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Gen-Probe's Q3 Revenues Inch Up 1 Percent

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Gen-Probe reported after the close of the market Thursday that its third-quarter revenues increased 1 percent as clinical diagnostic sales offset weakness in its blood screening business.

The San Diego-based molecular diagnostics firm brought in total revenues of $122.7 million for the three months ended Sept. 30, up from $121.2 million for the third quarter of 2008. Its clinical diagnostic sales for the quarter were $69.6 million, up from $55.5 million, while its blood screening sales dropped to $45.4 million from $52.7 million.

Overall, its product sales rose 10 percent to $119 million from $108.3 million. The firm also noted that the comparable 2008 results included a one-time, $10 million milestone payment from Novartis.

Gen-Probe's revenues missed analysts' consensus estimate of $123.3 million, but its earnings per share of $.44 beat the average estimate of $.41.

Gen-Probe said that clinical diagnostics sales were helped by contributions from Tepnel's transplant diagnostics and genetic testing products, as well as revenue growth for its APTIMA Combo 2 assay, a molecular diagnostics test for simultaneously detecting Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the firm said.

Meanwhile, its blood screening revenues were down partially due to $7.9 million of lower product shipments to Novartis, which the company said was expected. "As we forecast three months ago, blood screening sales in the third quarter continued to be affected by negative ordering patterns that outweighed a 1 percent increase in underlying donations tested," Gen-Probe President and CEO Carl Hull said in a statement.

Gen-Probe's net income for the quarter was $22.2 million, or $.44 per share, down 24 percent from $29.1 million, or $.52 per share, the year before.

The drop in net earnings was partially due to higher costs. The firm's R&D spending increased 12 percent to $27.5 million from $24.5 million, while its SG&A expenses climbed 22 percent to $28.7 million from $23.6 million.

Gen-Probe finished the quarter with $517.9 million in cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments.

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