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Sequenom's Q1 Revenues Rise as Firm Details Plan for T21 Test

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Sequenom today reported first-quarter revenue growth of 22 percent, as it mapped out its plans for bringing a non-invasive Down syndrome test to the market.

The San Diego-based genomics tools and molecular diagnostics firm brought in total revenues of $10.6 million for the three-month period ended March 31, compared to $8.7 million for the first quarter of 2009. Its consumables sales increased to $5.1 million from $4.7 million year over year, while sales for its MassArray and other product-related revenues jumped to 44.8 million from $3.1 million.

The firm beat analysts' consensus estimate for revenues of $10.2 million for the quarter.

Sequenom posted a net loss of $16.9 million, or $.27 per share, compared to a net loss of $17.5 million, or $.29 per share, for the first quarter of 2009. It matched analysts' expectations for Q1 2010.

The firm's R&D expenditures increased 27 percent to $11.2 million from $8.8 million, due primarily to the cost of acquiring clinical samples for its Trisomy 21 test program, as well as a licensing payment to Optherion for certain intellectual property rights covering age-related macular degeneration and related genetic variants.

Its SG&A spending dropped 22 percent to $11.1 million from $14.3 million. The decrease was the result of lower legal fees associated with litigation and lower share-based compensation. As reported yesterday on GenomeWeb Daily News, Sequenom received court approval for its $14 million settlement with shareholders who had sued the company over last year's mishandling of test data on its Down Syndrome test and the subsequent decline in the firm's stock.

Today, Sequenom provided detailed plans for further development of that test program, which it hopes will result in a laboratory-developed test hitting the market by the end of 2011. It also plans to complete the appropriate studies and documentation necessary to file for premarket approval of the T21 test by the end of 2012.

For 2010, it expects to optimize a DNA sequencing-based test by the end of the third quarter of the year and collect a sufficient number of blood samples from high risk pregnancies for its planned blinded clinical studies by the end of the year. In addition, it anticipates that Sequenom CMM, its CLIA laboratory, will start accessioning and testing the T21 and euploid samples during the fourth quarter of 2010.

"Successfully meeting our T21 test development milestones, advancing our AMD test development program, and seeking partnering opportunities for some of our unfunded projects will be a major focus for Sequenom during 2010," Sequenom Chairman and CEO Harry Hixson said in a statement.

Sequenom finished the quarter with $29.2 million in cash, and short- and long-term marketable securities.

Despite the relatively strong quarter, Sequenom's shares dropped nearly 9 percent to $5.12 in early Friday trade on the Nasdaq. Stocks, in general, were down following yesterday's plunge and partial recovery, with the Nasdaq down around 3 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 2 percent.

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