AP News

Sarepta Therapeutics slips on 2013 outlook


NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Sarepta Therapeutics Inc. fell Thursday after the drug developer forecast a larger-than-expected loss in 2013.

Sarepta has no approved products and is studying a drug called eteplirsen as a treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a rare genetic disease that causes increasing muscle weakness. It is also researching a treatment for the deadly Marburg virus under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense.

The Cambridge, Mass., company the company took a bigger loss in the fourth quarter because of a charge related to the increasing value of its stock. Sarepta lost $62.1 million, or $2.36 per share, in the latest quarter. That included a $51.8 million charge related to stock warrants. The company reported a loss of $1.4 million, or 6 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue fell to $7.3 million from $13.6 million

Analysts were expecting a loss of 27 cents per share and $7.1 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Companies often take charges when their stock rapidly increases in value to reflect greater liabilities. Sarepta's stock price rose more than fourfold in 2012 as it reported positive trial data for eteplirsen. The shares finished the year at $23.79 after starting at $4.47 at the end of 2011. In October the stock peaked at $45, its highest price in 10 years.

Sarepta announced positive results from extension of a midstage clinical trial in December and said Thursday that it will meet with the Food and Drug Administration later this month to discuss its next steps.

The company's revenue declined because it received less revenue from the U.S. government after a development contract for an Ebola virus treatment was canceled.

The Marburg virus is indigenous to Africa and is spread through contact with infected animals or the body fluids of infected humans. Symptoms also include shock, delirium and multi-organ dysfunction. Sarepta said the virus is classified as a bioterrorism threat. Ebola causes severe internal bleeding and has no cure.

Sarepta lost $121.3 million, or $5.14 per share, in 2012 after losing $2.3 million, or 11 cents per share, in 2011. Revenue fell 21 percent, to $37.3 million from $47 million.

The company said it expects to take a loss of loss of $85 million to $115 million in 2103, while revenue will decline to $18 million to $24 million.

Analysts expect a loss of $44.5 million and $27.4 million in revenue on average.

Shares of Sarepta Therapeutics lost $1.33, or 4.3 percent, to $29.98 in midday trading.


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