Neurocrine Biosciences Shares Dropped: What You Need to Know

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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of biotech company Neurocrine Biosciences (NAS: NBIX) dove as much as 14% earlier in the trading session after it reported fourth-quarter results and offered its fiscal 2012 guidance.

So what: For largely experimental research and development biotech companies, earnings reports tend to not have a huge effect on the price of the stock; today is a rare exception. For the quarter, Neurocrine reported a profit of $0.02 (which matched estimates) on revenue of $11.1 million. Most of Neurocrine's revenue is tied to milestone payments it receives from marketing partner Abbott Laboratories (NYS: ABT) . For 2012, Neurocrine forecast a cash burn rate of $40 million-$45 million and an EPS loss range of $0.14-$0.21. Analysts had been looking for Neurocrine to post a marginal profit of $0.02 in 2012.

Now what: Earnings aside, all eyes are really on elagolix, the company's phase 2 treatment for endometriosis. Developed in collaboration with Abbott, Neurocrine is targeting phase 3 clinical trials beginning in the first half of this year. It's these trials and not Abbott's erratic milestone payments that will wind up moving Neurocrine's stock. Until we get the results from these phase 3 clinical trials, I don't think you make a move either way on Neurocrine.

Craving more input? Start by adding Neurocrine Biosciences to your free and personalized watchlist so you can keep up on the latest news with the company.

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong. The Motley Fool owns shares of Abbott Laboratories. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Abbott Laboratories. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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