Tuesday, April 23, 2024

BioCryst says its key drug has big upside

BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, long one of North Carolina’s most promising drug development companies, reported record growth last year as its major product had surging sales, according to its Monday earnings report.

The Durham-based company’s Orladeyo is a once-daily, oral drug to prevent hereditary angioedema, which typically involves the swelling of the face, hands or feet that blocks lungs or intestinal walls.

Sales of Orladeyo have jumped to $326 million last year from $133,000 in 2020. The company expects revenue from the drug of as much as $400 million this year, and eventually more than $1 billion annually, according to previous company filings.

The company remains unprofitable, reflecting the heavy investment required by drugmakers for new products. It reported a net loss of $226.5 million, or $1.18 per share, in 2023, down from a $247.1 million deficit the previous year. Revenue increased 22% to $331 million from a year earlier, with Orladeyo making up more than 98%.

Since 2010, Biocryst has reported net losses of about $1.4 billion, including more than $800 million in the past six years. Its other drugs had revenue of about $5.4 million last year.

“The impressive growth we are seeing with Orladeyo has put us in a position to accelerate our path to profitability while continuing to invest in our diverse pipeline of first-in-class or best-in-class molecules that we believe will deliver our next marketed product,” CEO Jon Stonehouse said in a release.

BioCryst is on track to be profitable and have positive cash flow in 2026, the company officials said Monday.

Shares were unchanged in midday trading at $5.71. The stock has traded from $4.83 to $9.20 in the past year. The market cap is about $1.1 billion

The company was founded in Alabama in 1986 based on research by professors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. It opened a North Carolina lab in 2006 to support clinical research, with Stonehouse joining the business in 2007 after working at Merck. Headquarters moved to Durham in 2010. Over the years, the company has worked on drugs aimed at treating influenza and rheumatoid arthritis.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Orladeyo in 2020, prompting a global launch of the product.

The company’s directors include Machelle Sanders, who is the N.C. Commerce secretary, and George Abercrombie, a retired former executive of Glaxo Wellcome.

David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg is editor of Business North Carolina. Reach him at

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