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Cepheid Predicts Q4 Sales Dip, Flat Sales in 2009

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — Molecular diagnostics developer Cepheid said today that it expects to report revenue of around $38 million for the fourth quarter of 2008, a dip of around 6 percent from the $40.4 million it posted a year ago.

Looking at the full year, Cepheid said it expects to report revenues of $170 million, an increase of 31 percent from its full-year 2007 revenues of $129.5 million.

The company also projected that sales for the coming year will be flat, saying that growth in the company's core businesses will be offset by declines of roughly $25 million in the company's non-core clinical and biothreat business.

"While interest in our GeneXpert system and expanding menu of Xpert tests continues to grow, ongoing economic turbulence and uncertainty proved to have more of an impact on our customers than we had anticipated," Cepheid CEO John Bishop said in a statement.

"While the current economic environment will clearly demand cautious and deliberate navigation, we fully expect to continue to grow our core clinical business during 2009."

The company predicted that fourth-quarter 2008 sales of its MRSA test will be strong compared to the year-ago period, rising 180 percent to $14 million from $5 million, while for the full-year 2008 it expects the test to bring in around $47 million, which would be a more than five-fold increase over the $9 million it brought in for 2007.

At the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco today, Bishop said that the hospital-acquired infections testing market is still a significant revenue opportunity. In addition to the few molecular tests it already has on the market, the firm expects to receive FDA clearance for its Clostridium difficile and vancomycin-resistant Enterococci tests in the second half of this year.

Bishop also said that the firm is on track to launch a multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis test later this year and a combined chlamydia/gonorrhea test next year.

The firm said that all of its fourth-quarter and full-year 2008 results are subject to change until Cepheid releases its 2008 numbers after the markets close on Feb. 4.

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