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Biocept Q4 Revenues Jump Five-Fold

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Biocept reported after the close of the market on Tuesday that its fourth quarter revenues rose nearly 500 percent year over year.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, the company's total revenues rose to $1.3 million from $218,283 in the prior-year quarter. Within its overall revenue, $1.2 million came from commercial testing and another $70,000 was from the firm's development services.

Overall, Biocept accessioned 1,175 total samples during the quarter, up 77 percent from 663 total samples accessioned in Q4 2015. Of those, 1,101 were commercial billable tests, up from 584 commercial samples a year ago.

The firm's net loss for the quarter narrowed to $4.2 million, or $.27 per share, from $4.6 million, or $.73 per share in Q4 2015.

This decrease was primarily due to higher sample volumes and higher collections from third-party insurers, the company said, though this was partially offset by increased expenses associated with Biocept's business growth.

On a call with analysts following the release of the earnings, President and CEO Michael Nall said that Biocept's quarterly performance reflects a strong year overall and a solid foundation for future growth. Recent accomplishments for the firm include the introduction of its PD-L1 protein expression assay for immuno-oncology applications, as well as new tests for RET in lung cancer and AR in prostate and breast cancer.

The company also expanded its in-network coverage with major health plans significantly in 2016, Nall said, and completed two equity offerings, raising total gross proceeds of approximately $15 million.

Nall also confirmed that the group purchasing agreement Biocept announced last month is with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. The agreement is expected to help Biocept gain additional reimbursement through new avenues for pitching its tests to the association's various member plans. 

Biocept's R&D spending shrank about 15 percent year over year to $668,399 in Q4 2016 from $784,379 in Q4 2015, due to lower materials consumption and lab costs. SG&A rose 4 percent to $2.8 million from $2.7 million.

Biocept's revenues for full-year 2016 rose more than 400 percent to $3.2 million from $609,909 in 2015.

The company accessioned 4,211 billable assays in 2016, up from 131 percent from 1,824 billable assays accessioned during 2015.

Its net loss for the year widened to $18.4 million from $16.9 million in 2015. However, loss per share narrowed to $1.92 in full-year 2016 from $3.07 in 2015, due to an increase in the weighted average number of shares outstanding to 9.6 million from 5.5 million.

The company's full-year R&D costs dropped 7 percent to $2.7 million from $2.9 million. SG&A spending for 2016 rose 22 percent to $11.7 million from $9.6 million in the previous year, mainly due to the need to support expanded commercial activities.

Biocept ended the year with $4.6 million in cash and cash equivalents, and the firm has since received an additional $4.6 million in proceeds related to warrant exercises from its October 2016 financing.

Nall said that he expects 2017 to be a transformational year for Biocept. "Liquid biopsy is gaining traction in the medical community and there is growing awareness of our … platform and the unique benefits we offer," he told analysts.

Given the company's accomplishments, as well as plans to begin reporting sales on an accrual basis later this year, Nall said Biocept is on track to achieve its goal of becoming gross margin-positive in the second half of 2017.

According to Biocept's Vice President of Operations Tim Kennedy, the plan is to make that shift to reporting sales on an accrual, rather than a cash basis, at about the midpoint of the year.

"It's just a matter of time and of having enough of a rearview mirror for adjudicated claims … to know what to predict payor by payor," Kennedy said during the call. "As we are making progress… that gives us the ability to have that clarity we need."

Among plans for the upcoming year, Nall mentioned that Biocept intends to introduce new actionable biomarker tests, provide additional clinical validation for its existing assays, expand the distribution of its tests through potential strategic partnerships, and "enter into additional direct contracts with major health insurance plans."

It is also opening a new pilot program that allows select hospital lab customers to move one aspect of the firm's liquid biopsy tests, immunohistochemistry reporting, into their own facilities.