) said Wednesday that itposted a 42 percent larger second-quarter loss of $1.9 million,resulting from stepped-up spending on research, general andadministrative spending. Its per-share loss dropped 24 percentto 16 cents due to an increased number of shares outstandingfollowing a public stock offering last November. Revenues rose72 percent to $1.5 million, as interest income jumped 13-foldto $516,000.

A 46 percent rise in R&D spending to $2.7 million reflected "ourcontinued investment in three major therapeutic researchprograms," said Joshua Berger, the company's president andchief executive officer. Furthest along are the development ofselective immunosuppression drugs to treat transplantrejection and HIV Protease anti-viral compounds to treat HIVand AIDS. Vertex is also working on oral drugs to treat acuteand chronic inflammation. It intends to start the final phase ofpre-clinical development on at least one lead compound beforeyear's end.

The company had $47.9 million in cash and equivalents as ofJune 30.

Genelabs Technologies Inc. (GNLB) reported Wednesday that itssecond-quarter loss of $4.5 million grew 31 percent from theyear-ago period. Revenues were nearly flat at $954,000, as arise in product sales nearly equalled a decline in contractresearch revenues.

Product sales rose more than sevenfold during the quarter to$436,000, largely resulting from the launch in Asian Pacificmarkets of a hepatitis E virus infection diagnostic andexpanded sales of HIV and hepatitis C tests. Contract researchrevenues declined 43 percent to $518,000, as the companycompleted work on some projects.

R&D expenses grew 18 percent to $3.8 million. The companyhad cash and equivalents of $20.5 million as of June 30.

NeoRx Corp. (NERX) trimmed by 2 percent its third-quarter lossapplicable to common shares to $2.7 million. Its per-share lossshrank to 10 cents from the year-ago 18-cent loss due to an 85percent rise in the number of shares outstanding.

Research and development contract revenues increased nearlythreefold to $151,000 during the quarter. The companyreported having $9.3 million in cash and equivalents as of June30, but expects to receive about $10 million during the fourthquarter as payments from previously announced agreementswith Eastman Kodak's Sterling Winthrop unit and BoehringerIngelheim International.

All quarterly results are for periods ending on or about June 30unless otherwise noted. All stock symbols are for NASDAQ listingsunless otherwise noted.

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.

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