Amarin rises on 1Q report of Vascepa sales

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Amarin Corp. PLC rose Friday after the company gave its first quarterly report for its triglyceride drug Vascepa.

THE SPARK: Amarin reported its first-quarter results after the market closed Thursday. It reported $2.3 million in revenue from Vascepa and said it deferred another $2.9 million in revenue. Vascepa is the company's first approved drug, and Amarin began selling it in late January.

The company took a loss of $62.2 million, or 41 cents per share, after losing $88.3 million, or 65 cents per share, a year ago. It had no revenue in the year-ago quarter. Amarin's spending more than tripled, but it took a smaller loss because it took a $66 million charge related to derivatives.

Analysts expected a loss of 39 cents per share on $3.4 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

THE BIG PICTURE: Vascepa is a prescription form of fish oil designed to lower triglycerides, a type of fat in the bloodstream. The Food and Drug Administration approved Vascepa in July. Amarin is currently allowed to market the drug for use in patients with severely high levels of triglycerides. The FDA is reviewing a broader marketing approval that would allow the company to market Vascepa for patients with triglyceride levels that are still elevated, but less severe.

The agency is expected to make a decision by Dec. 20.

Amarin said that prescriptions have grown steadily, reaching about 7,300 in March, the final month of the quarter, and 11,800 in April.

THE ANALYSIS: Roth Capital Partners analyst Robert Hazlett said the launch of Vascepa is going "as expected."

Citi Investment Research analyst Jonathan Eckard trimmed his sales estimate for Vascepa in 2013 but maintained a positive view of the drug's launch.

"Many of the important fundamentals are falling into place," he wrote. "However, it could take some time until these become fully reflected in drug sales."

Eckard now expects Amarin to report $52 million in Vascepa sales for this year, down from $78 million. He expects those sales to grow to $265.5 million in 2014.

Both analysts rate Amarin shares at "Buy."

SHARE ACTION: Amarin stock gain 42 cents, or 6 percent, to $7.24 in afternoon trading. The shares are still down about 40 percent since early December, when Amarin suggested it would market Vascepa on its own instead of partnering with a larger drug company.