The San Diego Biotech Survival Index 2: Clinging to Cash in the Downturn

3/20/09Follow @xconomy

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for treating catheter-related infections, which prompted a round of spending cuts. The company expects to close 2009 with $81 million to $86 million in the bank—almost $40 million more than it had on hand a year ago.

Cypress Bioscience (NASDAQ: CYPB). The San Diego company won FDA approval of milnacipran (Savella) for fibromyalgia, so now it’s gearing up for the marketplace. This drug is important since it would be Cypress’ sole marketed product, but it can wait a while if need be. The company had $145.5 million in cash and investments heading into 2009, about $36 million lighter in the wallet than it was a year earlier.

Cytori Therapeutics (NASDAQ: CYTX). This regenerative medicine company had just $12.6 million in cash and investments heading into 2009. The company has been cutting costs, and expects “significant reduction in total operating expenses in 2009. It just raised $10 million last week, which it says “may fund its operations through at least 2009.”

Genoptix Medical (NASDAQ: GXDX). This Carlsbad, CA-based lab services company had about $103 million stockpiled heading into this year, but it reported a $20.7 million profit in the fourth quarter, so it’s not in a position where it needs to burn cash reserves to stay alive. The company generated $116.2 million in sales during 2008, and it forecasts sales will surge by 46 percent this year to about $170 million.

Halozyme Therapeutics (NASDAQ: HALO). This San Diego company entered 2009 with $63.7 million stockpiled, and it expects to burn through $30 million to $35 million this year.

Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: HEPH). This San Diego-based company still hasn’t filed its quarterly financial report with the SEC, almost three months after the end of the quarter. Hollis-Eden had $29.1 million in cash at the end of September in its last report. It cut about one-third of its workforce, or 20 employees, in February in order to “sustain our current clinical development programs through both 2009 and 2010.”

Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN). This San Diego-based maker of high-speed genetic analysis instruments, said it had about $687 million in cash and investments heading into this year. It expects to generate $690 million to $720 million in revenue this year, and continue to operate in the black, with about $1.10 to $1.20 expected this year in the all-important earnings per share number watched on Wall Street.

Isis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ISIS). The Carlsbad, CA-based developer of antisense drug technology made major strides to firm up its balance sheet. Isis entered this year with $491 million in the bank, more than double the $193.7 million it had stashed away a year earlier. That cash horde, built up through a lucrative partnership with Cambridge, MA-based Genzyme and the sale of its diagnostics subsidiary to Abbott Laboratories, should last for years, the company says.

La Jolla Pharmaceutical (NASDAQ: LJPC). This San Diego-based company hasn’t filed its fourth-quarter financial report with the SEC yet, although that’s the least of its problems. The company’s lead product in development, Riquent, failed in a pivotal clinical trial of patients with lupus. It is now “evaluating strategic options such as winding down the business” or a sale of the company.

Life Technologies (NASDAQ: LIFE) This Carlsbad, CA-based maker of lab supplies and sophisticated lab equipment, the product of a merger between Invitrogen and Applied Biosystems, is one of the fortunate few in the consistently profitable life sciences companies. It had $448 million in cash and investments heading into this year, and it expects “low-single digit organic revenue growth” in 2009. … Next Page »

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