Myogen Loss Narrows

Shares advance modestly late Monday.
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is cutting its losses.

The biotech company lost $18.5 million during the second quarter -- down from $21.7 million a year ago. Myogen's loss of 44 cents per share came in 13 cents better than Wall Street expectations.

Myogen is banking on ambrisentan, its new treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension, to push it into the black in the future. The company plans to begin seeking approval for ambrisentan from the Food and Drug Administration later this year and will rely on sales of an older PAH drug, known as Flolan, to help support its operations in the meantime.

"In the second quarter, we continued to successfully execute our strategic plan with good progress across all aspects of the company," Myogen CEO William Freytag announced on Monday. "The clinical trial results for ambrisentan enhance our optimism about the quality of the ambrisentan New Drug Application, which we expect to submit to the FDA in the fourth quarter, thus moving us closer toward our ultimate goal of registering and commercializing ambrisentan.

"With the launch of Flolan commercial operations and with our PAH-focused sales force now fully engaged, we have taken an important step forward in our growth as a commercial company."

Shares of Myogen, down more than 3% during the regular session on Monday, inched up 13 cents to $30.28 following that update.

Meanwhile, Myogen continues to use publicly raised cash -- along with some modest company-generated revenue -- to fund its operations. During the second quarter, Myogen collected $4.1 million for research contracts and Flolan-related sales. But the company saw its costs jump 249% to $10.2 million in that same period. It blamed rising stock-option expenses, as well as preparations for the ambrisentan launch, for that big change.

Still, Myogen has plenty of money to spare. The company reported $188 million worth of cash and similar resources at the end of the second quarter.

Myogen competitor Encysive has fared a bit worse. Earlier in the day,



announced that it has just $75.4 million of cash and equivalents left -- down from $101 million three months ago -- and needs to raise more money as a result. The company blamed the delayed launch of its own PAH drug, Thelin, for the shortfall.

Shares of Encysive slid 3.6% to $4.08 following that report.