UPDATE 2-BioCryst says gout drug shows positive results

Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:28pm EDT

* Says all 3 doses show statistical significance

* Says drug was generally safe and well-tolerated

* Q1 loss/shr $0.06 vs estimate loss/shr $0.16

* Revenue $26.1 mln vs est $19.6 mln

* Shares rise as much as 18 percent (Adds details, analyst comments; updates stock movement)

By Krishnakali Sengupta

BANGALORE, April 28 (Reuters) - BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc (BCRX.O) posted a significantly narrower-than-expected quarterly loss and said its experimental gout drug showed positive results in an early mid-stage trial, sending its shares up 18 percent.

Investors are relieved that the company did not post any negative data, considering it is one of the few biotechnology companies that has a substantial revenue, said analyst Stephen Brozak of WBB Securities.

BioCryst said the drug, codenamed BCX4208, showed a statistically significant reduction in uric acid levels compared to a dummy drug in all its three dosages.

The main goal of the 21-day study was to record the change in serum uric acid concentration after 21 days of treatment in patients with gout.

The drug was generally safe and well-tolerated and incidence of gout flares was low, BioCryst said.

Roughly 5 million Americans have gout, in which uric acid build-up can cause swollen joints.

Part two of the phase-2 study is currently underway, sequentially evaluating the safety and efficacy of up to three higher doses of the drug, and results are expected in the fourth quarter, the company said in a statement.

Analyst Brozak said given that a number of blockbuster drugs are soon going to lose their patent exclusivity, it is likely that many big pharmaceutical companies will consider partnering BioCryst's gout drug as a lucrative opportunity.

BioCryst is well positioned to strike a good deal.

"They must not only be making outgoing calls but also receiving a lot of incoming calls from interested parties. But what remains to be seen is whether it will be now or after the late-stage data," Brozak told Reuters.

Q1 TOPS ESTIMATES

Separately, BioCryst reported upbeat quarterly results, helped by milestone and royalty payments.

Net loss for the first quarter was $2.6 million, or 6 cents a share, compared with a loss of $9.3 million, or 24 cents a share, a year ago.

Revenue grew 83 percent to $26.1 million, helped by milestone and royalty payments from its Japanese partner Shionogi & Co Ltd (4507.T) for BioCryst's anti-viral drug Rapiacta.

Analysts on average expected the company to post a loss of 16 cents per share, on revenue of $19.6 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares of the company were up 14 percent at $8. They had earlier touched a high of $8.30 Wednesday Nasdaq. (Reporting by Krishnakali Sengupta; Editing by Anne Pallivathuckal and Gopakumar Warrier)

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