Why Dendreon Had Its Battleship Sunk


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 Dendreon -- developer of the Food and Drug Administration-approved immunotherapy treatment Provenge to treat castration-resistant prostate cancer -- sank like a stone, losing as much as 17% after reporting disappointing first-quarter results.

So what: For the quarter, revenue for Provenge actually fell 18% year-over-year to $67.6 million despite the company's aggressive advertising campaign, missing the Street's estimates of $80 million in sales. Net loss clocked in at $0.48 per share, which was right in line with estimates. Dendreon's CEO, John Johnson, blamed the revenue shortfall on his company's difficulty in gaining insurance approval for the pricey treatment, and increased competition, which included Medivation's Xtandi getting a recommendation for approval to treat advanced prostate cancer from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use in Europe last month. Dendreon's remaining cash balance fell to $337.3 million.

Now what: Dendreon really needs to attack this from two fronts at once. Without question, if Dendreon has any hope of righting this ship, it'll need to get Provenge approved in Europe. Approval there would likely double sales within the first two years. Second, it needs to slow the bleeding in the U.S. The company's restructuring should demonstrate noticeable expense savings in the second half of this year, but it's going to need to work with insurers to comfort physicians who are afraid of not being reimbursed after prescribing Provenge. It was an ugly quarter indeed, but I haven't given up on Dendreon just yet.

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

Resurgence, or dead cat bounce?
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The article Why Dendreon Had Its Battleship Sunk originally appeared on Fool.com.

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 Dendreon. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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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