Apellis Pharmaceuticals, a leading pharmaceutical company, has reported better-than-expected sales for its eye drug, Syfovre, in the June quarter. The sales of the drug reached $67.3 million, surpassing initial expectations of $25 million to $34.1 million, according to Needham analyst Joseph Stringer.
While the sales figures are impressive, concerns over the drug’s safety have cast a shadow on the company’s stock performance. The American Society of Retina Specialists has reported cases of occlusive vasculitis, a type of eye inflammation, in some patients after receiving the injection. This has led to a significant decline in Apellis Pharmaceuticals’ stock, which crashed by 19.6% on Monday, closing at $25.75.
Since the launch of Syfovre, seven patients have experienced retinal vasculitis, with four cases resulting in vision loss. Two patients have managed to recover their vision, while two still suffer from severe visual impairment. Three cases are still evolving, adding to the safety concerns surrounding the drug.
Despite these concerns, Apellis Pharmaceuticals remains confident and has shipped 68,000 vials of Syfovre, with only a small number of vial returns reported. However, retinal specialists have shown varying levels of caution when it comes to using the drug, with about one-third deciding to pause its use until further safety information is available.
Analyst Joseph Stringer from Needham continues to maintain a buy rating on Apellis Pharmaceuticals’ stock. However, he has reduced the price target from $110 to $60, taking into account the safety concerns raised by the recent cases of occlusive vasculitis.
Total sales for Apellis Pharmaceuticals amounted to $95 million, surpassing the initial forecasts of $69 million. The boost in sales was driven by the success of Empaveli, another drug by the company that treats a life-threatening blood disease.
On the other hand, Wedbush analyst Laura Chico remains cautious and maintains a neutral rating on Apellis Pharmaceuticals’ stock. She has also lowered the price target from $40 to $32. Chico expects sales of Syfovre to be unstable in the near-term as the company assesses the actual event rate and addresses the safety concerns raised by the cases of occlusive vasculitis.
Overall, the recent sales success of Syfovre has been marred by safety concerns, leading to a significant decline in Apellis Pharmaceuticals’ stock. The company will need to address these concerns and provide further safety information to regain the confidence of retinal specialists and investors alike.
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