September 26, 2023
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Atara losses grew in Q2


Atara Biotherapeutics swallowed more losses in the second quarter of 2021, as the early-stage company hopes for good news for its tab-cel therapy in early 2022.

Atara, an immunotherapy biotech company based in South San Francisco with some of its major operations in Thousand Oaks, had a net loss of $83.7 million in the second quarter of 2021, the company announced Aug. 9.

That was up from a loss of $77.4 million in the same quarter a year earlier, primarily driven by higher research and development costs, which were up 11%.

The company also used more cash in operating activities, spending $61.6 million for the quarter ended June 30, up from $56.6 million in the same quarter of 2020.

Atara did generate $3.6 million in revenue in license and collaboration, due to activities performed under a collaboration agreement with Bayer. Atara did not generate any license and collaboration revenue in the first quarter of 2020.

Shares of Atara closed at $12.49 on Aug. 9 and were up about 4% in after-hours trading, after the earnings announcement, at around $13 per share. Atara stock is down 36.4% since the start of the year.

The company is preparing for the launch of its tab-cel therapy, an off-the-shelf treatment which aims to treat people suffering from certain cancers and tumors after organ transplant.

According to Atara, based on discussions with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it expects to complete submission for tab-cel in the first quarter of 2022. 

As a result, the company is investing in its U.S. commercial efforts. Atara also stated it is in discussions with potential partners in Europe to commercialize tab-cel overseas, aiming to secure a partner by the fourth quarter of 2021. 

Atara currently holds over $373 million in cash, cash equivalents and small investments. 

It believes that its cash as of the end of the first quarter of 2021, along with projected revenue from tab-cel sales, is sufficient to fund its operations into 2023.