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Bluebird Bio Stock Drops After Results, Plan to End Europe Operations

Bluebird Bio dropped after the gene-therapy company said it would wind down its European operations to focus on U.S. markets.
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Shares of Bluebird Bio  (BLBD) - Get Blue Bird Corporation Report dropped after the gene therapy company said it would wind down its European operations to focus on U.S. markets. 

The Cambridge, Mass., company called out European governments in its decision to pull out of the Continent. 

"European payers have not yet evolved their approach to gene therapy in a way that can recognize the innovation and the expected life-long benefit of these products," President Andrew Obenshain said in a statement. 

Shares of Bluebird at last check gave up 26% to $18.62. It's trading around its 52-week low. It touched a 52-week high above $66 a year ago.

The company plans to focus on the U.S. market and on further investments in core programs. 

Bluebird will continue to explore how to give patients in Europe access to its gene therapies. 

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The decision to leave Europe is driven by "challenges of achieving appropriate value recognition and market access" for its beta-thalassemia gene therapy Zynteglo, it said.

Bluebird Bio also reported a second-quarter net loss of $3.58 a share. Revenue fell to $7.5 million from $198.9 million a year earlier. 

Analysts surveyed by FactSet were expecting a net loss of $3.27 a share on revenue of $16.3 million. 

In January, the company said it would split into two independent publicly traded companies. Bluebird said that by year's end, it would keep its severe-genetic-disease business and spin off its oncology division.

Seven months after unveiling the plan to split, "we have created a solid foundation for both organizations," Chief Executive Nick Leschly said in a statement.