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Meridian Bioscience Q2 Revenues Up 4 Percent, Beat Estimates

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Meridian Bioscience today reported a 4 percent year over year increase in its fiscal second quarter revenues on record performance in its diagnostics and life science segments.

For the three months ended March 31, the Cincinnati-based company's revenues rose to $56.5 million from $54.1 million a year ago, surpassing analysts' consensus estimate of $55.0 million.

Revenues from the company's life science division were up approximately 2 percent to $16.7 million from $16.4 million in Q2 2017, with the firm highlighting benefits from investments in the Asia-Pacific markets where it recently launched a line of low-cost immunoassays. Revenues in China grew approximately $800,000 for the second quarter and $1.6 million year-to-date over fiscal 2017, the company said in a statement. 

Revenues for Meridian's diagnostics segment, meanwhile, grew 5 percent to $39.8 million from $37.8 million on a strong respiratory season and "continued stabilization across product lines," including H. pylori and C. difficile 

Within diagnostics, the firm's Magellan LeadCare testing product line delivered double-digit growth for the quarter against an easier comparison, and "placements of LeadCare II in the quarter increased compared to the prior quarter due to multi-analyzer placements at two health care systems," Meridian CEO John Kenny said.

Tests run using venous blood, as opposed to finger- or heel-stick blood samples, showed inaccurate results on the LeadCare system that have since been attributed to an interaction between the anodic stripping voltammetry technology in the lead test with thiuram, a material found in the stoppers of some Vacutainer brand blood tubes manufactured by Becton Dickinson that can release sulfur gasses which can chelate lead particles.

Meridian continues to work closely with the US Food and Drug Administration regarding the use of venous blood with Magellan's LeadCare Testing Systems. "We remain committed to enhancing Magellan's quality system, and are progressing with the appropriate focus and resources," Kenny said, adding that in fiscal 2018 the company has invested approximately $1 million to enhance quality control and to work with the FDA in efforts to regain the claim for use of venous blood on the testing system in the future.

Meridian's net earnings in the quarter declined to $5.3 million, or $.12 a share, from $9.3 million, or $.22 a share. Excluding the effects of executive transition and realignment costs, and litigation costs, non-GAAP EPS was $0.21 per share, on par with the consensus Wall Street estimate. 

The firm's research and development spending increased 5 percent year over year to $4.2 million from $4.0 million. Current R&D efforts include development of the Curian immunoassay reader platform, which is expected to launch with its initial assays in calendar 2019; a cytomegalovirus assay for the molecular Illumigene platform targeted to launch late in calendar year 2018; and an H. pylori/Clarithromycin resistance assay which is expected to enter clinical trials near the end of calendar 2018.

Meridian's SG&A costs rose approximately 16 percent to $17.8 million from $15.3 million, and the firm finished the quarter with cash and cash equivalents totaling $56.4 million. 

Looking ahead, Meridian said that it expects its fiscal 2018 net revenues to be in the range of $209 million to $214 million, with non-GAAP EPS of between $.69 and $.72. The new guidance is an increase over the previously published range of $207 million to $212 million in net revenues and non-GAAP EPS of between $0.65 and $0.68.

During early morning trading on the Nasdaq shares of Meridian were up nearly 2 percent to $14.63.