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Third Wave s Net Loss Balloons in Q4 as Sales Decline and R&D Costs Surge

NEW YORK, Feb. 26 - Third Wave on Tuesday reported that a decline in product sales and a significant jump in R&D spending in the fourth quarter helped cause total revenue to fall slightly and net loss to balloon.


Revenue from product sales in the period ended Dec. 31 was $5.1 million compared with $6.2 million one year ago, causing total revenue to dip to $6.0 million from $6.4 million year over year.

 

R&D spending reached a staggering $22.7 million from $12.6 million in the year-ago period, which contributed to a net loss of $16.9 million, or $.44 per share, compared with $5.7 million, or $.37 per share, one year ago.

 

Third Wave did leave 2001 with more cash at hand: As of Dec. 31, the company said it had $73.3 million in cash and cash equivalents, up from $47.2 million year over year.

 

"We are extremely well positioned to leverage our initial success in the personalized patient care markets to gain increased market share and higher margins,'' Lance Fors, Third Wave's chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

Looking forward, he said the company "will focus more intently on marketing our products in the 'application markets' that yield higher returns. This commitment will be demonstrated in our future revenue and customer mix, which spans the health care continuum from discovery to the patient."

 

As GenomeWeb reported Third Wave has found someone to lead its new genomics business unit. Ivan Trifunovich, a former vice president at Pharmacia, became vice president and general manager of the unit, which the company created last December to coordinate the sale and marketing of its Invader genotyping and gene-expression technology. His began in January.

 

Third Wave's genomics unit is one of two new divisions the company has created in recent months. The second unit, which will be overseen by Fors and a company vice president, covers personalized patient care and deals primarily with selling Third Wave's analyte specific reagents to the clinical diagnostic market.

Third Wave's plan is to "elevate the company's position in the marketplace so that we can actually get into partnerships with personalized medicine," Trifunovich said. Helping to push this along is a recent deal Third Wave struck with Japanese drug manufacturer Daiichi Pure Chemical to co-develop a pharmacogenomic test that measures patient predisposition to side effects to a particular chemotherapeutic.

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