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MDx Business Helps Meridian Q2 Revenues Spike 32 Percent

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Meridian Bioscience today reported a 32 percent jump in second quarter revenues, aided by "strong" results from its molecular diagnostic test for C. difficile and its recently acquired Bioline business.

For the three months ended March 31, Meridian posted $41.1 million in revenues, up from $31.1 million a year ago, but slightly short of consensus Wall Street expectations of $41.2 million.

Last summer, the company, which had previously operated primarily in the traditional in vitro diagnostics space, entered the molecular diagnostics market. Today, its CEO, John Kraeutler, reported that growth in its new business helped drive overall improvement.

Its illumigene C. difficile molecular amplification assay, which was cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration in July, helped drive 6 percent growth year over year in Meridian's C. difficile franchise. In addition, Bioline, a molecular biology reagents firm that Meridian bought in July, grew by 12 percent.

In a statement, Kraeutler said that illumigene sales totaled almost $2 million in the quarter and more than 300 laboratories now use the assay. Last month, the FDA cleared the test for pediatric use, and Kraeutler said today that as the rate of non-hospital-related C. difficile increases, especially in children, "we believe this claim will become more important."

He added that Meridian's illumigene test for Group B streptococcus will enter formal clinical trials shortly, and later this year clinical trials for its illumigene test for Group A streptococcus and illumigene test for Mycoplasma pneumonia are expected to be completed. The company will then submit an application with FDA for the two tests.

"The illumigene platform is becoming well recognized as a simple, accurate technology that enables more labs to adopt molecular testing quickly," Kraeutler said.

For the quarter, Meridian's overall growth came mostly in the US, where its diagnostics business increased to $25.5 million from $18.2 million a year ago, a 40 percent jump. European Diagnostics revenues slid to $6.4 million from $6.6 million, down 3 percent. Its Life Science business grew 42 percent to $9.1 million from $6.4 million.

The company increased spending on R&D 4 percent year over year to $2.4 million from $2.3 million. SG&A costs rose 48 percent to $12.9 million from $8.7 a year ago.

Meridian's profit for the quarter climbed 22 percent to $7.3 million, or $.18 per share, compared to $6 million, or $.15 per share, a year ago.

On an adjusted basis, EPS for the quarter was $.20, compared to $.15 a year ago, even with analysts' estimates.

As of March 31, Meridian had $28.4 million in cash and short-term investments.

In early afternoon trading on the Nasdaq, shares of Meridian were down a fraction of 1 percent at $24.42.

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