Juno Therapeutics ($JUNO) quickly built a reputation as one of the hottest biotechs in the world, raising hundreds of millions of dollars inside a year and capping it with a go-go IPO for its cancer drug pipeline that helped inspire a surge for the sector. And now that the newly public biotech has filed its first 10-K, Juno can feel the backlash as it outlines just how fast it can spend that huge cache of cash, missing a consensus estimate on projected losses by a market mile.
Juno had a whopping $474 million in cash at the end of 2014, but in the fourth quarter alone the company also spent $182 million on R&D. And the net loss per share was $1.61--well ahead of Wall Street's consensus of 33 cents, cites Investor's Business Daily.
To stay on schedule as a leader in the CAR-T space, Juno--which turns patient's T cells into cancer attack dogs--plans to spend between $125 million and $150 million this year, mostly on R&D.
For most companies, that kind of reveal would be followed by a drubbing on the Street. But Juno is not most companies. The stock dipped Wednesday afternoon as investors got their first look, then rebounded on Thursday morning. It's now up about 8%.
Juno, meanwhile, seems adamant about maintaining its unblushing, full-steam-ahead approach to biotech development. The Seattle-based company just earned a small grant from the state as it ramps up a new manufacturing facility in Bothell. As the Seattle Times reported, Juno had 70 workers when it filed to go public in November, now has 150 staffers and is slated to add 30 more for the manufacturing operation.
And it's in the process of looking for a new headquarters site while pushing hard on clinical development.
"Our successful rounds of private financing, together with our IPO, have provided us with the financial resources that we need to continue advancing our product candidates," declared an ambitious Hans Bishop, CEO, in the opening salvo of its earnings release. "Within the next 12 months, we expect to have 10 product candidates in clinical development directed at six different cancer-associated antigens."
"They continue to grow like crazy," Maura Little, the Commerce Department's director of life science and global health development, told the Seattle Times.