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Epizyme (EPZM) Q1 Earnings: Can the Stock Surprise?

Epizyme, Inc. EPZM is expected to report first-quarter 2016 results on Apr 26.

The company has a mixed track record so far. It beat estimates in two of the last four quarters and missed on the other two occasions, with a negative average earnings surprise of 15.25%.

Factors Influencing This Quarter

Being a development-stage company, Epizyme does not have any approved product in its portfolio yet. Its top line, thus, comprises collaboration revenues only. Hence, investor focus will remain on pipeline updates.

Epizyme’s lead candidate, tazemetostat (an EZH2 inhibitor), is being evaluated for relapsed or refractory non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and advanced solid tumors. The candidate showed meaningful clinical activity as monotherapy, with an acceptable safety profile, in both NHL and certain genetically-defined solid tumors in an ongoing phase I trial.

Additionally, the company is currently evaluating tazemetostat in a phase II study in adults with relapsed or refractory NHL, and a phase II study in adults and a phase I study in children with certain genetically-defined solid tumors.

Epizyme continues to expect an increase in R&D spend in 2016 due to the expenses related to ongoing and planned clinical trials on tazemetostat, including registration-supporting trials in patients with NHL, and adult and pediatric patients with certain genetically defined solid tumors.

Epizyme also plans to initiate trials on tazemetostat, in combination with other therapies being used or investigated, for the treatment of NHL in mid 2016. These include is a phase I/IIb trial on the candidate in combination with R-CHOP, the standard-of-care chemotherapy regimen for patients with newly-diagnosed DLBCL, scheduled to begin in the second quarter of the year.

The second study in this series will to evaluate tazemetostat in combination with either an anti-PD1 antibody or an anti-PDL1 antibody in patients with relapsed or refractory DLBCL. The company is looking for a collaboration partner for this study and intends to initiate this study in mid 2016. A phase II study on tazemetostat in patients with mesothelioma, characterized by loss-of-function of BAP, will be initiated in the third quarter.

We note that the company has an agreement with Celgene CELG for the development of another pipeline candidate, pinometostat, in a phase I trial.

On its fourth-quarter earnings call, the company stated that it continues to expect its cash position to be sufficient to fund operations through at least the end of 2017.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Epizyme is likely to beat estimates this quarter. This is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), #2 (Buy) or #3 (Hold) for this to happen. This is not the case here, as you will see below.

Zacks ESP: The Earnings ESP, which represents the difference between the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate, is 0.00% since both the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate stand at a loss of 47 cents.

Zacks Rank: Epizyme carries a Zacks Rank #2. Though this increases the predictive power of the ESP, the company’s ESP of 0.00% makes surprise prediction difficult.

Note that we caution against stocks with a Zacks Rank #4 or #5 (Sell-rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing a negative estimate revision momentum.

Stocks That Warrant a Look

Here are a couple of health care stocks that you may want to consider, as our model shows that they have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter.

Gilead Sciences GILD has an Earnings ESP of +1.65% and a Zacks Rank #1. The company is scheduled to report first-quarter results on Apr 28.

The Earnings ESP for Sanofi SNY is +4.17% and it carries a Zacks Rank #2. The company is scheduled to release first-quarter results on Apr 29.

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SANOFI-AVENTIS (SNY): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
GILEAD SCIENCES (GILD): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CELGENE CORP (CELG): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
EPIZYME INC (EPZM): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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