Inspire Pharmaceuticals, which is gearing to launch its first drug by next year, reported a net loss of $24.7 million, or 96 cents per share, for 2002. Losses were $1.6 million higher than 2001.

The company attributed much of the increased loss to discontinued efforts in a drug development which led to a drop of milestone payments. Inspire (Nasdaq: ISPH) reported income of $4.9 million, down from $7.3 million.

Inspire did cut operating expenses to $30.4 million, down from $34.1 million in 2001. Cash and other assets on hand were listed at $33.5 million, down from $60 million a year earlier.

Current plans call for Inspire to file a new drug application for its dry-eye product by mid-year and the drug then going on sale in 2004. Inspire has four other products in development.