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Gen-Probe's Q1 Revenues up 7 Percent

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Gen-Probe today said that revenues for the first quarter rose 7 percent year over year as blood-screening revenues increased 12 percent.

The San Diego-based molecular diagnostics firm also announced a deal to be acquired by Hologic for $82.75 per share in cash for a total deal value of $3.7 billion.

Gen-Probe's revenues totaled $153.4 million, up from $143 million a year ago, and beating Wall Street estimates of $150.1 million.

Its product sales rose 9 percent year over year to $150.1 million as clinical diagnostics spiked 7 percent year over year to $94.9 million, driven by sales growth in the firm's women's health franchise including the Aptima Combo 2 assay for detecting chlamydia and gonorrhea, the Aptima Trichomonas assay, and the Aptima HPV assay, Gen-Probe said. Currency exchange effects lowered clinical diagnostics sales by about $500,000 during the quarter from a year ago.

Blood screening sales increased 12 percent to $52.5 million as more shipments of Tigris instruments were shipped to Novartis, Gen-Probe's collaboration partner on blood screening. Currency effects decreased revenues in the segment by $100,000 year over year. Its research products and services fell 13 percent to $2.7 million.

Outside of product sales, collaborative research revenues dropped 61 percent to $1.4 million, and royalty and license revenue increased 26 percent to $1.9 million.

The drop in collaborative research revenues, Gen-Probe said, resulted primarily from a decrease in funding from Novartis for the development of the fully automated Panther system for the blood-screening space. The platform, however, remains on track to launch into the international blood-screening markets this year.

Gen-Probe Chairman and CEO Carl Hull noted today the continuing growth of the firm's women's health business and said in a statement, "We plan to build on that momentum as our new products gain further traction in the marketplace and as we anticipate launching our Panther system in the US."

The firm's R&D spending in the quarter slipped 1 percent to $28.6 million from $29 million a year ago. Its SG&A costs increased 20 percent to $38 million from $31.7 million, as the company's commercial operations around women's health expanded and costs related to ongoing litigation increased, it said.

Gen-Probe's net income for the quarter was $22.4 million, or $.49 per share, compared to $23.3 million, or $.48 per share, a year ago. On a non-GAAP basis, EPS was $.55, above Wall Street estimates of $.51 per share.

Gen-Probe ended the first quarter with $138.8 million in cash and cash equivalents, and $174.4 million in marketable securities.

In February, the company gave full-year 2012 revenue guidance of between $630 million and $655 million in revenues and non-GAAP EPS of between $2.50 and $2.68. Today, CFO Herm Rosenman said in a statement that Gen-Probe remains on track to achieve those targets.

For the second quarter, Rosenman said that revenues are expected to improve sequentially by "a couple million dollars," and gave EPS guidance of between $.55 and $.58 per share on a non-GAAP basis, and between $.51 and $.54 per share on a GAAP basis.

In early morning trade on the Nasdaq shares of Gen-Probe were up 19 percent at $81.75 on news of the acquisition.

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