Newport Pharmaceuticals Reports Net Loss

Newport Pharmaceuticals International Inc., manufacturer of a drug it hopes can be used to treat early symptoms of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), reported a net loss of $271,000 for its first fiscal quarter ended July 31, compared to earnings of $364,000 for the same quarter a year ago.

The company blamed its financial slump on a 13% increase in research and development expenses and a 3.6% increase in sales and administrative costs, linked primarily to the higher cost of liability insurance. It also said profits had suffered from declining orders from foreign customers who still are working off large backlogs of the drug product.

First quarter sales of the drug, Isoprinosine, dropped to $2.1 million from $2.7 million in the year ago quarter. Isoprinosine has been approved for treatment of viral infections in immunodepressed patients in 35 foreign countries but has yet to be approved for use in the U.S.