Amryt Pharma PLC (LON:AMYT) shares rose on Wednesday as the group's chief executive Joe Wiley said the company has created the “commercial platform and critical infrastructure to make this a significant business and cash generator”.
He was commenting with the release of full-year results from the group, which revealed Amryt's turnover had grown by 13.3% to €14.5mln in the 12 months to December 31.
Driving that growth was Lojuxta, used to treat a rare and life-threatening disorder that causes abnormally high levels of bad cholesterol. Its sales grew to €13.6mln, up 14.2% year-on-year.
The momentum continued into the first quarter of the current year, with Lojuxta revenues of €3.9mln, a rise of 28.1%.
Amryt is a hybrid company in that it generates income, which helps mitigate the cash burned developing new potential products.
Looking at other treatments, the group said the final patient will be enrolled in the second half to its Phase III clinical trial of AP-101, which is being developed to treat a life-limiting skin disorder.
It has opened an early access programme in Colombia for the new medication and more importantly has been granted a priority review voucher by the Food & Drug Administration in the US.
That gives Amryt the opportunity to get AP-101 to the market quickly. However, the voucher also has a monetary value as it can be sold on to another company. Deals of this type have netted anywhere from US$67.5mln-US$350mln.
Finally, Amryt’s gene therapy platform has created a pre-clinical candidate that may one day supersede AP-101 for people with Epidermolysis Bullosa.
Digging down into the financials, the group ended last year with €9.8mln in the bank. It has since drawn down €5mln from a debt facility.
As with most companies at this formative stage of development, Amryt was loss-making. The operating loss was €15.25mln, which included research and development spend of €9mln.
CEO Wiley said: “2018 was another strong year for Amryt as we continued to expand our business and make progress towards our goal of becoming a global leader in rare and orphan diseases.
“We continued to grow Lojuxta sales and we believe that we now have in place the commercial platform and critical infrastructure to make this a significant business and cash generator for Amryt in the future.”
In a note to clients, analysts at ‘house’ broker Shore Capital commented: “Cash of €9.8m as at 31st Dec, together with an additional €5m from the EIB debt facility drawn at the end of Q1 FY2019, suggests a cash requirement in 2019F."
They added: “We remain confident in management’s focus and ability to resolve the financing situation, with due and timely consideration for all manner of funding sources both dilutive (i.e. equity) and non-dilutive (i.e. debt, strategic licensing).”
In afternoon trading, shares in Amryt Pharma were 2% higher at 12.62p.
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