Esperion loss grows as sales effort ramps up

ANN ARBOR—Esperion Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: ESPR) reported a loss of $90.8 million or $3.50 a share in the first quarter ended March 31, vs. a loss of $78.2 million or $2.84 a share in the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue was $8 million, up from $1.8 million in the same quarter a year earlier.

The reason for the higher loss: sharply higher selling, general, and administrative expenses, at $61.1 million, vs. $41.6 million a year earlier, as the company ramped up the sales effort of its novel class of cholesterol-reducing drugs, Nexletol and Nexlizet, approved by the FDA last year.

Tim M. Mayleben, president and CEO, said in a news release: “In the first quarter our team was focused on driving new prescription growth and executing on strategic initiatives that will enhance our ability to bring our medicines to as many patients as possible. This includes improving Medicare Part D coverage and positioning for Nexletol and Nexlizet, as well as building our scientific, health economics and outcomes research platform, all while ensuring our landmark CLEAR cardiovascular outcomes trial remains on track for the second half of 2022. The first quarter was a challenging period, but we are encouraged by both our refined product positioning and data indicating that patients are returning to their physician offices, which together are expected to translate into accelerated prescription growth in the second half of the year. Our momentum has continued in the early days of the second quarter as we expanded key agreements with Daiichi Sankyo and Oberland Capital, adding $80 million in cash to the balance sheet while deepening our relationships with these committed and collaborative partners.”

Research and development expenses were $28 million for the quarter, down from $34.7 million a year earlier, due to a decline in manufacturing costs which were previously classified as research and development expense prior to FDA approval.

Cash and equivalents on hand as of March 31 were $217.9 million, down from $305 million as of Dec. 31. The company said it expects full-year 2021 selling, general, and administrative expenses to be $200 million to $210 million, full-year research and development spending to be $120 million to $130 million, and total operating expenses of $320 million to $340 million.

To listen to a replay of a conference call discussing these results, visit

Esperion’s new cholesterol-reducing drug, called bempedoic acid, is intended for those who experience bad side effects such as muscle pain and weakness when taking today’s statin drugs.

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