This story has been updated to provide comments from Biocept management made during a conference call with investors.
NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) - Biocept reported Wednesday after the close of the market that its fourth quarter revenues increased almost threefold year over year, primarily due to higher commercial test volume.
For the three months ended Dec. 31, 2015, the company's total revenues increased to $218,000 from $76,000 the prior year. Overall, Biocept accessioned 663 total samples during the quarter, 584 of which were commercial samples, up from 354 total samples and 292 commercial samples in Q4 2014. Test volume during the quarter outpaced the firm's entire 2014 volume of 661.
Biocept President and CEO Michael Nall said in a statement that the 32 percent increase in commercial testing indicates that the company's tests are "increasingly being used by physicians to assist with making patient treatment decisions."
"This was a strong finish to a year in which our total billable sample volume … total sample volume … and revenues … [were] all up more than three-fold from the prior year," he added.
In a call discussing the company's earnings on Wednesday, Nall said that increasing routine physician ordering of the company's tests has been the key to this growth. Biocept has received orders from over 250 accounts representing affiliations with more than 340 physicians in the short time since its tests were launched, he added.
Biocept's net loss for the quarter widened to $4.6 million, or $.24 per share, from $3.9 million, or $.87 per share in Q4 2014. According to the company, this increase in net loss was primarily due to higher expenses associated with the overall growth of its business and the expansion of its sales and marketing organization.
The firm's R&D spending decreased 27 percent year over year to $800,000 from $1.1 million in Q4 2014, and its SG&A costs increased 29 percent to $2.7 million from $2.1 million, due to higher personnel costs associated with the expansion of the company's commercial organization.
Biocept's revenues for full-year 2015 rose to $610,000 from $133,000 in 2014. Its net loss for the year widened to $16.9 million from $15.9 million in 2014. Loss per share narrowed, however, to $1.02 in 2015 from $3.97 in 2014.
Full-year R&D costs for the company fell 36 percent to $2.9 million from $4.5 million in 2014, while SG&A spending rose 32 percent to $9.6 million from $7.3 million in the previous year.
During the call, Nall highlighted several new areas where Biocept has recently added, or is currently working on adding, new biomarkers to its testing menu. These include a test for androgen receptor expression in prostate cancer launched in January this year, and a collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine to develop a blood-based test for mutations in the estrogen receptor gene.
He also emphasized the company's success over the year in increasing patient access to its tests through coverage agreements with healthcare insurance plans. "Partnering with these plans is important to our commercial strategy as it may increase timely processing of claims for patients who are not covered by Medicare," Nall said.
Biocept ended the year with $8.8 million in cash and cash equivalents.
For 2016, the firm's priorities include a continued drive to increase billable sample volume, including plans to expand its test menu and initiate new clinical validation and utility studies, establish a Clinical Advisory Board to support the growth of its physician customer base, and partner with pharmaceutical companies to open up future opportunities for companion diagnostics development.
The firm's shares were down less than 1 percent to $1.66 in Thursday morning trading on the Nasdaq.