Pharmasset Shares Plunge on Weak 2Q Performance

Shares of Pharmasset (NASDAQ:VRUS) fell almost 11% Monday morning after the company said its loss widened in the second-quarter on worse-than-expected sales and higher expenses.

The Princeton, N.J.-based clinical-stage pharmaceutical company posted a net loss of $19.9 million, or 55 cents a share, compared with a loss of $16.1 million, or 54 cents a share, in the same quarter last year.

Revenue for the maker of novel drugs used to treat viral infections was $200,000, down about 33% from $300,000 a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected on average a loss of 65 cents a share on revenue of $440,400.

“Pharmasset had a very successful start to 2011,” Schaefer Price, the company’s chief executive, said in a statement, noting that its performance was highlighted by encouraging clinical data presented at the European Association for the Study of the Liver conference in Berlin.

Operating expenses for the three months ended March 31 was $20.8 million compared with $15.7 million in the year-earlier period.