Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical vows to cut burn rate 20% as 2019 loss tops $400M

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Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Inc. (Nasdaq: RARE) on Thursday reported its net loss was 6.8% more in the fourth quarter than a year before and more than doubled for 2019.

The Novato-based maker of treatments for rare disorders said it had a loss of $93.8 million, or $1.62 per share. Losses, adjusted for non-recurring gains, were $1.64 per share.

The results did not meet Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for a loss of $1.61 per share.

The biotechnology company posted revenue of $35.6 million in the period, surpassing Street forecasts. Eight analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $32.3 million.

For the year, the company reported that its net loss widened more than doubled to $402.7 million, or $7.12 per share, from $197.6 million, $3.97 a share, a year before. But revenue doubled over the year, to $103.7 million, from $51.5 million.

“In 2019 we created a substantial foundation based on the strong launch of Crysvita and the validation of our gene therapy platform across multiple clinical programs,” said Emil D. Kakkis, M.D., Ph.D., CEO and president of Ultragenyx, in the announcement about the results. “In 2020, we anticipate building on this momentum as we look to the potential approvals of UX007 for LC-FAOD and Crysvita for TIO. We also expect to advance our gene therapy programs into pivotal studies and bring two new programs into the clinic while continuing to exercise financial discipline.”

The company said it expects a more than 20% reduction in net cash burn — net cash used in operations plus capital expenditures — in 2020 compared to 2019 due to a combination of financial discipline in spending with flattening operating expense growth, combined with the significantly larger growth in revenue.

Ultragenyx shares have risen 47% since the beginning of the year. On Thursday, shares hit $62.90, a rise of 15% in the last 12 months. The stock price was $61.04 in afternoon trading Friday, down nearly 3% from Thursday.

North Bay Business Journal contributed to this report.

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