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Epoch Biosciences Reverses Loss amid Declining Revenues, Signs ASR Development Deal

NEW YORK, May 4 (GenomeWeb News) - Epoch Biosciences today reported a drop in first-quarter revenues, but reversed losses that it posted in the year-ago period and the fourth quarter of 2003.

The company posted revenues of $1.9 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2004, compared to $2.4 million in the same period of 2003. Product sales dropped to $567,000 for the first quarter of 2003, from $749,000 for the year-ago period, while revenues from license fees and royalties increased slightly to $1.4 million, compared to $1.3 million in the same period of 2003.

Net income for the quarter was $175,000, or $0.01 per share, compared to a net loss of $874,000, or $0.03 per share, in the first quarter of 2003. Excluding other income related to changes in the fair value of common stock warrants of $762,000, Epoch said it posted a net loss of $587,000 in the first quarter of 2004.

Research and development expenses decreased to $928,000 from $1.3 million in the prior-year quarter, "due primarily to a lower level of personnel being involved in research and development vs. manufacturing activities," the company said.

As of March 31, 2004, Epoch had cash and cash equivalents of $9.7 million, compared to $4.4 million as of Dec. 31, 2003.

Separately, Epoch said today that it entered into a partnership with Associated Regional and University Pathologists (ARUP Laboratories), a Salt Lake City-based national reference laboratory, to develop analyte-specific reagents based on its MGB Eclipse assay technology.

Epoch and ARUP will co-develop infectious disease assays for use in clinical diagnostic labs. The initial targets for the collaboration include viruses such as the herpes simplex viruses I and II, cytomegalovirus, human herpes virus 6, and enterovirus.

Epoch said it will supply ARUP with ASRs to the targets following their validation.

William Gerber, Epoch CEO, said the company "plans to launch 20 ASR products by mid-year in the fields of infectious and inherited disease, including those which are the subject of the ARUP collaboration."

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