Acadia, Neurocrine See Stock Price Bump After Quarterly Earnings

Xconomy San Diego — 

We’re in the midst of earnings season, and a couple of San Diego’s publicly traded biotechs recently updated investors this week with sales data and other financial insights. Here’s a look at those companies.

—Acadia Pharmaceuticals faced a setback in July with the failure of a late-stage trial that was testing pimavanserin—which the company’s sells under the name Nuplazid as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease-related psychosis—in people with schizophrenia who haven’t responded to other medications.

Investors, however, buoyed the company’s share price this week after Acadia (NASDAQ: ACAD) announced it anticipated that sales of Nuplazid, its sole commercial drug, would bring in $320 million to $330 million, up from its previous estimate of $280 million to $300 million.

In its second-quarter report, released after market close Wednesday, Acadia said sales of the drug brought in revenue of $83.2 million, up 46 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago. The drug is the only medicine the FDA has approved to treat the hallucinations and delusions that more than half of people with the progressive neurological disorder will experience, according to the American Parkinson Disease Association. In the second quarter, Acadia recorded a net loss of $54.9 million, compared to $63.3 million in the same period in 2018.

Acadia’s share price passed $28 on Thursday, closing nearly 17 percent higher day-over-day.

The company is also testing pimavanserin in late-stage trials—from which some data are anticipated later this year—as a treatment for a subset of people with schizophrenia who experience what’s known as “negative” symptoms, such as a seeming lack of interest in the world and others, and for psychosis that’s related to dementia. Acadia is also testing the drug as a treatment for major depressive disorder. It has begun diversifying its pipeline beyond pimavanserin: Later this year, Acadia is slated to start a Phase 3 trial of an experimental drug it acquired last year, called trofinetide, as a treatment for Rett syndrome, a pediatric rare disease.

—Neurocrine Biosciences reported second-quarter revenue of about $184 million, about 90 percent more than the same period in 2018. The company’s flagship drug, valbenazine (Ingrezza), was the first approved to treat tardive dyskinesia (TD), a potentially permanent movement disorder that’s caused by some medications used to treat mental illness.

(Incidentally, Acadia’s pimavanserin—unlike most medications prescribed for mental illness—is an unusual drug in the realm of antipsychotics in that it doesn’t block dopamine. Long-term use of drugs that do block the chemical, which helps control muscle movement, can cause TD.)

For the quarter ended June 30, Neurocrine (NASDAQ: NBIX) reported net income of $51.3 million, compared to a net loss of $5.9 million in the second quarter of 2018. About a third of the increase was attributable to Neurocrine’s investment in Cambridge, MA-based gene therapy developer Voyager Therapeutics (NASDAQ: VYGR). In the first half of this year the company reported a net loss of $50.8 million, compared to $47.7 million in the same period of 2018; expenses from research and development associated with its Voyager collaboration in the first six months of 2019 added up to $118.1 million, the company said.

Neurocrine’s share price jumped 10 percent from $86.97 apiece at market close Monday to $95.95 per share a day later. Shares closed Thursday at $95.47 each.

The company, in collaboration with AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV), has also commercialized the drug elagolix (Orlissa) as a treatment for endometriosis, an often-painful uterine condition. It is also testing the drug as a therapy for uterine fibroids. In addition, the FDA has accepted Neurocrine’s new drug application for opicapone, a drug approved in Europe as a complement to levodopa, the standard treatment for Parkinson’s disease. By 2020’s end, Neurocrine says it anticipates having three drugs approved in four indications, including its treatment for TD, Ingrezza.