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Roka Bioscience Posts Jump in Q3 Revenues; Falls Short of Estimates

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Roka Bioscience reported after the close of the market Thursday that its third quarter revenues nearly tripled year over year as it trimmed its net loss.

The Warren, NJ-based molecular diagnostics firm reported revenues of $1.5 million for the three months ended Sept. 30, compared to $556,000 for the third quarter of 2013. It fell short of the average Wall Street estimate of $2.2 million.

Roka, which went public in July, said that the increase in Q3 revenues was due to the number of Atlas instruments placed with commercial customers and the increased utilization of those instruments. It noted, however, that as of the end of the third quarter it had 36 instruments placed with customers under commercial agreements, the same number as at the end of the second quarter but up from 23 as of the end of Q3 2013.

"Although our commercialization efforts did not result in additional instrument placements in the quarter, we continue to make good progress with our targeted strategic accounts," Roka President and CEO Paul Thomas said in a statement. "Despite the challenges associated with the launch of innovative technologies such as our Atlas Detection Assays, we remain focused on increasing revenue from our existing customer relationships while continuing to expand our strategic customer base."

The Atlas is Roka's flagship platform and is an automated sample-in, result-out platform, and the company offers assays for detecting E. coli 0157:H7; Shiga toxin E. coli; Listeria; Listeria monocytogenes; and Salmonella.

The firm is a spinoff from Gen-Probe, which is now part of Hologic. It said that during the third quarter it paid Gen-Probe $10.5 million in cash to reduce the royalty rate it pays to that firm under a previous license agreement.

Roka posted a net loss of $9.1 million, or $.64 per share, versus a net loss of $9.4 million, or $17 per share, for Q3 2013. The firm used 14,153,715 shares to calculate its loss for the most recent quarter compared to 555,910 for Q3 2013, when it was privately held.

Analysts, on average, had expected a loss of $.49 per share.

Roka's R&D spending for the quarter declined nearly 10 percent to $1.9 million from $2.1 million, while its SG&A expenses climbed almost 5 percent to $4.6 million from $4.4 million.

The firm finished the quarter with $62.8 million in cash and cash equivalents.

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