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Exiqon Array Sales, Services 'Stable' Despite Competition from Sequencing, qPCR

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Exiqon continues to see demand for its microRNA microarray products, though its quantitative PCR assays and functional analysis products are driving its sales, according to its CEO Lars Kongsbak.

Exiqon has offered a line of its microRNA array tools and services since it first launched the chips in 2005. Last year, it introduced the seventh generation of its chips for expression profiling of microRNA from human, mouse, and rat (BAN 4/17/2012).

The company has seen customers gravitate toward its qPCR assays, though, since it launched them several years ago (BAN 6/28/2011).

Kongsbak told BioArray News that the 17 percent jump in the firm's third quarter revenues, reported this week, were largely attributable to qPCR sales.

"The sales are primarily driven by qPCR and functional analysis products and not so much the array business," Kongsbak said. Array sales are also "suffering from competition from analysis done by NGS as many customers more readily obtain funding for projects based on NGS analysis over array analysis," he added.

Still, Kongsbak said that arrays are "much cheaper" and have a "much faster turnaround time," attributes that have contributed to "stable array kit sales" and "positive developments" of its array-based services.

Exiqon will rely on the experience it has gained through offering array and qPCR services when it rolls out its sequencing-based miRNA expression analysis service in the first quarter of 2014. The firm expects to provide its clients with the same "well-developed and efficient customer support" and "advanced data analysis," he said.

Though Exiqon saw sales of its research products sales and services increase in Q3, its total revenues actually fell a percent to DKK 29.8 million ($5.5 million) for the quarter, compared to DKK 30.1 million for Q3 2012. Exiqon also posted a net loss of DKK 1.7 million, or DKK .05 per share, versus a loss of DKK 700,000, or DKK .02 per share, for the third quarter of 2012.

Still, the company's research products sales and services revenues were DKK 26.5 million, with North American sales for those products up 44 percent.

Kongsbak said that Exiqon is "back on track" in the North American market thanks to a "new management and sales team" that has enabled it to "build substantial growth momentum." Exiqon maintains a North American office in Woburn, Mass. Kongsbak added that Exiqon has "suffered over the past couple of years" in the US and Canadian markets.

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