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Roka Bio Q2 Revenues More than Double; Leerink Initiates Coverage with Outperform Rating

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Molecular diagnostics firm Roka Bioscience today reported that its second quarter revenues more than doubled year over year.

The Warren, NJ-based firm, which recently became a publicly traded company, reported revenues of $1.4 million for the three months ended June 30, up from $671,000 a year ago as the number of Atlas instruments placed with commercial customers and the commercial use of the platforms increased. As of the end of the quarter, Roka had 36 instrument placements, up from 21 in the year-ago period, it said.

Its net loss for the second quarter came in at $7.3 million, or $11.28 per share, compared to a net loss of $7.9 million, or $15.96 per share, in Q2 2013.

Its R&D costs increased 16 percent year over year to $2.2 million from $1.9 million, while its SG&A costs rose 5 percent to $4.5 million from $4.3 million.

The company exited the quarter with $26 million in cash and cash equivalents. Subsequent to the end of Q2, Roka went public with an offering of 5 million shares of its common stock, raising gross proceeds of $60 million.

Roka is a spinout of Gen-Probe (now part of Hologic) and develops transcription mediated amplification-based molecular diagnostics for detecting foodborne pathogens. The Atlas instrument is an automated sample-in, result-out platform, and the company offers assays for detecting E. coli 0157:H7; Shiga toxin E. coli; Listeria; Listeria monocytogenes; and Salmonella.

Separately, investment bank Leerink Partners today initiated coverage of Roka with an Outperform rating and a $13 price target on the company's shares.

In a report, analyst Dan Leonard said that Roka's "differentiated technology for food pathogen testing and endorsement by leading contract testing labs and food processors augers well for future revenue growth … which is not appropriately captured in the current valuation."

He added that he sees "ample runway" for the firm to capture a greater share of the approximately $225 million North American molecular pathogen testing market due to the advantages offered by the Atlas platform, such as accuracy, automation, and speed, and he noted that in addition to being commercialized in food testing, the instrument is widely validated in the clinical diagnostics field "which we believe mitigates any technology risk commonly associated with early stage companies."

In morning trading on Monday, shares of Roka were flat at $10.49 on the Nasdaq.

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