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MENLO PARK, Calif., March 01, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Geron Corporation (Nasdaq:GERN) today reported financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2016 and recent events.
Fourth Quarter and Year-End 2016 Results
For each of the fourth quarter of 2016 and 2015, the company reported a net loss of $8.5 million, or $(0.05) per share. For 2016, the company reported a net loss of $29.5 million, or $(0.19) per share, compared to net income of $46,000, or $0.00 per share, for 2015. The company ended 2016 with $129.1 million in cash and investments.
Revenues for the fourth quarter of 2016 were $94,000 compared to $220,000 for the comparable 2015 period. Revenues for 2016 were $6.2 million compared to $36.4 million for 2015. Revenues for 2016 included the full recognition of an upfront payment of $5.0 million from Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. under a license agreement for certain rights to the company’s specialized oligonucleotide backbone chemistry and novel amidates. Revenues for 2015 included the full recognition of the $35.0 million upfront payment from Janssen Biotech, Inc. (Janssen) as collaboration revenue upon the company’s transfer of the imetelstat license rights and completion of technology transfer-related activities outlined under the imetelstat collaboration agreement with Janssen. The upfront cash payment was received in December 2014 and recorded as deferred revenue at that time.
Total operating expenses for each of the fourth quarter of 2016 and 2015 were $8.9 million. Total operating expenses for 2016 were $36.8 million compared to $36.9 million for 2015. Operating expenses for 2015 included restructuring charges of $1.3 million in connection with the company’s organizational resizing announced in March 2015.
Research and development expenses for the fourth quarter of 2016 were $4.1 million compared to $4.0 million for the comparable 2015 period. Research and development expenses for 2016 were $18.0 million compared to $17.8 million for 2015. The increase in research and development expenses in 2016 compared to 2015 primarily reflected the net result of higher costs for the company’s proportionate share of clinical development expenses under the imetelstat collaboration with Janssen, partially offset by reduced personnel-related costs resulting from the March 2015 organizational resizing and lower costs for the manufacturing of imetelstat drug product.
General and administrative expenses for the fourth quarter of 2016 were $4.8 million compared to $4.9 million for the comparable 2015 period. General and administrative expenses for 2016 were $18.8 million compared to $17.8 million for 2015. The increase in general and administrative expenses in 2016 compared to 2015 primarily reflected the net result of higher non-cash stock-based compensation expense and an increased allocation of facilities and other overhead costs to general and administrative activities, partially offset by lower consulting and legal costs.
Interest and other income for the fourth quarter of 2016 was $321,000 compared to $196,000 for the comparable 2015 period. Interest and other income for 2016 was $1.2 million compared to $677,000 for 2015. The increase in interest and other income for 2016 compared to 2015 primarily reflected higher yields on the company’s marketable securities portfolio.
“In 2016, the imetelstat program progressed with the ongoing clinical trials in patients with myelofibrosis and myelodysplastic syndromes being conducted by Janssen, as well as through a range of preclinical and translational studies in collaboration with academic scientists around the world,” said John A. Scarlett, M.D., Geron’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “2017 will be another important year for imetelstat. We expect Janssen to conduct the second internal reviews of data from IMbark and IMerge to inform Janssen’s decisions regarding further development plans for the drug, including prospects around dosing in IMbark and opening the Phase 3 part of IMerge. We expect Janssen’s decision-making to occur in the second quarter of 2017.”
2016 EVENTS SUMMARY
Imetelstat Clinical Development by Janssen
Publications and Presentations
These publications and posters are available through the Publications page in the R&D section of Geron’s website (www.geron.com).
Conference Call and Webcast
At 4:30 p.m. ET on March 1, 2017, Geron’s management will host a conference call to discuss the company’s fourth quarter and annual results as well as recent company events.
Participants can access the conference call live via telephone dialing 877-303-9139 (U.S.); 760-536-5195 (international). The conference ID is 53505663. A live audio-only webcast is also available through the Investors section of our website at www.geron.com or at http://edge.media-server.com/m/p/ouvh9xwx. The audio webcast of the conference call will be available for replay approximately one hour following the live broadcast through April 1, 2017.
Geron is a biopharmaceutical company supporting the clinical stage development of a first-in-class telomerase inhibitor, imetelstat, in hematologic myeloid malignancies. For more information about Geron, visit www.geron.com.
Use of Forward-Looking Statements
Except for the historical information contained herein, this press release contains forward-looking statements made pursuant to the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Investors are cautioned that statements in this press release regarding: (i) continued conduct by Janssen of IMbark or IMerge and/or any further development of imetelstat; (ii) Janssen obtaining additional or more mature data from IMbark or IMerge; (iii) that Janssen will conduct any additional or further data reviews of IMbark or IMerge, and the timing of such data reviews; (iv) potential outcomes of any data reviews conducted by Janssen; (v) the safety and efficacy of imetelstat; (vi) financial projections and expectations; (vii) patent coverage for imetelstat; (viii) pre-clinical data; and (ix) other statements that are not historical facts, constitute forward-looking statements. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that can cause actual results to differ materially from those in such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties, include, without limitation, risks and uncertainties related to: (i) whether imetelstat will succeed in IMbark and IMerge by overcoming all of the clinical safety and efficacy, technical, scientific, manufacturing and regulatory challenges; (ii) whether Janssen decides to continue or terminate its development of imetelstat; (iii) Janssen’s ability to collect additional and more mature data from current clinical trials of imetelstat; (iv) whether Janssen continues to conduct IMerge or IMbark; (v) whether health authorities permit the further development of imetelstat; (vi) Geron’s dependence on Janssen for the development, regulatory approval, manufacture and commercialization of imetelstat, including the risks that if Janssen were to breach or terminate the collaboration agreement or otherwise fail to successfully develop and commercialize imetelstat and in a timely manner, or at all, Geron would not obtain the anticipated financial and other benefits of the collaboration agreement with Janssen and the clinical development or commercialization of imetelstat could be delayed or terminated; (vii) whether imetelstat is safe and efficacious, and whether any future efficacy or safety results may cause the benefit/risk profile of imetelstat to become unacceptable; (viii) the fact that Geron may not receive any milestone, royalty or other payments from Janssen because Janssen may terminate the collaboration agreement for any reason; (ix) the ability of Geron and Janssen to protect and maintain intellectual property rights for imetelstat; (x) whether pre-clinical data has any correlation to clinical results; and (xi) the need for future capital. Additional information on the above risks and uncertainties and additional risks, uncertainties and factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are contained in Geron’s periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the heading “Risk Factors,” including Geron’s annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016. Undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made, and the facts and assumptions underlying the forward-looking statements may change. Except as required by law, Geron disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect future information, events or circumstances.
Financial table follows.
CONDENSED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
Three Months Ended
|(In thousands, except share and per share data)||2016||2015||2016||2015|
|License fees and royalties||94||220||6,162||1,371|
|Research and development||4,120||3,982||18,047||17,831|
|General and administrative||4,755||4,882||18,761||17,793|
|Total operating expenses||8,875||8,864||36,808||36,930|
|Loss from operations||(8,781||)||(8,644||)||(30,646||)||(559||)|
|Unrealized gain on derivatives||—||—||—||16|
|Interest and other income||321||196||1,192||677|
|Interest and other expense||(22||)||(20||)||(83||)||(88||)|
|Net (loss) income||$||(8,482||)||$||(8,468||)||$||(29,537||)||$||46|
|Net (loss) income per share:|
|Shares used in computing net (loss) income per share:|
|CONDENSED BALANCE SHEETS|
|December 31,||December 31,|
|Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash||$||13,078||$||21,515|
|Current marketable securities||102,035||92,524|
|Other current assets||999||1,853|
|Total current assets||116,112||115,892|
|Noncurrent marketable securities||13,954||32,661|
|Property and equipment, net||183||207|
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