BeiGene Announces Drug Approvals in China, U.S.; Stock Falls on Revenue Drop

Biopharma BeiGene continues to move its cancer and Covid-19.drugs through the pipeline in both China and the U.S.

Author: Belinda Zhou   

Shares of BeiGene, Ltd. (HKEX: 6160; Nasdaq: BGNE) fell 3% on Tuesday as the company announced revenue decline and net loss in the first quarter.

The Beijing-based biotech giant said in a statement Monday aftermarket that first-quarter revenues were $52.06 million, down 33% from the corresponding period in the previous year.  

The company's net loss doubled to $365 million in the three months through March from $168 million in the first quarter last year.

BeiGene works on molecularly-targeted and immuno-oncology drugs for the treatment of cancer. 

BeiGene launched its anti-PD-1 antibody tislelizumab in March 2020 and the drug generated $52 million in the first quarter.

The company announced the approval of tislelizumab in China for patients from the Chinese authority China National Medical Products Administration. BeiGene also reported positive readouts of two Phase 3 trials of tislelizumab to treat "first-line non-small cell lung cancer at interim analyses" in the statement.

These developments represent key milestones, said John V. Oyler, the chief executive officer of BeiGene. "The company executes on its goals and work to create impactful medicines that will be accessible to far more cancer patients around the world," Olyer commented. 

The company spent nearly doubled expenses of $304.30 million on research and development in the three months ended March compared to $178.35 million in the same period last year.

"In addition to our launch of tislelizumab in China this quarter, we are on the way to having potentially up to 11 commercial products before the end of next year, and look forward to presenting Phase 3 data on BRUKINSA and tislelizumab," Oyler added.

In the race to fight against Covid-19, BeiGene applied the clinical trial of zanubrutinib in Covid-19 patients. The company also announced plans to team up with California-based Atreca, Inc. and IGM Biosciences, Inc. to develop novel IgM or IgA antibodies targeting SARS-CoV-2 for the potential treatment of COVID-19.

BeiGene launched a U.S. trial for zanubrutinib in 42 later-stage Covid-19 patients in mid-April; it may take two to three months to see whether BeiGene is a game-changer in the treatment of the virus. 

Over 100 potential coronavirus vaccines are reportedly being tested at record speeds as of Tuesday

The news came that U.S. drugmaker Moderna announced on Tuesday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted fast track designation for its novel coronavirus vaccine, shortening the path to potential commercialization. 

Moderna said the company is eying a marketing application approval next year and after a possible late-stage study of the vaccine in early summer.

Shares in BeiGene closed at $158.38 per share on Tuesday, down 3%.