Ocera Therapeutics Reports Third Quarter 2016 Financial Results And Company Update

PALO ALTO, Calif. and RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Nov. 02, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ocera Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:OCRX), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on acute and chronic orphan liver diseases, today reported financial results for the quarter ended September 30, 2016, and provided updates on its clinical development programs of OCR-002 for the treatment of hepatic encephalopathy (HE), a debilitating liver disorder and significant burden on the healthcare system.

"We are pleased to report significant progress in our clinical programs. Enrollment in our STOP-HE Phase 2b study for acute hepatic encephalopathy has now surpassed 220 patients and, consistent with previous guidance, we expect to complete full enrollment of approximately 230 patients by year-end and publish top-line results of the study in the first quarter of 2017," said Linda Grais, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Ocera. "In addition, dosing has commenced with our oral formulation of OCR-002 in a Phase 1 study in patients with cirrhosis as a chronic use option to maintain remission of HE. We remain on track to report results of part one of this study by year-end and initiate part two in the first half of 2017."

Select Third Quarter Financial Results
  • As of September 30, 2016, Ocera had cash, cash equivalents and investments of $32.5 million.
  • Net loss for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2016 was $7.1 million and $21.7 million, respectively. Net loss for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2015 was $6.6 million and $19.4 million, respectively. Basic and diluted net loss per share for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2016 was $0.32 and $1.01, respectively. Basic and diluted net loss per share for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2015 was $0.33 and $0.98, respectively.
  • Research and development (R&D) expense for the three months ended September 30, 2016 was $4.3 million, compared to $4.2 million for the same period in 2015. R&D expense for the nine months ended September 30, 2016 was $12.9 million, compared to $12.0 million for the same period in 2015. The increase in R&D expense for both the three and nine month periods was due primarily to an increase in headcount and related costs.
  • General and administrative (G&A) expense for the three months ended September 30, 2016 was $2.6 million, compared to $2.4 million for the same period in 2015. G&A expense for the nine months ended September 30, 2016 was $8.1 million, compared to $7.5 million for the same period in 2015. The increase in G&A expense for the three and nine month periods was due primarily to an increase in personnel-related costs, including stock-based compensation expense, as well as costs associated with professional service fees.
  • Net interest expense of $262,000 and $758,000 for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2016, respectively, was primarily attributable to interest and amortization associated with the debt facility which closed in July 2015.
  • Net cash proceeds generated from the Company's "at the market" equity facility totaled approximately $6.0 million for the nine month period ended September 30, 2016.

Financial Guidance

Ocera reiterates its previous guidance and expects net use of cash for 2016 to be in the range of $22 million to $26 million, and updates its expectation that it will have sufficient cash to fund operations into the first quarter of 2018 based on its current operating plan. The Company previously estimated its cash runway into the fourth quarter of 2017. This improvement in projected cash runway is due primarily to the deferral of certain external development costs for OCR-002, lower than expected internal operating expenses, and cash proceeds generated from the "at the market" equity facility.

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