NEW YORK – Invitae said after the close of the market on Tuesday that its first quarter revenues increased 58 percent from Q1 2019 despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
For the period ended March 31, the San Francisco-based genetic testing company reported $64.2 million in revenues, up from $40.6 million a year ago and beating the average Wall Street estimate of $59.4 million. Last month, the company had predicted more than $63 million in Q1 revenues and withdrawn its guidance for 2020 due to the coronavirus-related uncertainties.
"We started the year with a very strong quarter, delivering record growth in volume and first quarter revenues and giving us strong momentum as we began experiencing impacts from the pandemic," said Invitae Cofounder and CEO Sean George in a statement. "As healthcare has shifted, we have been able to quickly leverage our pre-existing strengths, notably our telehealth offerings and our ability to deliver genetic testing remotely."
In a conference call to discuss the firm's financial results, George said that the company saw an impact from the coronavirus pandemic starting in the second half of March, when testing volumes dropped about 50 percent compared to the previous week.
However, all its production facilities remain fully operational and for each week in April and early May, daily testing volumes have increased steadily. "While early, and really only happening on a regional level, we view this as evidence supporting our scenario outlook of the COVID recovery period, and more importantly, the essential nature of genetics in mainstream medicine," he said.
Because Invitae expects the pandemic to affect testing volumes going forward, it has taken a number of steps to reduce its cash burn for 2020, which includes halting development of its somatic cancer testing business.
During the first quarter, Invitae accessioned more than 154,000 samples compared to 94,000 samples in Q1 2019, which George said is more than the number of samples accessioned in all of 2017.
It also expanded services and support for telehealth, including new capabilities for the Gia chatbot to support Ob/Gyns, oncologists, genetic counselors, and other clinicians ordering genetic testing; increased support for at-home testing using saliva kits; and education for clinicians transitioning to telehealth.
In addition, the company closed its acquisition of Diploid, a developer of an artificial intelligence engine to speed up clinical diagnosis from exome and genome sequencing tests. Last month, it also closed the acquisition of pharmacogenetic testing firms YouScript and Genelex.
Moreover, Invitae added 12 new biopharma partnerships during the quarter, bringing the total number of such programs to more than 90.
Its R&D expenses climbed to $55.7 million, up threefold from $18 million in the year-ago quarter, while S&GA expenses were $66 million, up 76 percent from $37.5 million a year ago.
Invitae's net loss for the quarter totaled $102.2 million, or $1.03 per share, compared to a net loss of $37.7 million, or $.47 per share, in Q1 2019. Adjusted net loss for the quarter was $79.8 million, or $.80 per share, slightly more than analysts' average estimate of a $.79 per share loss.
Due to the unknown duration and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company continues to provide no financial guidance for 2020.
Invitae ended the year with $90.2 million in cash and cash equivalents, and $204.4 million in marketable securities.
Subsequent to the closing of the quarter, the firm completed a public offering of common stock that resulted in net proceeds of $173 million.
In Wednesday morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Invitae's share price was down 3.4 percent, at $16.10.