Biotech & Health

Silver Spring’s United Therapeutics Thwarts Generic Drug Competition As It Makes a Profit in Q1 2020

Company's Generic Competition Falling Back
MBS Staff
United Therapeutics headquarters in downtown Silver Spring (rear)

“Stable, Stronger, Sustainable.” That’s how Martine Rothblatt, Ph.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of United Therapeutics (NASDAQ: UTHR) described the current state of the biotech company in a conference call for the first quarter of 2020.

Financial results for United Therapeutics swung back to profitability after posting a net loss in the same quarter of 2019. The five drugs that the firm has on the market brought in revenues of over $356 million, down two percent from the first quarter of 2019.

The big news is that net income jumped 128 percent to $137.7 million ($3.12 per diluted share) versus a net loss of $494.6 million in 2019 Q1. A lot of the loss last year could be attributed to research and development projects, in particular United Therapeutics $800 million upfront payment to Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARNA) for a license agreement related to the drug ralinepag. The company also funded a $12.5 million agreed payment under a license and collaboration deal with MannKind Corporation (NASDAQ: MNKD).

Generic Drugs

Some patients have been switching back to United Therapeutics’s Remodulin drug from generic versions. Michael Benkowitz, President and Chief Operating Officer noted that some anecdotal evidence are patients sensing the generic version is not as effective and patients noticing a worsening of their illnesses when using the generic versions.

Silver Spring-based United Therapeutics has several drugs in its development pipeline and recently released positive results for its FREEDOM-EV Study for Orenitram (treprostinil) Extended-Release Tablets. Patients in the study who have pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) showed increased improvement.

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