SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (AP) ¿ Rigel Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Tuesday its third-quarter loss narrowed as the development-stage biotechnology company completed two midstage studies in its rheumatoid-arthritis program.

The company lost $26.7 million, or 70 cents per share, compared with a loss of $37.7 million, or $1.03 per share, a year ago. There was no reported revenue during either quarter and the company still does not have a product on the market.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, on average, expected a loss of 58 cents per share on revenue $3.8 million.

Rigel said stock-based compensation fell by about half, while operating expenses fell 31 percent to $26.7 million.

The company ended the quarter with cash, cash equivalents and available for sale securities of $156.1 million.

Rigel is developing treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, allergies and cancer. Partners on various programs include Serono SA, Pfizer Inc. and Merck & Co.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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