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Roche NimbleGen Q3 Sales Rise 22 Percent on Rising Sequence Capture, Array CGH Demand


By Justin Petrone

Increasing demand for target enrichment products and cytogenetic arrays helped Roche NimbleGen post a 22 percent rise in third-quarter revenue, the firm said last week.

In comparison, Roche's broader Applied Science business, a segment of the company's diagnostics division that encompasses Roche NimbleGen, decreased 2 percent during the third quarter, while the diagnostics division grew 1 percent and company-wide sales were down 7 percent for the quarter.

Roche NimbleGen attributed this growth to sales of its products for target enrichment for next-generation sequencing as well as its cytogenetics products.

According to a company spokesperson, the growth was "primarily driven" across the two application areas by sales of its SeqCap EZ Exome offering for target enrichment and its CGX Cytogenetics arrays.

For target enrichment, the "major growth driver" is SeqCap EZ Exome, spokesperson Kary Staples told BioArray News this week. Launched earlier this year, SeqCap EZ Exome allows customers to use the firm's 2.1-million-probe SeqCap EZ Exome Library to capture exomes and make them available in solution for next-generation sequencing.

While Roche NimbleGen continues to achieve "global penetration and adoption for this product," Staples said the "most significant growth has come from the US research market where major government and private funding are supporting the expansion in this area of research."

He added that growth is "primarily due to the rapid adoption of exome sequencing as the method of choice as the most efficient method to discover disease-causing mutations in the human genome."

Since the launch of SeqCap EZ Exome, Roche NimbleGen has certified Ambry Genetics as a service provider for it. Another customer is Baylor College of Medicine, which announced in August that it had standardized its target enrichment human disease research studies using Roche NimbleGen's sequence-capture technology (BAN 8/3/2010).

In addition to target enrichment, Roche's comparative genomic hybridization arrays sold well during the quarter. "The NimbleGen CGX cytogenetics solution has shown steady but solid growth as we continue to see researchers convert from previous technologies such as karyotyping and [fluorescent in situ hybridization] to aCGH," Staples said.

He noted that growth in this segment has been "primarily achieved" in North America and Europe. Roche NimbleGen launched the chips last year after inking a deal with Signature Genomics, now part of PerkinElmer, which enabled Roche to sell Signature-designed arrays worldwide (BAN 11/10/2009).

Staples noted that the business has received a boost from the recent update in American College of Medical Genetics guidelines that recommend the use of arrays as a first-tier test for the detection of genetic abnormalities in most cases, as well as a May consensus statement from the International Standards for Cytogenomic Arrays Consortium that made similar recommendations (BAN 9/28/2010, BAN 5/18/2010).

Both the ACMG guidelines and ISCA's consensus statement "contributed to the movement in these laboratories to adopt aCGH in order to keep up with demand and emerging technologies," Staples said.

Elsewhere in Q3

While Roche NimbleGen's sales were up by nearly a quarter during the three months ended Sept. 30, the rest of Roche's business did not fare as well. Total sales slid 7 percent to CHF11.49 billion ($11.8 billion) from CHF12.29 billion in Q3 2009, and the diagnostics business rose less than 1 percent to CHF2.48 billion from CHF2.46 billion a year ago. The Applied Science business decreased 2 percent during the quarter, to CHF 197 million from CHF 213 million during the year-ago period.

In a statement, Roche partially attributed the sales dip in the Applied Science business to diminished demand for its MagNA Pure and LightCycler products for sample preparation and PCR analysis. This falloff was "due mainly to decreasing demand for influenza A (H1N1) virus testing," Roche said in a statement.

For full-year 2010, the company said it expects single-digit sales growth company wide, while the diagnostics business is expected to grow "significantly" ahead of the market.