Dendreon Shows Fourth-Quarter Profit from Royalty Stream Sale, Cancer Drug

Dendreon (NASDAQ:DNDN) said sales of its royalty stream for a Merck (NYSE:MRK) hepatitis C drug showed a profit in the fourth quarter, and sales of the company’s cancer drug Provenge grew as well, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

However, Dendreon said sales growth for Provenge will ease off in the first quarter. Shares of the Seattle-based company were down $2.75, or 18.5 percent, to $12.11 in early afternoon trading.

Dendreon reports progress in its attempts to help medical practices receive insurance reimbursement for the costly Provenge, said the Wall Street Journal. Difficulties in this area held back Provenge’s financial performance after it was introduced in 2010. Provenge is the only product the company has on the market. The drug, which is designed to engage the body’s immune system to fight prostate cancer, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2010.

“While it’s not easy to introduce an entirely new treatment paradigm for an entirely new market, we have made important progress towards establishing Provenge as a foundation of care,” Dendreon CEO John Johnson told analysts.

Dendreon’s product revenue for the fourth quarter was $77 million, up from $25 million a year earlier. The company said Provenge’s revenue for December was higher than anticipated because some customers accelerated orders. However, Dendreon forecasts sales growth for the product to be in the low single digits in the first quarter, based partially on a decrease in new patient enrollments.

Total revenue for the fourth quarter was $202.1 million, pushed by $125 million the company received for its sale of its royalty interest in Merck’s Victrelis hepatitis C treatment to CPPIB Credit Investments Inc. Dendreon has held intellectual property related to the drug for several years.

Here’s how shares of DNDN and MRK closed the day:

Dendreon Corp. (NASDAQ:DNDN): DNDN shares recently traded at $11.81, down $3.05, or 20.52%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $6.46 to $43.96. Volume today was 38,835,881 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 9,005,420 shares. The company’s trailing earnings are $-3.22 per share.

Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE:MRK): MRK shares recently traded at $38.15, down $0.05, or 0.13%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $29.47 to $39.43. Volume today was 10,522,804 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 14,791,600 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 18.87, while trailing earnings are $2.02 per share.

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