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Fulgent Genetics Q1 Revenues Jump 44 Percent

NEW YORK – Fulgent Genetics reported after the close of the market on Monday a 44 percent increase in first quarter revenues driven by a large jump in billable test numbers. The firm also withdrew its 2020 full-year revenue guidance.

For the three months ended March 31, Fulgent posted revenues of $7.8 million versus $5.4 million in the same quarter last year. The firm said it delivered 13,163 billable genetic tests during Q1, a 75 percent increase year over year.

"We had a very good start to the year, which was impacted by the global proliferation of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, that materialized in the first quarter," Fulgent CEO and Chairman Ming Hsieh said in a statement. "While volume from our core rare disease, oncology, and reproductive health businesses has been challenged in this unprecedented macro environment, particularly in March, we were pleased to deliver strong year over year growth in both revenue and billable test volume in the first quarter."

In a conference call following the release of results, Hsieh said the results were "in line with expectations for the first quarter."

Hsieh noted that the firm has also developed PCR- and next-generation sequencing-based tests for COVID-19. Company officials disclosed that they are developing an at-home coronavirus test kit to be offered through its consumer-facing subsidiary, Picture Genetics. Hsieh said Fulgent is "evaluating several different technologies for the at-home self-test," including antibody-based testing.

Fulgent officials said that the firm saw demand for the coronavirus tests rise in the last week of the quarter, especially from hospital systems, large clinics, and other healthcare organizations. "Many of these organizations are new clients of Fulgent," added Brandon Perthuis, Fulgent's chief commercial officer. "And it's likely these newly formed relationships will expand to include other services we provide, in the future."

Fulgent's US business grew 56 percent and accounted for 76 percent of revenues, Kim said.

Fulgent's net loss in the first quarter was up slightly from the year before at $2.0 million, or $.09 per share, compared with $1.9 million, or $.10 per share, in Q1 2019.

First quarter R&D spending grew 39 percent to $2.0 million from $1.4 million, while SG&A expenses increased 30 percent to $3.6 million from $2.8 million.

Kim noted that the firm spent about $1 million across all areas of its business to invest in COVID-19 testing. The firm has added a third shift at its laboratory and is hiring across all departments.

At the end of March, Temple City, California-based Fulgent had cash and cash equivalents totaling $9.3 million and marketable securities of $61.3 million.

Due to volatility of testing volumes in its core business, Fulgent withdrew its 2020 full-year outlook, but noted that it expects second quarter revenues to be "flat to slightly down,' compared with Q1, Kim said. Meantime, COVID-19 tests are priced lower in comparison to the firm's other tests, but volume is "ramping exponentially," he said.

In March, following the release of its 2019 financial results, Kim said that Fulgent expected 2020 revenues of approximately $40 million, or about 23 percent growth.

In morning trading on the Nasdaq, shares of Fulgent were down 15 percent at $13.99.

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