Business briefs, May 9

May. 08, 2014 @ 04:56 PM

Cree can buy back about $200M more worth of stock

DURHAM – Durham-based Cree Inc.’s board has approved an increase in the company's existing stock repurchase program, the company announced Thursday.
The company has already bought back 2.1 million shares of its common stock under the program at an average price of $47.11 per share, for a total value of $99.6 million.
Because of the board’s recent action, the company can buy back another $200.4 million worth of stock through June 28, 2015, the company announced Thursday.
Additionally, the board gave an OK for the company to secure an up to $150 million working capital line of credit facility.

Pozen back in black in 1Q
CHAPEL HILL – Pozen Inc. was back in the black in the first quarter after seeing an increase in royalties for an existing drug. The company’s expenses were also down because of research and development staff cuts made earlier.
The company reported a profit of $2.9 million in the first quarter of this year compared to a net loss in the same quarter last year. It saw an increase year-over-year in royalty revenues from its already-approved drug Vimovo, and also received $3 million of the $15 million up-front fee for the licensing of its new aspirin candidates, which have not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
It received a letter from the FDA indicating that questions remain about the candidates. In an inspection of a manufacturing facility of a supplier of an active ingredient in the drug, the FDA found “inspection deficiencies.”
While there were not clinical or safety deficiencies noted for Pozen’s aspirin candidates, the FDA is looking for “satisfactory resolution” of the deficiencies before the drugs can get approval.
The company indicated in a news release that it expects to continue to cut staff not required to “support our ongoing business activities.” It also said it will only undertake new development projects if they’re fully funded by a partner.
The company now employs 12 people compared to 29 workers last year in February.

BioCryst reports wider 1Q net loss
DURHAM – BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s net loss widened to $10.1 million in the first quarter in part because of higher research and development costs for development of treatments for hereditary angioedema and hemorrhagic fevers, among other costs.
The company’s research and development expenses grew about 28 percent to $9.2 million from higher costs for its hereditary angioedema candidate. In addition, the company said its costs grew due to work on development of an antiviral candidate for hemorrhagic fevers.
The company said the higher costs were partially offset by lower research and development costs following the conclusion of clinical development for its influenza treatment peramivir. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration accepted a new drug application for the candidate. However, the company’s contract manufacturer for the drug has issues that need to be addressed, and BioCryst said it’s unclear how the findings may impact the peramivir approval or product supply.