Turing Pharmaceuticals' finances appear to look just as bad as its reputation. The Zug, Switzerland-based company suffered a significant loss in its third quarter. This summer, Turing was shunned after jacking up the price of the only drug approved in the U.S. for a deadly parasitic infection that can affect pregnant women and patients with HIV.
The privately-held company reported a $14.6 million loss for the three months ended Sept. 30, as research and development costs outpaced revenue. The company said in September that the high cost of R&D was the reason they were raising the price of Daraprim from $13.50 a pill to about $750.
R&D activities cost the company $7 million in the third quarter, which was 23% higher than the $5.7 million in revenue the company brought in from sales of Daraprim and its other drug, Vecamyl, which is used to treat high blood pressure. Because it's a private firm, Turning reported limited, unaudited financial results and business highlights.
Going forward, the company said it expects to spend at least 60% of its revenue on R&D as it files investigative new drug applications to treat toxoplasmosis, the infection that is treated with Daraprim, and engages in development for drugs that treat epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder and other conditions. This quarter, the company spent 123% of its revenue on R&D activities.
Turing also addressed the Daraprim controversy in its financial report, noting that “after consulting with patient advocacy groups and infectious disease doctors, Turing understands that toxoplasmosis patients are primarily concerned with timely access and minimal out-of-pocket costs.” The company said that it would continue to expand its distribution partnerships in order to ensure access, and would continue to participate in federal and state drug subsidy programs and other patient savings programs.
The company also said it would introduce a 30-count bottle to better address the needs of hospitals, and a sample package to ensure physicians can administer the therapy in an emergency. The drug is currently distributed through specialty pharmacies owned by Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens, according to the drug's website.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging requested documents and asked for a face-to-face meeting with Turning CEO Martin Shkreli, a former hedge fund manager whose bizarre online behavior made him the public face of the price-hiking episode. The company has also received multiple subpoenas from federal prosecutors who are investigating drug pricing and other policies.