NEW YORK – BioMérieux said on Thursday that its first quarter 2020 revenues grew almost 22 percent year over year driven by "unprecedented demand" for molecular biology products for use in COVID-19 testing.
For the three months ended April 16, the Marcy l'Étoile, France-based in vitro diagnostics firm reported sales of €769 million ($836.6 million) compared to €632 million a year ago.
Organic growth at constant exchange rates and scope of consolidation was about 21 percent, BioMérieux said. The first adverse impacts of the COVID-19 epidemic on sales were reported in the final weeks of the quarter, notably in immunoassays, and are expected to grow over the following months, the firm said. In addition, currency effect was slightly positive, adding around 1 point of growth mainly due to the appreciation of the US dollar against the euro.
Clinical applications revenues, which accounted for about 85 percent of total sales, grew 25 percent on a reported basis to €655.8 million from €525.9 million in the year-ago period. Within clinical applications, molecular biology jumped 70 percent to €293.2 million, microbiology grew 7 percent to €251.6 million, immunoassays fell 9 percent to €98.8 million, and other clinical applications sales rose 51 percent to €12.2 million.
Within molecular biology, BioFire FilmArray products grew 67 percent year over year led by "exceptionally high" use of respiratory panels and the pneumonia panel in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This included the placement of more than 1,400 systems in the quarter, bringing the total worldwide installed base to more than 11,900 units, the company said.
Molecular biology growth was also fueled by abnormally high demand for DNA/RNA extraction instruments and reagents, the firm said. New tests developed specifically to detect SARS‑CoV‑2 did not generate any sales in the quarter.
Meanwhile, microbiology growth was driven by higher reagent sales for the Vitek and Bact/Alert platforms and strong sales of lab automation instruments. Immunoassay revenues fell primarily due to a slowdown in reagent sales in China, the Middle East, and Europe, with the Vidas and Hybiome product lines most exposed due to lower demand for routine and non-respiratory-related emergency tests.
BioMérieux's Q1 industrial applications revenues grew about 6 percent on a reported basis to €113.0 million from €106.6 million.
The company withdrew its 2020 guidance previously stated on Feb. 26 due to "uncertainties surrounding the development of the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic … in particular its potential impact on the Chinese economy in the first half."
"Given the deterioration in the global health and economic environment amid the rapid spread of SARS‑CoV‑2 across the world, BioMérieux does not have sufficient visibility at the date of this publication to set new objectives for 2020," the firm said. "As a result of the COVID-19 epidemic, use of respiratory molecular tests is much higher than normal, but the number of patients seeking consultations for other reasons has also dropped substantially, which will weigh on immunoassay and microbiology product lines."