Amarin (AMRN) Plunges Again on FDA Announcement

Joel Anderson |

Amarin Pharmaceuticals (AMRN) took another hit Wednesday during a year that’s been a rough one for the company as a whole. Amarin was off over 14 percent in trading on Wednesday after the FDA told the company on Tuesday that its triglyceride-reducing drug, Vascepa, didn’t show strong enough results to merit approval.

Vascepa Fails to Show Results

The FDA contacted Amarin after market-close on Tuesday to report that Vascepa failed to reduce triglycerides enough to be marketed to patients for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Vascepa is a prescription-strength supplement that uses Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils. The drug was approved in 2012 for use in some patients with unusually high triglyceride levels, but the FDA reversed that ruling on Tuesday, sending shares lower.

This comes just two weeks after an FDA panel voted against approval of Vascepa and called for a lengthy and expensive study on the drug’s ability to prevent cardiovascular events like heart attacks, a decision that came as a surprise for many. The decision prompted Amarin to cut staff and prompted a nearly 60 percent decline in the company’s stock.

A Tough Year for Amarin

Today’s hit is a bad one. But in a year that’s seen shares plunge over 85 percent since Halloween in 2012, it’s probably not going to register for any long-time Amarin stockholders. The company has few options other than to continue running losses while engaging in the lengthy Vascepa study without a clear sense that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

With the layoffs last week, Amarin’s situation appears bleak, though not entirely unmanageable. Amarin believes that it has the cash on hand to make it through the next few years without raising additional capital.

“As of September 30, 2013, Amarin had cash, cash equivalents of approximately $226 million,” the company announced last Tuesday. “Amarin anticipates approximately $3 million in restructuring expense in association with this reduction in staffing. The company currently expects its cash burn for 2014 to be less than $80 million. The company has no plans for raising additional capital at this time. Amarin intends to continue its evaluation of priorities, opportunities and savings opportunities, including clinical trial costs. The company plans to provide additional details of its future spending and operational expectations in connection with its upcoming quarterly report.”

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