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Horizon Discovery H1 Revenues Fall 14 Percent

NEW YORK — Horizon Discovery Group reported on Monday a 14 percent year-over-year drop in revenues for the first half of 2020 as a reduction in academic research due to the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic bit into sales of the company's reagent offerings.

For the six-month period ended June 30, Horizon's revenues fell to £22.4 million ($29.3 million) from £26.1 million a year earlier. On a constant currency basis, the gene editing and gene modulation technologies firm's revenues were down nearly 16 percent to £22.0 million.

First-half revenues from Horizon's research reagents unit dropped 15 percent to £16.0 million from £18.9 million. Horizon's reagents operations now include diagnostics following its recent decision to discontinue the manufacture of custom cell line-derived reference standards to focus on higher volume off-the-shelf and made-to-order reference standards.

Bioproduction revenues, meanwhile, fell 29 percent to £2.0 million from £2.8 million, while screening revenues ticked up 2 percent to £4.4 million from £4.3 million in the same period last year. Horizon has yet to record revenues from its newly established base editing unit, which is developing a gene-editing technology exclusively licensed from Rutgers University.

"We were affected by COVID-19 and the widespread lockdown in the second quarter of the year, which resulted in a rapid reduction in academic research work, leading to a marked reduction in orders for our research reagents business unit in particular," Horizon CEO Terry Pizzie said in a statement.

"Whilst in H2 2020 we will not make up the revenues lost in our research reagents business during Q2 and have experienced delays to evaluations in bioproduction, COVID-19 has also positively impacted demand for our services in screening as our biopharma customers embraced outsourcing to meet their own business challenges during the pandemic," he noted.

Cambridge, UK-based Horizon's H1 net loss climbed to £9.4 million, or 6.1 pence per share, versus £5.6 million, or 3.7 pence per share, in the year-ago period.

Its R&D costs were up almost 9 percent to £7.5 million from £6.9 million while SG&A expenses rose 13 percent to £19.3 million from £17.1 million, in part due to Horizon's preparations for a listing on the Nasdaq and the ramping up of its base editing unit operations.

At the end of June, Horizon had cash and cash equivalents totaling £23.6 million.