Shares of the Crestwood-based pharmaceutical company Apellis fell 3% Wednesday after the company said that its quarterly operating loss more than doubled.

The early-stage pharmaceutical company, which is not yet generating revenue, said that compared to a year ago, its research and development spending more than doubled, to $40.5 million. Meanwhile, its general and administrative spending doubled, to $8.2 million, which, the company said, was a result primarily of adding employees.

The company incurred a net loss of $50.6 million, up from $21.7 million a year earlier, but said it had $288 million in cash and equivalents, up from $176.3 million as of Dec. 31.

Cedric Francois

CEO Cedric Francois said in a news release that the company “made considerate clinical and corporate progress during the first quarter.”

The company is focusing on a drug called APL-2 that it hopes to use to treat multiple diseases, particularly those for which few or no treatments are available.

Francois said that among the company’s accomplishments in the first quarter, it resumed Phase 3 clinical trials to use APL-2 to treat geographic atrophy, a blinding disease, and it also continued enrollment for a Phase 3 trial to use APL-2 to treat paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, a disorder that leads to the premature death and impaired production of blood cells.

About two months ago, Apellis said that it had reached a “risk-sharing” agreement with the Waltham, Mass.-based drug development company SFJ Pharmaceuticals. The deal calls for SFJ to support Apellis in developing its APL-2 drug by providing financing of up to $250 million.

The company in March also completed a public offering of 6.9 million shares, generating proceeds of $109.6 million.

Francois said Wednesday that the collaboration with SFJ “provides Apellis with validation and substantial non-dilutive funding to develop APL-2 in hematologic diseases of complement with serious unmet need, which, along with the equity offering completed in March, solidified our capital position.”

Shares late afternoon Wednesday traded for $18.41, down 3.1%. The Nasdaq index was up 0.2 percent.

Boris Ladwig
Boris Ladwig is a reporter with more than 20 years of experience and has won awards from multiple journalism organizations in Indiana and Kentucky for feature series, news, First Amendment/community affairs, nondeadline news, criminal justice, business and investigative reporting. As part of The (Columbus, Indiana) Republic’s staff, he also won the Kent Cooper award, the top honor given by the Associated Press Managing Editors for the best overall news writing in the state. A graduate of Indiana State University, he is a soccer aficionado (Borussia Dortmund and 1. FC Köln), singer and travel enthusiast who has visited countries on five continents. He speaks fluent German, rudimentary French and bits of Spanish, Italian, Khmer and Mandarin.