More Red Ink at Viratek; $1-Million Loss for Quarter

Quarterly and annual losses continued to mount at Viratek Inc. despite increased international sales of the Costa Mesa firm's only product, Ribavirin, an anti-viral drug.

The medical research and development firm, a majority owned subsidiary of ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Costa Mesa, reported a loss of $1 million for the fourth quarter, ended Nov. 30. In the same quarter a year ago, Viratek posted a loss of $341,000.

For the fiscal year ended Nov. 30, the company announced its losses ballooned to nearly $2 million from the loss of $827,000 in fiscal 1983.

However, fourth-quarter 1984 revenues rose 24% to $250,000 from $202,000 in the comparable three-month period of 1983. Fiscal 1984 revenues were $960,000, up 27% from $753,000 in 1983.

Dominic E. Liuzzi, a company spokesman, attributed the losses to the research and development costs associated with Ribavirin and substances that have shown promise in the treatment of cancer, he said.

Viratek, which is sells Ribavirin primarily in Korea, Mexico and other Latin American nations, may begin to post a profit if the drug is approved for domestic use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for infantile pneumonia, Liuzzi said. The drug is also undergoing clinical testing as a treatment for influenza, genital herpes and other viruses.

Ribavirin is in the final stages of approval by the FDA, Liuzzi said, and approval also is expected by the Canadian and British governments.

During 1984, Eastman Kodak paid $8.4 million for a 10% of Viratek's common stock and 5% of ICN's stock. The investment opens the way for a possible joint research effort between Kodak, Viratek and ICN in the fields of anti-viral, anti-cancer and anti-aging therapy, the company said.

Earlier this week, ICN reported fourth-quarter profits of $37,000 on revenues of $12.7 million for the three-month period ended Nov. 30. For fiscal 1984, ICN posted a profit of $871,000 on yearly revenues of $44.8 million.

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