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Assay Sales Lift Luminex Q4 Revenues 16 Percent

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Luminex said after the close of the market on Monday that revenues for its fourth quarter increased 16 percent year over year on the strength of its assays and related products as well as consumables sales.

Total revenues for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2012 were $55.5 million, up from $47.9 million in the year-ago period, and beat the consensus Wall Street estimate of $54.1 million.

By segment, assay and related product revenues rose 42 percent to $25.9 million from $18.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, driven by growth in the infectious disease product line, Luminex CFO Harriss Currie said on a conference call following the release of the firm's earnings results.

Technology and strategic partnership revenues were flat at $29.7 million.

System sales were down to $7.1 million from $10.4 million a year ago while consumable sales increased to $12.4 million from $10.1 million. Royalty revenues were up to $7.5 million from $7.1 million, and assay revenues spiked to $23.8 million from $16.4 million. All other revenues, the Austin, Texas-based company said, improved to $4.7 million from $3.9 million.

Luminex shipped 225 multiplex analyzers during the fourth quarter, bringing the cumulative shipments to date to 9,659, it said.

Luminex posted a profit of $4.3 million, or $.10 per share, in the quarter, up from a profit of $3.4 million, or $.08 per share, a year ago.

Excluding one-time costs associated with a strategic study and costs associated with the purchase of GenturaDx during the summer, adjusted net income was $5.1 million, or $.12 per share, edging out Wall Street expectations of $.09 per share, Luminex said.

The company's R&D expenses increased 11 percent to $11.0 million from $9.9 million a year ago. Its SG&A costs were up 14 percent to $20.1 million from $17.6 million.

"We are pleased with our fourth quarter execution, driven by another excellent performance in our proprietary assay segment," Patrick Balthrop, president and CEO of Luminex, said in a statement. "This performance reflects our unwavering focus on providing our customers with innovative, first-to-market assays that make a difference to patient outcomes."

On Jan. 1, Luminex went to a direct sales model for its molecular diagnostics tests. On the conference call, Balthrop said that assays, "almost all of which are molecular-based," represented about 40 percent of total sales in 2012, and grew at a rate of more than 50 percent.

"The portion of that molecular assay business that flowed through distributors was less than 25 percent, so the transition of our assays to a direct model does not involve a huge portion of our revenue," Balthrop said. "More important to this part of our growth strategy is the opportunity to represent our first mover products more effectively and to manage the customer relationships more directly."

For full-year 2012, total revenues were up 10 percent to $202.6 million from $184.3 million in 2011, above analyst estimates of $201.2 million.

Assays and related products saw revenues rise to $81.6 million, a 44 percent increase from $56.6 million in 2011. The uptick was driven by growth in the infectious disease product line and aided by having Luminex Madison, formed when Luminex acquired EraGen Biosciences in June 2011, for the entirety of 2012, Currie said on the conference call.

Technology and strategic partnership revenues fell 5 percent year over year to $121.0 from $127.8 million.

System sales dropped to $31.1 million during the year from $35.9 million a year ago, Luminex said. Consumables sales were down to $48.0 million from $55.5 million due to volatility from a single customer during the first half of the year, Currie said.

Royalty revenues climbed to $31.2 million from $29.2 million, and assay revenues ballooned to $75.0 million from $48.7 million. All other revenues improved to $17.3 million from $15.1 million.

For the year, the company shipped 981 multiplex analyzers, Currie said.

Luminex posted a profit of $12.4 million, or $.30 per share, down from a profit of $14.5 million, or $.34 per share, in 2011.

Excluding one-time costs associated with a strategic study and costs associated with the purchase of GenturaDx, adjusted net income was $16.2 million, or $.39 per share, beating analyst expectations of $.27.

The firm's R&D costs in 2012 rose 22 percent year over year to $40.8 million from $33.4 million, while SG&A costs were up 15 percent to $74.8 million from $64.9 million.

The firm ended 2012 with $42.8 million in cash and cash equivalents.

Luminex provided revenue guidance for full-year 2013 of between $220 million and $230 million, which would represent an increase of between 9 percent and 14 percent over 2012 figures.

On a macroeconomic level, the firm, Currie said, is "reasonably cautious but optimistic about the life science research market while experiencing favorable trends with respect to overall demands from our clinical customers."

Luminex expects "a positive contribution" from the launch of the xTAG Gastrointestinal Pathogen Panel, cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration in January, he added, and anticipates FDA clearance of its NeoPlex 4 assay in the first half of 2013. The assay is for identifying analytes that may be indicators of congenital hypothyroidism, congenital hyperplasia, and cystic fibrosis.

Currie said that the company expects to ship between 200 and 250 multiplex analyzers each quarter during 2013.

In Tuesday morning trade on the Nasdaq shares of Luminex were up around 1 percent at $18.48.

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