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PerkinElmer CEO Talks COVID-19, Long-Term Outlook at JP Morgan

NEW YORK – PerkinElmer kicked off the 39th Annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference by providing an overview of 2020 with some projections for the year ahead and beyond.

Prior to its presentation, the firm announced that Q4 2020 revenues are expected to be about 66 percent above Q4 2019 levels on a reported basis and about 63 percent above the year-ago figure organically.

During the conference, which was held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic and was webcast, PerkinElmer President and CEO Prahlad Singh said total revenues are estimated to reach $3.8 billion for 2020, of which $1 billion is anticipated to come from the firm's COVID-19-related business, including upwards of $350 million from its molecular tests for SARS-CoV-2 detection. The firm has shipped more than 25 million molecular tests for the coronavirus, the Waltham, Massachusetts-based firm noted.

Meantime, PerkinElmer expects $75 million in revenues for 2020 from its serology-based COVID-19 testing business, along with a $50 million backlog. In general, antibody-based testing revenues for SARS-CoV-2 has been sluggish for the industry as a whole, but with vaccinations for COVID-19 ongoing, that may change. Singh would not put a dollar figure projection on PerkinElmer's antibody testing moving ahead but said that such tests will play a more significant role in the effort to contain the coronavirus longer term.

The firm also anticipates $1 billion in total revenues for 2020 from its immunodiagnostics business. According to Singh, PerkinElmer has focused on automating its lower- and high-throughput instruments and noted its CE-IVD-marked SuperFlex immunoassay platform for use at the point of care, as well as the Accentis instrument, which the firm plans to launch this year.

It also will submit its QuantiVac ELISA test for FDA approval this year. The test is to quantify antibody titer levels, and as the world moves into the COVID-19 vaccination phase, "it's going to become very relevant," Singh said.

Meanwhile, PerkinElmer's applied genomics segment is projected to bring in about $550 million in revenues for 2020. Singh highlighted two new products, the newly launched PKeye mobile lab operations manager, and the Honeycomb Hive Cell Drive, slated for launch this year, which he said provides users walk-away automation capabilities.

PKeye is a hand-held monitor that scientists can use to "modify, modulate, or view the experiment that's ongoing in the lab." The Honeycomb Hive Cell Drive, meanwhile, would provide decentralized, single-cell separation and storage for later analysis.

Lastly, in the diagnostics business, reproductive health, which Singh called PerkinElmer's franchise portfolio, is expected to generate $450 million in revenues for 2020. The goal moving forward, he said "is to continue to round out the omics portfolio around rare disease detection" from a product and services perspective. Among the products it will be filing with the FDA for regulatory approval is the Eonis PCR reagent kit for newborn screening for severe combined immunodeficiency, X-linked agammaglobulinemia, and spinal suscular atrophy. The kit is CE-IVD marked.

The main growth driver in reproductive health, though, is the Vanadis noninvasive prenatal testing platform. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, commercialization of the instrument was put on hold this year. Some publications around the performance of the Vanadis platform have been published while others are "imminent," Singh said.

"We have a very strong pipeline, and as soon as the market opens, we expect to start shipping Vanadis to our customers," he said.

Overall, PerkinElmer anticipates core organic revenues of $2.7 billion over the next three years, excluding COVID-19 testing, while total revenues during that time-frame are estimated to be $4 billion, Singh said. He added that in 2023, adjusted EPS is expected to be more than $6.50.

Last week, PerkinElmer announced it would acquire Oxford Immunotec for $591 million. Singh declined to comment further on the deal.

In December, the firm closed on its $383 million acquisition of gene editing and cell engineering firm Horizon Discovery. Singh said on Monday that the deal fills in gaps in PerkinElmer's portfolio in those areas.

"What it also does is it open us up to continue to fill other portfolio gaps that might be in a space where we didn't play a role today. The way I would think of it is Horizon is a foundation on which … we are going to continue to build our portfolio there," he added.

He also said that PerkinElmer will remain "very active" in mergers and acquisitions. "We've got the capital, we've got a strong balance sheet. … I think you will see us be very eager and active in that space."