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BioMérieux Reports Sales Increases for Q4, FY15

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – BioMérieux today reported organic sales growth of 4 percent for the fourth quarter, with full year 2015 organic sales up 7 percent.

The Marcy L'Etoile, France-based in vitro diagnostics firm said Q4 organic sales growth was slower than previous quarters due to unfavorable prior-year comparatives and a delayed start to the flu season. Sales for the three months ending Dec. 31, 2015 were €553.1 million ($599.6 million), a like-for-like change of 4 percent from €505.7 million in the year-ago period.

The 7 percent organic sales increase for FY2015 exceeded estimates for the year, the company said. It also reported consolidated sales rose about 16 percent in 2015 to nearly €2 billion from €1.7 billion in 2014, due in part to a €136 million positive currency effect, €108 million of which was due to the US dollar.

In clinical applications, the firm reported a 4 percent increase in overall sales. Microbiology segment sales, including Vitek and blood culture products, were essentially flat at €246.7 million, from €237.6 million a year ago, while immunoassays were up 5 percent to €119.9 million from €109.7 million. Sales of the Vidas line in particular rose 6 percent in the quarter at constant exchange rates.

Molecular biology sales, which included sales from the BioFire business acquired for €357 million at the start of 2014, were up 26 percent in the quarter, from €48.2 million to €67.9 million.

Among industrial applications, the firm's BioTheranostics business reported sales of €4.4 million, up from €4.0 million but a decrease of 7 percent on a constant currency basis. BioFire Defense sales, meanwhile, rose 4 percent to €7.0 million from €5.7 million.

BioMérieux also announced that it will spin off BioTheranostics for a negative post-tax impact of approximately €28 million on 2015 consolidated financial statements, which will be recorded in non-recurring items, and will cause no material impact on the firm's cash position.

Also during Q4, the firm received de novo US Food and Drug Administration clearance for its Meningitis/Encephalitis Panel, which was subsequently CE marked two weeks ago. In addition, it expanded its footprint in the agri-food sector with the launch of the GeneUp platform for molecular food testing, introduced the BioMérieux EpiSeq next-generation sequencing service in collaboration with Illumina, and launched a research-use-only PCR-based assay for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus.

The company further noted that its BioFire subsidiary submitted a 510(k) application this January for a high-throughput version of the FilmArray system called the FilmArray Torch, along with its Respiratory Panel. It also acquired software company Applied Maths to enrich and expand the EpiSeq service.

Clinical applications sales were up 7 percent for the full year on a constant currency basis, with microbiology sales inching up 3 percent and immunoassay sales increasing 8 percent.

Molecular biology sales rose 40 percent to €226.0 from €137.3 in the previous year, supported by FilmArray's performance, which was driven by expansion of the installed base and customer portfolio, as well as by demand for related panels, the firm said.

The Respiratory Panel was the FilmArray line's best seller, while the more recently launched Gastrointestinal Panel and Meningitis/Encephalitis Panel also enjoyed strong growth.

"The acquisition of BioFire made an active contribution to our growth and is delivering better results than predicted in our acquisition plan," CEO Alexandre Mérieux said in a statement.

The firm reported its overall installed base rose by about 5,000 new systems to approximately 84,500 instruments. This included placement of around 1,100 FilmArray units in 2015 to grow the total FilmArray base to about 2,500 units. 

Net debt decreased to €218 million in 2015 from €249 million in 2014, and BioMérieux set an organic growth target of between 6 and 8 percent for 2016, assuming a normal flu season.