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Why Is Esperion Therapeutics (ESPR) Up 2% Since Last Earnings Report?

It has been about a month since the last earnings report for Esperion Therapeutics (ESPR). Shares have added about 2% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Esperion Therapeutics due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers.

Esperion Q4 Earnings & Revenues Beat Estimates

Esperion incurred a loss per share of 50 cents in the fourth quarter of 2023, narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 53 cents. The company had incurred a loss of 76 cents per share in the year-ago quarter.

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Esperion generated revenues of $32.3 million, up 72% year over year. The reported figure beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $26.8 million.

Quarter in Detail

Esperion has two FDA-approved drugs in its commercial portfolio — Nexletol and Nexlizet. The company records royalties on sales of its drugs in Europe and other ex-U.S. markets.

Product revenues, solely from the United States, totaled $20.8 million in the fourth quarter, up 39% year over year. The upside was driven by continued prescription growth. During the quarter, the drugs’ retail prescription increased 44% year over year and 8% quarter over quarter.

Product revenues missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $21.0 million but beat our model estimate of $20.4 million.

Esperion recorded collaboration revenues, which include combined royalty and partner revenues of $11.5 million during the reported quarter, up 195% year over year. The upside can be attributed to increased royalty revenues and tablet shipments to international partners.

Collaboration revenues significantly beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate and our model estimate of $4.9 million and $5.3 million, respectively.

Research and development (R&D) expenses declined 46% from the year-ago period’s levels to $17.7 million, primarily related to the close-out of the company’s CLEAR Outcomes study.

Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses were up 88% year over year to $45.4 million, thanks to higher legal and promotional costs.

As of Dec 31, 2023, Esperion had cash, cash equivalents, restricted cash and investment securities of $82.2 million compared with $114.8 million as of Sep 30, 2023.

2024 Guidance

Esperion expects operating expenses in the range of $225-$245 million, including $20 million in non-cash expenses related to stock compensation. Guidance for total operating expenses includes $45-$55 million in R&D expenses and $180-$190 million in SG&A expenses.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

It turns out, fresh estimates flatlined during the past month.

The consensus estimate has shifted 9.07% due to these changes.

VGM Scores

At this time, Esperion Therapeutics has a strong Growth Score of A, though it is lagging a lot on the Momentum Score front with an F. Charting a somewhat similar path, the stock was allocated a grade of D on the value side, putting it in the bottom 40% for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of D. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.

Outlook

Esperion Therapeutics has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.

Performance of an Industry Player

Esperion Therapeutics is part of the Zacks Medical - Drugs industry. Over the past month, United Therapeutics (UTHR), a stock from the same industry, has gained 7%. The company reported its results for the quarter ended December 2023 more than a month ago.

United Therapeutics reported revenues of $614.7 million in the last reported quarter, representing a year-over-year change of +25.1%. EPS of $4.36 for the same period compares with $2.67 a year ago.

For the current quarter, United Therapeutics is expected to post earnings of $5.63 per share, indicating a change of +15.8% from the year-ago quarter. The Zacks Consensus Estimate has changed +1.7% over the last 30 days.

The overall direction and magnitude of estimate revisions translate into a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) for United Therapeutics. Also, the stock has a VGM Score of B.

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