February 23, 2024
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Atara’s cuts down net loss in 2022

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An Atara employee in the lab at its Thousand Oaks facility. (courtesy photo)

Atara Biotherapeutics recorded a lower net loss in the fourth quarter and the entirety of fiscal year 2022, but missed expectations still led to an 8% decline in after-hours trading.

Atara, a South San Francisco-based immunotherapy company with its major operations in Thousand Oaks, reported a net loss of $228.3 million, or 2.24 cents per share, in fiscal year 2022 compared to losses of $340.1 million or $3.63 in the year prior.

Moreover, fourth quarter losses also fell from $93.3 million or 96 cents per share in 2021 to $74.6 million or 72 cents per share in the most recent quarter ended Dec. 31.

But, analysts from Zacks Consensus Estimate had projected just a loss of 61 cents for the quarter.

Atara did hit a significant milestone in the fourth quarter, however, as the European Commission has approved its drug, Ebvallo as of Dec. 19.

Ebvallo, also known as tabelecleucel, has been Atara’s main product development in its pipeline since 2015. The drug is a monotherapy for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients two years of age and older with relapsed or refractory Epstein-Barr virus-positive post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease, who have received at least one prior therapy.

Though it did not recognize sales from the treatment in the fourth quarter, Atara did receive $31 million in December.

This comes from the selling a portion of its right to receive royalties and certain milestones in Ebvallo under the Pierre Fabre Commercialization Agreement to HCR Molag Fund L.P.

Total royalties and milestones payable to HCRx are capped between 185% and 250% of the $31.0 million, depending upon the timing of such payments to HCRx, the company said in a press release.

The revenue was not recognized in the fourth quarter, however, so Atara only generated $221,000 from licensing and collaboration, much lower than analysts expected and less than the $7 million the company made last fourth quarter.

As a result, Atara shares slipped 8% in after-hours trading, after having already closed down 7.5%. Shares closed at $5.05 and were down to $4.60 after hours.

Atara ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents worth $242.8 million and have enough cash to keep operations going through the second quarter of 2024.