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Quidel Posts 36 Percent Drop in Q1 Revenues on Weak Flu Season

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Quidel reported after the close of the market Wednesday that its first-quarter revenues fell 36 percent as a weak cold and flu season hit the firm's sales.

The San Diego-based diagnostics company reported total revenues of $38 million for the three-month period ended March 31, compared to $59.6 million for the first quarter of 2011. It fell short of Wall Street's consensus estimate of $40.3 million.

"While, not surprisingly, we were impacted in the quarter by a very mild cold and flu season and weak sales of related diagnostics, we continued to make significant progress in our aggressive efforts in other market segments to mitigate our historical flu-based volatility," Quidel President and CEO Douglas Bryant said in a statement. "Through the quarter, new products in our pipeline progressed at a rapid pace, as evidenced by the number of regulatory approvals received in recent months, and we are excited by the positive response and by the opportunities for commercializing our molecular assays and our new Sofia Immunoassay system."

Quidel has been making inroads into the molecular diagnostics market, and during the quarter received US Food and Drug Administration clearance for the Quidel Molecular Influenza A+B assay for use with the Cepheid SmartCycler PCR system. It had previously received an FDA nod for the assay for use on the Applied Biosystems 7500 Fast Dx thermocycler.

The firm also recently received the CE mark for its AmpliVue C. difficile assay, making it the first commercially available test using Quidel's non-instrumented format.

Quidel posted net income of $51,000, or $.00 per share, compared to $11.4 million, or $.35 per share, for the first quarter of 2011. On a non-GAAP basis, its EPS for the quarter was $.11 versus $.42, beating analysts' consensus estimate of $.06.

The firm's R&D spending for the quarter dropped 13 percent to $8.5 million from $7.5 million, and its SG&A expenses inched up around one percent to $12.5 million from $12.4 million.

Quidel finished the quarter with $21.6 million in cash and cash equivalents.