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Centogene Q1 Revenues Increase 13 Percent

NEW YORK – Centogene on Monday morning reported a 13 percent year-over-year increase in Q1 revenues, driven by both its pharmaceutical and diagnostics business segments and somewhat tempered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"During the first quarter of 2020, we continued our focus on our core business of providing precise medical diagnosis of and accelerating drug development for rare hereditary diseases, while taking important steps to operate our business effectively during COVID-19 and support broader efforts to address this pandemic," said Centogene CEO Arndt Rolfs in a statement.

For the three months ended March 31, the Rostock, Germany-based company reported €12.1 million ($13.6 million) in revenues, up from €10.7 million in Q1 of 2019 but missing the average analyst estimate of $14.7 million.

Of total revenues, €4.6 million came from the firm's pharma business, up 10 percent over the previous year's quarter, and €7.6 million from its diagnostics business, which grew 15 percent over the previous year's quarter.

Diagnostics revenues mainly increased because of higher order volumes for whole-exome sequencing and whole-genome sequencing tests. Centogene's diagnostics segment received about 13,000 total test requests during the quarter, similar to a year ago. However, while the number of noninvasive prenatal tests, which the firm considers a non-core diagnostic product, decreased significantly, the number of non-NIPTs increased by almost 50 percent over Q1 of 2019.

Centogene's rare disease repository has grown to approximately 530,000 patients from 120 countries, the firm said, compared to 395,000 a year ago.

The number of pharmaceutical collaborations increased to 64 from 53 a year ago, the number of disease areas under partnership grew to 46 from 38 last year, and the number of biomarker partnerships rose to 33 from 28 a year ago.

During a conference call to discuss the firm's financial results, Rolfs said that the company saw a slowdown in its business at the end of March that became more pronounced in April. Sample volumes fell below 50 percent of pre-COVID-19 volumes in late April, and clinical trial-related revenues also decreased, though it is too early to quantify the impact.

The revenue slowdown was somewhat offset by revenues from the COVID-19 testing capabilities that Centogene quickly established. Initially, the firm only provided testing for its employees, and later for essential workers in the region, followed by local schools and nursing homes.

In April, Centogene acquired lab space in Hamburg that is now exclusively performing COVID-19 testing, with a current capacity of more than 5,000 tests per day that can easily be quadrupled, according to CFO Richard Stoffelen. In addition, the company secured a stable supply of swabs, branded as CentoSwab, and has access to more than 100,000 swabs per week now.

Nearly all of the company's staff has returned to the office, Rolfs said, and all employees are tested for COVID-19 twice a week.

Centogene's net loss in Q1 was €8.7 million, or €.43 per share, up from €5.3 million, or €.33 per share, during the year-ago period. Analysts, on average, had estimated a net loss of $.37 (€.33) per share.

R&D expenses totaled €2.7 million in Q1, up 59 percent from €1.7 million the previous year, mostly related to biomarker development, Stoffelen said, as well as the expansion of the firm's proprietary information platform. SG&A expenses amounted to €10.2 million, up 29 percent from €7.9 million a year ago, due to increased personnel costs and operating expenses, as well costs arising from operating as a public company.

As of March 31, Centogene had €33.4 million in cash and cash equivalents.

In morning trading on the Nasdaq, Centogene's shares were up almost 3 percent, at $21.90.

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