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Meridian Bioscience Q3 Revenues Rise 18 Percent Aided by MDx Business

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Meridian Bioscience today reported an 18 percent improvement year over year in its fiscal third-quarter revenues, helped along by its molecular diagnostics and molecular biology products.

For the three months ended June 30, the Cincinnati-based firm said revenues increased to $40.1 million from $33.9 million a year ago. Meridian's US Diagnostics business paced sales growth during the quarter as it rose 13 percent year over year, aided by continued acceptance of Merdian's illumigene isothermal molecular amplification platform. The initial test for the system is for C. difficile, and to date Meridian has placed about 500 systems worldwide with the US comprising 90 percent of the placements.

The illumigene business helped drive up the company's C. difficile franchise 18 percent year over year in the US and 13 percent worldwide.

In a statement, John Kraeutler, CEO of the company, said that of its 500 placed illumigene systems, more than 450 will be used for the reporting of clinical results, and the rest will be used for evaluations and third-party studies.

Year-to-date, illumigene has generated about $6 million in revenues. Krautler noted, however, that though Meridian had planned for a 60-day lag period between purchase order and routine test usage in the laboratory, the reality is that the lag period has been closer to 90 days.

"[A]s a result, we are initiating programs to accelerate customer placements so that revenue targets are realized," he said.

The company also will be submitting an application to the US Food and Drug Administration this week for its illumigene GBS test for Group B streptococcus, Meridian's second molecular test. Sales of the test outside the US are scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter, Kraeutler said.

While Meridian's European Diagnostics business rose 6 percent to $6.6 million from $6.2 million, Krautler said that on a local-currency basis, revenue was down 6 percent.

The Life Science business increased 48 percent year over year to $9.6 million from $6.5 million a year ago, but excluding the Bioline business, a manufacturer and distributor of molecular biology reagents that Meridian acquired a year ago and which contributed $4 million in revenue during the recently completed quarter, Life Science fell 12 percent compared to a year ago, Krautler said.

Overall, today's results fell short of Wall Street expectations, which had pegged revenue at $43.1 million.

Meridian posted a net profit of $6.8 million, or $.17 per share, up 6 percent from $6.4 million, or $.16 a share, a year ago, but short of a consensus Wall Street EPS forecast of $.21.

Its R&D and SG&A costs each rose 29 percent during the quarter. R&D spending reached $2.7 million, compared to $2.1 million a year ago, while SG&A expenses hit $12.6 million, up from $9.8 million.

Meridian reported $25.6 million in cash and short-term investments as of June 30.

The company lowered sales guidance for the fiscal fourth quarter, to a range of between $160 million and $163 million, from a previous guidance of between $165 million and $170 million. EPS guidance was also lowered to between $.68 and $.71. Previously Meridian had provided guidance of $.77 to $.82.

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