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Aeterna Zentaris posts wider loss in 1st quarter

Wed, 05/18/2011 - 9:17am
The Associated Press

Canadian drugmaker Aeterna Zentaris Inc. reported a larger first-quarter loss on Wednesday, as higher expenses canceled out greater sales of its hormone drug Cetrotide.

The company said it lost $10.1 million, or 12 cents per share. A year ago Aeterna Zentaris reported a loss of $5.7 million, or 9 cents per share. Its revenue rose to $7.4 million from $6.4 million.

Analysts were forecasting a loss of 8 cents per share and $6.7 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Cetrotide is a hormone antagonist used as part of in vitro fertilization procedures. The company said some of its customers made larger-than-normal orders of Cetrotide, and the stronger euro also helped its sales. Aeterna Zentaris also received a $2.5 million royalty payment from Cowen Healthcare Royalty Partners, which purchased Aeterna Zentaris' rights to royalties on future sales of Cetrotide.

While Aeterna Zentaris said its revenue increased, it also reported greater cost of sales, higher finance costs, and a loss on foreign currency exchange.

The company is also developing the experimental cancer drug perifosine. Perifosine is in late-stage trials as a treatment for colorectal cancer and multiple myeloma, and Aeterna Zentaris is running studies of the drug against other cancers. Aeterna Zentaris licensed the North American marketing rights to Keryx Biopharmaceuticals Inc. Yakult Honsha has the rights to the drug in Japan, and Handok Pharmaceuticals holds the rights in Korea.

Shares of Aeterna Zentaris rose 2 cents to $2.16 in afternoon trading.

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