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Cepheid's Q1 Sales Climb 25 Percent

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Cepheid reported after the close of the market Wednesday that its first-quarter revenues increased 25 percent year over year on strong clinical sales.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based molecular diagnostics firm reported total revenues of $60.2 million for the three-month period ended March 31, compared to $48 million for the first quarter of 2010. Clinical systems sales were up 20 percent to $11.6 million, and clinical reagents sales jumped 31 percent to $38.6 million. It beat analysts' consensus estimate for revenues of $57.3 million.

"Our clinical business now represents more than 87 percent of our product revenue, compared to 60 percent just two years ago," Cepheid CEO John Bishop said during a conference call following the release of the financial results.

Cepheid said that during the quarter it installed a total of 120 GeneXpert systems in its commercial clinical business. In addition, 58 GeneXpert systems were placed as part of its High Burden Developing Country program.

Sales for its non-clinical business slipped 6 percent year over year to $7.4 million from $7.9 million.

"We continue to work aggressively on expansion of our Xpert test menu and support of our objective to establish the GeneXpert system as the molecular platform of choice," said Bishop.

He noted that the firm's flu panel to detect and differentiate flu A, B, and 2009 H1N1 is currently under review by the US Food and Drug Administration. It hopes to launch its Chlamydia trachomatis/Neisseria gonorrhoeae test in the US next year, preceded by the release of a CE-IVD Mark product. In addition, its tuberculosis and CLIA-waived Staphylococcus aureus tests are both progressing toward clinical trials in the US, he said.

Bishop also noted that Cepheid also has tests in development to address the high-volume HPV, HIV, and HCV markets. The firm is targeting a 2012-2013 launch for these tests as CE-IVD Marked products.

Cepheid posted net income of $527,000, or $.01 per share, versus a net loss of $4.3 million, or $.07 per share, for Q1 2010. It beat analysts' estimates of a loss of $.01 per share.

The firm's R&D costs increased 40 percent to $13.6 million from $9.7 million, and its SG&A spending climbed 30 percent to $19.1 million from $14.7 million.

Cepheid finished the quarter with $80.5 million in cash and cash equivalents.

It expects full-year 2011 revenues to be between $245 million and $255 million, and EPS of between a loss of $.01 and a profit of $.04 per share.

In early Thursday trade on the Nasdaq, shares of Cepheid were down 3 percent at $29.91.

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