GenVec losses grew in 2nd quarter

Revenue declined, costs of development rose, says gene-therapies company

August 02, 2002|By Julie Bell | Julie Bell,SUN STAFF

GenVec Inc. said yesterday that its second-quarter loss widened about 82 percent to $6.9 million as revenue fell and the company's drugs advanced in development, increasing costs.

The Gaithersburg-based developer of gene therapies said the loss amounted to 32 cents a share. That compares with a loss of $3.8 million, or 21 cents a share, in the second quarter of last year. Revenue in the quarter was $1.6 million, down from $2 million as payments decreased after Pfizer Inc.'s previously announced decision to discontinue financial backing for one of GenVec's drugs.

Analysts had predicted a loss of 30 cents a share, according to the average estimate of two analysts surveyed by Thompson Financial/First Call.

"Over the first half of 2002, GenVec has made significant progress in moving each of its product candidates forward while keeping costs in line with corporate and analyst projections," Jeffrey W. Church, GenVec's chief financial officer, said in a statement.

GenVec announced in January that Pfizer Inc. would discontinue financial backing for BioBypass, which is designed to treat vascular problems by promoting the growth of new blood vessels. The company has enough money to take its drugs through clinical trials designed to give initial indications of their effectiveness, said Craig D. West, an analyst with A.G. Edwards. If the drugs continue to show promise, he said, the company will be able to raise more money.

"My bottom line on GenVec is that it's a perfectly capitalized biotech company in that the amount of capital they have in hand will allow them to answer the most important clinical questions they have in the next 18 months," West said.

By the end of this year, GenVec expects to present results showing how well BioBypass worked in a Phase II clinical trial involving patients with peripheral vascular disease and, separately, in a Phase II clinical trial involving patients with coronary artery disease. It also expects to present results of two, Phase Ib trials of its TNFerade therapy, designed to enhance the effects of radiation in cancer patients, and to start a Phase II trial of the drug.

A third gene therapy, GenVec's AdPEDF treatment for macular degeneration - a disease of the eye - is likely to begin a Phase Ib trial this year.

GenVec reported cash, investments and working capital totaling $48.8 million at the end of June. Shares gained 12 cents yesterday to close at $3.40 on the Nasdaq stock market.

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