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EntreMed meets forecasts but stock price falls


EntreMed Inc., a developer of treatments designed to inhibit tumor growth and other health problems, saw its shares finish lower yesterday despite meeting Wall Street's first-quarter earnings expectations as the company's stock was caught up in the overall market decline.

The Rockville biotechnology company said it lost $10.6 million, or 72 cents a share, compared with $7.1 million, or 55 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. The weighted average number of shares outstanding was 14.8 million for the quarter, up about 1.8 million compared with the first quarter of 1999.

Shares of EntreMed were off as much as 10 percent early in the day before finishing regular trading at $41.50, down $1, on the Nasdaq stock market. More broadly, the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index fell 39.66 to 937.75.

At EntreMed, research and development costs increased to $9.1 million from $7.1 million, while total revenue declined nearly 50 percent to $726,699 in the quarter. The decline reflected the end of milestone payments from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., which had an agreement with EntreMed to develop the drug Angiostatin, EntreMed spokeswoman Mary P. Sundeen said.

EntreMed instead has reassumed development of Angiostatin, a protein designed to block the growth of blood vessels feeding tumors or other diseased tissues. The company's existing revenue largely reflects royalty payments from another drug it has licensed to Celgene Corp.

The company also reported $29.3 million in cash and cash equivalents on hand as of March 31. The company's cash picture brightened as its stock price appreciated along with the overall biotechnology sector early in the first quarter, prompting warrant holders to exercise rights to purchase stock at the higher share prices.

"As a result, our cash balance has increased since the end of our fiscal year, even as we have continued to rapidly move forward with the manufacture and clinical testing of our three lead product candidates," R. Nelson Campbell, EntreMed's chief financial officer, said in a statement.

The leading candidates are Angiostatin; the protein Endostatin; and 2-Methoxyestradiol. All are designed to block the formation of blood vessels feeding the growth of diseased tissues. The three, the company has said, hold promise for treating macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness, as well as progressive arthritis and cancer.

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