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Biocept Q1 Revenues Rise With Test Volume Growth

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) - Biocept reported today after the close of the market that its first quarter revenues rose to $150,000 compared to $28,000 in Q1 2014, with the increase primarily due to growing commercial liquid biopsy test volumes.

The San Diego-based firm, which sells molecular diagnostic tests based on circulating tumor cells and circulating tumor DNA, said it tested 247 commercial cases during the first quarter of 2015, up from 11 commercial cases during the first quarter of 2014.

The firm's net loss for the quarter was $3.8 million, or $.37 per share, compared to a loss of $5.1 million, or $1.96 per share, in Q1 2014, its first quarter as a publicly traded company. Its shares outstanding used to calculate the loss per share rose from around 2.6 million in Q1 2014 to 10.4 million in Q1 2015.

The company attributed the lower loss to decreases in non-cash interest expenses, a change in fair value of warrant liability, and a decrease in stock-based compensation expenses, all related to the firm's initial public offering in February 2014.

Its R&D spending fell 7 percent year over year to $942,129 million from $1 million, while its SG&A costs increased to $2 million from $1.9 million.

Specifically, its general and administrative costs fell to $1.3 million from just under $1.9 million in Q1 2014, while its sales and marketing costs rose from $11,000 to about $709,000, a reflection of the deployment of the company's sales and marketing organization, which was virtually nonexistent during the first quarter of 2014.

"During the first quarter we expanded our physician customer base, commercialized additional biomarker diagnostics, and improved the reports we provide our physician customers, all with the goal of helping to positively impact patient care," Biocept President and CEO Michael Nall said during a call discussing the company's earnings.

"We achieved record revenues for the quarter and also showed significant year-over-year improvement in several key metrics that reflect our ability to bring new biomarkers to market and the traction we have gained with our commercial operations, which were nearly nonexistent in the first quarter of 2014," he added.

While Nall conceded that liquid biopsy is still an emerging technology and that "changing physicians' behavior can take some time," he said that the company was pleased to see that its customer base shifted in the first quarter of 2015 from mostly CTC enumeration in the prognostic setting to growing adoption of its biomarker tests, which are aimed at guiding the use of targeted cancer therapies.

Over the quarter, Biocept expanded its non-small cell lung cancer testing from ALK and ROS1 alterations to also include EGFR mutations. It also announced a collaboration with the University of California, San Diego Moores Cancer Center to demonstrate the clinical utility of its technology to detect biomarkers in circulating tumor cells and circulating tumor DNA.

Most recently, it launched a c-MET amplification detection test, to assist physicians in identifying patients who may be receptive to certain gastric and NSCLC treatments.

"We view our biomarker for c-MET detection as a potential high-value companion diagnostic for targeted therapies in both gastric and lung cancers," Nall said during the call.

The company exited the first quarter with $19.3 million in cash and cash equivalents, which included $17.3 in net proceeds from the secondary offering it completed in February and the subsequent exercise of warrants related to that offering.

Biocept COO Bill Kachioff said that this new financing will enable Biocept to further expand its sales force and pursue additional tests for its product portfolio.