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Bio-Techne Fiscal Q1 Revenues Rise 11 Percent on Diagnostics and Genomics Sales

NEW YORK – Bio-Techne said on Thursday that its fiscal year 2021 first quarter revenues rose 11 percent year over year, driven in part by growth in its Diagnostics and Genomics segment.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, the firm reported revenues of $204.2 million compared to $183.2 million in Q1 2020, and beating analysts' average estimate of $185.0 million. 

Minneapolis-based Bio-Techne said its Q1 Diagnostics and Genomics revenues rose 18 percent to $50.1 million from $42.6 million in the prior-year quarter, driven by growth in its RNAscope RNA in situ hybridization detection products.

Its Q1 Protein Sciences revenues rose 10 percent to $154.4 million from $141 million a year earlier.

"We have laid a foundation of COVID-19-related tools and diagnostics to enable researchers and clinicians in the near term [to] battle against the virus and provide continued insights over the long term," Bio-Techne President and CEO Chuck Kummeth said in a statement.

The company said that during the first quarter it experienced a significant increase in the number of customer sites either fully or partly opened compared to prior periods during the COVID-19 pandemic. The reopening of customer sites and demand for its portfolio of life science tools and diagnostic reagents enabled it to return to sales volumes it saw prior to the onset of the pandemic, it said.

Researchers returned to the bench in greater numbers and restarted projects that were paused during the height of the lockdown, Kummeth said during a conference call to discuss the company's financial results.

Bio-Techne's lab productivity tools, including its automated multiplexing assays and Western blot tests, "have been the perfect solution for this new environment, allowing researchers to progress on their experiments even while away from the lab," he said.

The effects of a surge in demand for lab productivity tools extends beyond its protein instrument platforms to its genomic assays, Kummeth said. "We have often marketed our RNAscope assay as a tool to find a gene of interest in a sample before hunting for the expressed protein using antibodies. More than ever, this message is resonating with researchers … Thus, we have been seeing a surge in demand for RNAscope, just as we have for our automated protein platforms."

Along with Kantaro Biosciences, Bio-Techne recently received CE marking for a quantitative antibody test kit for SARS-CoV-2.

Kummeth said that Bio-Techne has applied to the US Food and Drug Administration for Emergency Use Authorization for the assay, which is called COVID-SeroKlir.

The test "utilizes two virus antigens correlated with antibody neutralization to provide important information regarding a patient's past infection with COVID-19 and immunity to the virus," Kummeth said.

Further, its Exosome Diagnostics business continued to rebound during the recent quarter from the COVID-19-related shutdowns in the spring. Urology practices reopened across the US during the recent quarter and are now at about half pre-COVID patient volumes, Kummeth said, adding that the reopenings had a positive impact on demand for its ExoDx Prostate IntelliScore (EPI) test.

The company also said that it anticipates a positive long-term outlook for sales growth resulting from expected future funding increases within life science research in response to the pandemic.

In the quarter, the firm opened a good manufacturing practices (GMP) facility to support large-scale production of GMP-grade proteins and reagents.

In Q1, Bio-Techne reported a net income of $33.4 million, or $.83 per share, compared to $14.4 million, or $.37 per share, in the prior-year quarter. The company reported adjusted EPS of $1.43 per share, beating analysts' average estimate of $1.09 per share.

The company's Q1 R&D expenses were essentially flat year over year at $16.0 million  while its SG&A expenses rose 5 percent to $72.6 million from $69.0 million.

Bio-Techne finished the quarter with $169.4 million in cash and cash equivalents and $118 million in short-term investments.

SVB Leerink analyst Puneet Souda said in a research note on Thursday that the investment bank views Bio-Techne "as a high-growth research tools engine consisting of [a] nearly 90 percent consumables business that is positioned to drive growth in key end markets of preclinical discovery, translational research, cell and gene therapy, and liquid biopsy markets longer term."

Bio-Techne shares were up more than 10 percent to $295.48 in midday trading on the Nasdaq.