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Trimeris/Fuzeon/TRI-1144 Sales of Trimeris' HIV drug drop 34%
 
 
  Triangle Business Journal
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
 
Sales of Trimeris' HIV drug Fuzeon plummeted in the first quarter of 2008, the company said Wednesday.
 
Trimeris (Nasdaq: TRMS), which co-promotes the drug with Swiss company Roche, said quarterly sales of the drug were $42.7 million. That's down 34 percent from $64.3 million in the first quarter of 2007.
 
The one-third decline is well below the 9 percent yearly fall Trimeris saw for Fuzeon in the fourth quarter of 2007. Competing treatments, including those from Pfizer, Merck and Gilead Sciences, have been stealing Fuzeon's already paltry market share in recent quarters.
 
Sales outside the U.S. and Canada had been preventing Fuzeon from posting a major drop in sales. But the bottom fell out in the first quarter, with sales outside North America declining 26 percent, to $25.7 million.
 
The news comes as Trimeris wraps up its work on a "next-generation" version of Fuzeon known as TRI-1144. The company plans to stop all research and development workafter phase I trials of the drug end in the first year. It's widely expected that the company will put itself up for sale after that.
 

monday, December 10, 2007
 
Trimeris to lay off employees, drop R&D
 
Triangle Business Journal
 
Trimeris plans to cut jobs and stop performing research by the end of 2008 - a year that could well see the sale of the Morrisville drug firm. The company said Monday that it plans to perform a phase I trial for its HIV drug TRI-1144 in the first half of the year. After that, it says, "the company expects that it will no longer staff any research or development functions." Trimeris (Nasdaq: TRMS) did not say how many workers it plans to lay off, though it said it expects total operating expenses of between $10 million and $14 million in 2008. This year, the company will have expenses of between $21 million and $23 million.
 
The company's announcement, which came after the markets closed Monday, strongly hints that Trimeris intends to put itself up for sale. A written statement from CEO Martin Mattingly touts the company's existing assets and says the company "will evaluate a full range of options for maximizing shareholder value, including strategic transactions."
 
Thanks to existing AIDS drug Fuzeon, co-developed with Roche, Trimeris is profitable. But Fuzeon sales never met lofty expectations, and the drug that ostensibly would replace it, TRI-1144, has been derided by analysts and investors as too similar to its predecessor.
 
That's put the company under pressure to put itself up for sale. In November, Trimeris brought in Mattingly, its fourth CEO in 12 months. The new chief executive said the firm planned on developing TRI-1144, but there were signs that the company might have been considering alternatives - including the fact that Mattingly is scheduled to get a bonus if Trimeris is sold in the next year.
 
Shares of Trimeris closed up 3 percent Monday and were up another 2.5 percent in after-hours trading to $6.59.
 

Monday, July 21, 2008 - 10:05 AM EDT
 
New HIV treatments slash into sales of Trimeris' Fuzeon
 
Triangle Business Journal
Global sales of Trimeris' HIV drug, Fuzeon, dropped 38 percent in the second quarter, data released Monday say.
 
Trimeris (Nasdaq: TRMS), based in Durham, says net sales of the drug were $38.3 million in the quarter. A year earlier, they were $62 million.
 
It's the second straight quarter of seriously slumping sales for Fuzeon, which Trimeris co-markets with Swiss company Roche. New HIV treatments from Pfizer, Merck and Gilead Sciences have been cutting into the sales of the drug, particularly in North America, where the drugs won regulatory approval in 2007. Fuzeon sales in the U.S. and Canada fell 51 percent from a year ago, Trimeris says. Outside North America, sales dropped 24 percent.
 
Trimeris appears to be in the process of wrapping up its business. The company, which once employed more than 150, now has a skeleton staff of around 10. It's also ended all research and development work after taking a potential successor drug to Fuzeon, TRI-1144, through the first phase of human trials. In May, the company announced a plan to use $50 million of its $70 million in cash for a special dividend and a buyback of its shares.
 

Friday, May 9, 2008
 
Trimeris to give shareholders most of its cash
 
Triangle Business Journal
 
Biotechnology concern Trimeris has announced plans to give away most of its money to shareholders during 2008, a move that could be the beginning of the end for a company that was once among the Triangle's highest flyers.
 
Morrisville-based Trimeris (Nasdaq: TRMS), which in the last six months has laid off all but 10 employees and ended all of its research and development activities, said it would give a special dividend of $1.50 per share, or about $33 million, to shareholders in June.
 
The company also has plans to repurchase $17 million of its stock. Giving away that $50 million would equate to putting about 70 percent of the company's current cash horde, about $70 million, to shareholders. The company also plans to spend $10 million to $14 million in 2008 and $5 million to $10 million in 2009.
 
Something like Thursday's announcement was expected from Trimeris, whose main product is an HIV treatment known as Fuzeon. Trimeris once employed 150 and saw its stock trade at around $80 on the hopes that Fuzeon would be a blockbuster drug, but the injected treatment's side effects and the introduction of competition meant that Fuzeon never met those lofty expectations.
 
The company also never came up with a successor to Fuzeon; a so-called successor drug, TRI-1144, is still in early human trials and is years away from commercialization.
 
In December 2007, amid shareholder pressure, Trimeris announced plans to lay off most of its employees and end all R&D work. Expectations were that the company would be sold, but a buyer hasn't materialized.
 
Net sales of Fuzeon were $42.7 million worldwide in the first quarter, down from $64.3 million a year earlier, Trimeris said. The company posted net income of $2.3 million, or 10 cents per diluted share, on revenue of $5.6 million.
 
 
 
 
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