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Avalanche (AAVL) Reports Wider-than-Expected Q1 Loss

Avalanche Biotechnologies, Inc. AAVL reported a loss of 57 cents per share in the first quarter of 2016, wider than both the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 39 and the year-ago loss of 38 cents.

With no approved product in its portfolio yet, the company’s top line comprises solely of collaboration and license revenues.

In the reported quarter, Avalanche Biotech’s total revenue amounted to $0.3 million, up from $0.2 million in the year-ago quarter.

Research and development (R&D) expenses were $7.4 million, up from $5.6 million reported in the year-ago quarter. General and administrative expenses almost doubled to $8.3 million.

We note that in Feb 2016, Avalanche Biotech entered into a definitive agreement to acquire all outstanding shares of Annapurna Therapeutics for approximately 17.6 million newly issued shares of the company’s common stock. Upon the closing of the transaction, which is expected in the second quarter of 2016, existing shareholders of Avalanche Biotech will own 62.5% of the combined company, while the rest will be owned by Annapurna shareholders. The company will also introduce a new name and ticker symbol to recognize this change upon the completion of the acquisition.

Pipeline Update

The Annapurna transaction added a number of early-stage candidates to the company’s portfolio including ANN-001, ANN-002 and ANN-003, among others. The first human study on ANN-001 for the treatment of alpha 1 antitrypsin (A1AT) deficiency is expected to begin later in 2016, while that on ANN-002 for the treatment of hereditary angioedema should be initiated in 2017.

Meanwhile, the company’s own candidates include AVA-101 for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), AVA-201 for the treatment and prevention of wet AMD, and AVA-322 and LAVA-323M for color vision deficiency, all presently in preclinical studies.

We remind investors that Avalanche Biotech has a collaboration agreement with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. REGN to discover, develop and commercialize novel gene therapy products for the treatment of ophthalmologic diseases.

We expect investor focus to remain on further pipeline updates from the company, going ahead.

Avalanche Biotech carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A couple of better-ranked stocks in the health care sector are Shire plc SHPG and Nektar Therapeutics NKTR.  Both these stocks have a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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REGENERON PHARM (REGN): Free Stock Analysis Report
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