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March 2, 2021

Biohaven reports strong migraine drug sales, higher 4Q losses

PHOTO | Andrew Venditti Biohaven CEO Vlad Coric

Fourth-quarter revenue from Biohaven Pharmaceuticals’ new migraine pill came in slightly ahead of Wall Street expectations, but costs stemming from an aggressive commercial launch of the drug led to higher losses, according to financial results released Monday.  

For the period ended December 31, Biohaven reported a net loss of $217.7 million, or $3.62 a share, compared to $149.3 million, or $2.85 per share for the same quarter in 2019.  A consensus of analysts polled by Zacks Investment Research projected a lower loss of $2.89 per share.  

Adjusted for one time gains and costs, fourth-quarter losses were $161.7 million, or $2.69 a share, compared to $124.4 million, or $2.38 a share for the year-ago period.

For the year, the company reported a net loss of $766.8 million, or $13.06 per share, up from $528.8 million, or $10.91 a share in 2019. Adjusted for one time gains and costs, full-year losses were $605.4 million, or $10.31 a share, compared to $296.5 million or $6.11 a share for 2019.

It is typical for biotech startups to post losses for many years as they pour money into research and development and work to commercialize newly approved products. Last year was Biohaven’s first with a revenue-producing drug;  its migraine pill Nurtec ODT hit the market in March.

Biohaven said the drug netted $35.1 million in revenues for the quarter, a 98% increase over quarter three. Analysts had predicted revenues of $35 million, according to Zacks. The drug brought in $63.6 million for the year, Biohaven said. 

The New Haven company said it spent $73.5 million on R&D in the fourth quarter, compared to $66 million in 2019. It attributed much of the increase to an upfront payment to a Japanese drug maker as part of a licensing deal.

Selling, general and administrative expenses totalled $122.4 million, up from $69 million during the fourth quarter of 2019. Biohaven said the bulk of the increase went to support commercial sales of Nurtec. 

The company said it ended the quarter with $355.3 million in cash compared to $316.7 million a year ago. Also, the company said that as of Monday, it had $424 million in committed capital from its two financing agreements with Sixth Street and Royalty Pharma and expects another $100 million from the Royalty Pharma agreement by the end of March.

Contact Natalie Missakian at

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