Biotechnology company Rosetta Genomics Ltd. reported a fourth-quarter loss Wednesday compared with a year-ago profit helped by lower costs and a one-time gain on auction-rate securities.
The company lost $4.4 million, or 28 cents per share, compared with profit of $1.1 million, or 9 cents per share, during the same period a year prior. Rosetta reported $119,000 in revenue, compared with no revenue in the year-ago period.
During the fourth quarter of 2008, the company gained a $7.4 million financial boost after Credit Suisse repurchased all remaining auction-rate securities that the company bought in 2007. The move was part of a settlement agreement Credit Suisse reached with the Attorney General of the State of New York and the North American Securities Administrators Association Task Force.
For the full year, the company posted a loss of $16.5 million, or $1.22 per share, compared with a loss of $9.5 million, or 79 cents per share, in 2008. Rosetta reported $150,000 in revenue, compared with no revenue a year ago.
The company, based in Israel, develops microRNA products and diagnostics. Treatments based on the technology could be used to control protein production within cells and turn off certain genes. The goal is to use the technology in major conditions like cancer to both diagnose and treat the disease.
Rodman & Renshaw analyst Simos Simeonidis reaffirmed a "Market Outperform" rating and $5 price target on Rosetta shares, citing the company and microRNA's potential in the market. He expects the role of the technology to expand in future because of its ability to better focus treatment of certain diseases such as cancer.
He said the company will likely work to develop tests in conjunction with large pharmaceutical companies.
"We are not banking on the economics of any such initial deal being very significant, but believe that any such big pharma partnership will open up additional possibilities for Rosetta's product offerings and increase awareness around the industry about the company and its capabilities," Simeonidis said.
He also expects to see additional professional journal publications about the technology, which could boost shares.
Shares fell 21 cents, or 9 percent, to $2.17 in afternoon trading. The stock has ranged between $1.59 and $3.80 over the last 52 weeks.