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Sirna Reports Higher Losses, Lower Revenues for Fourth Quarter, Full-Year 2004

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Sirna Therapeutics reported last week a rise in fourth-quarter and full-year 2004 losses amid a sharp decline in revenues for the year.

Sirna's revenues in the fourth quarter were $691,000, up from $420,000 in the year-ago quarter. For the year, the company's revenues dropped to $1.5 million from $4.2 million in 2003.

The company's net loss for the fourth quarter increased to $8.9 million, or $0.23 per share, from $6.1 million, or $0.19 per share, in the same period 2003. For 2004, Sirna's net loss narrowed to $28.9 million, or $0.81 per share, from $30.4 million, or $1.31 per share, the year before.

Research and development spending in the quarter was $5.9 million, up slightly from $5.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2003. For the full year 2004, Sirna's R&D costs fell to $21.8 million from $23.5 million a year earlier.

Martin Schmieg, Sirna's CFO, noted during a conference call this week that the company's R&D costs in the fourth quarter were lower than expected due to the company's advancement of its age-related macular degeneration treatment Sirna-027 into phase I trials earlier than expected (see RNAi News, 11/26/2004).

Total expenses in the fourth quarter, however, jumped to $9.6 million from $6.6 million in the year-ago quarter, in part because of a $1.9 million write off of acquired in-process R&D associated with the company's acquisition of Skinetics Biosciences near the end of the year (see RNAi News, 12/10/2004).

For 2004, Sirna's total operating expenses were $30.6 million, down from costs of $33.8 million in 2003, which included a $5.3 million write off of patent costs.

As of Dec. 31, 2004, Sirna had cash, cash equivalents, and securities available for sale totaling $36.1 million, compared with $36.6 million 2003.

Schmieg said that Sirna is expecting to burn about $20 million to $21 million during 2005. He added that the company is not providing projections on its 2006 burn rate primarily because the variability of burn offset by corporate partnership revenues makes that hard to predict.

Howard Robin, president and CEO of Sirna, noted during the call that the company expects to announce at least one additional corporate partnership during 2005.

- DM

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