Human Genome Sciences Inc. of Rockville said yesterday that it posted a loss of $18 million, or 39 cents a share, for the quarter that ended Dec. 31.
That compares with a loss of $12.5 million, or 28 cents a share (adjusted for a stock split), in the fourth quarter of 1998.
Human Genome, which has seen its stock price rise tenfold in the past year, is one of the companies that has benefited from Wall Street enthusiasm for the potential of gene-based therapies.
William A. Haseltine, chairman and chief executive officer, said the larger loss reflected increased spending on clinical trials. "HGS is the first company to deliver three genomics-derived drugs into clinical testing," he said.
The drugs in clinical trials include a gene-based treatment for vascular disease and protein-based drugs for wound healing and protecting bone marrow from the effects of chemotherapy.
Revenue for the quarter was $900,000, compared with $2.4 million in the year-earlier period.
The earnings report came after the close of trading. Human Genome stock closed at $156.1875, up $3.50.