Healthcare Business

Aegerion Pharmaceuticals Plunges to New 52-Week Low

Chris Lange

Aegerion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: AEGR) reported its third-quarter results Thursday after the market close as -$0.12 in earnings per share and $43.7 million in revenue, against Thomson Reuters consensus estimates of -$0.14 in earnings per share and $48.32 million in revenue. The third quarter from the previous year had -$0.43 in earnings per share and $16.33 million in revenue.

The company gave guidance for the full year of $150 million to $160 million in net product sales, revised down from $180 million to $200. The consensus estimates for the full year are -$0.87 in earnings per share and $172.91 million in revenue.

Aegerion reported a net loss for the third quarter of $3.5 million.

The company produces the drug Juxtapid, which treats high cholesterol and can decrease the problems associated with it, such as heart attacks and stroke.

However, CEO Marc D. Beer would comment on some of the sales problems with the company’s flagship drug:

We continue to believe in the overall market potential of JUXTAPID. However, we are reducing our full year’s sales estimates at this time to reflect both higher patient dropout rates and lower U.S. prescription growth rates than previously anticipated following the commercial investments we made earlier this year.

Looking ahead, the company expects sales of Juxtapid for 2015 to increase 30% to 40%. However, this is not in line with what analysts are expecting for revenue in 2015. Thomson Reuters has a consensus estimate for sales of $291.75 million.

Bank of America was one of the firms that downgraded Aegerion Friday morning after its earnings report. It cut Aegerion to an Underperform rating from Buy. Deutsche Bank downgraded Aegerion to a Hold rating, and J.P. Morgan downgraded it to a Neutral rating.

Shares of Aegerion closed Thursday up 4.4% at $34.21. Following the release of the earnings report, the initial response in the premarket was negative, due to the weak top line in earnings as well as the adjusted guidance, and shares fell more than 33% to $22.85.

After the first two hours of regular trading Friday, shares had reached as low as $20.80, compared to the prior 52-week range of $26.25 to $85.34. At the same time, over 7.6 million shares had moved on the day, compared to its daily average volume of a million. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $60.60.

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