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BG Medicine Posts 85 Percent Jump in Q1 Revenues

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – BG Medicine today reported first quarter revenues of $888,000, up 85 percent from $480,000 in the first quarter of 2012.

The company also announced that it had appointed Paul Sohmer as president and CEO, replacing Eric Bouvier.

The revenue increase was driven by $820,000 in revenues from sales of the company's BGM Galectin-3 test, a 97 percent jump from the $416,000 it posted in Q1 2012. The remaining $68,000 in revenues came from BG's services business, up 6 percent from $64,000 a year ago.

BG Medicines' revenues fell short of the average Wall Street estimate of $1.2 million.

On a conference call following release of the results, BG Medicine's Executive Vice President and CFO Charles Abdalian said that the increase in BGM Galectin-3 sales reflected increased volume from the company's laboratory providers. He noted that six reference labs had ordered the product in 2013 compared to three in 2012.

BG's net loss for the quarter was $5.4 million, or $.21 per share, down from a net loss of $7.7 million, or $.38 per share, in the first quarter of last year, and beating the average Wall Street estimate of a net loss of $0.27 per share.

The decrease was due primarily to lower R&D and SG&A costs, the company said. Its R&D spending was down 53 percent to $1.4 million from $3.0 million in Q1 2012. SG&A expenses dropped to $4.0 million, down 17 percent from $4.8 million in the year-ago period.

According to Abdalian, the reduction in R&D costs was due primarily to the ending of the company's biomarker research activities, while the SG&A decrease was a result of transitioning to an internal sales force and more disciplined marketing spending.

In announcing the appointment of Sohmer, BG Medicine framed the move as part of its ongoing transition from focusing on test development to commercialization.

"Sohmer has a strong track record of building commercially successful diagnostic companies and we are excited to have him lead BG Medicine at this critical time," Stephane Bancel, the company's executive chairman, said in a statement. "With two innovative diagnostic tests that aim to meet important needs in cardiovascular care and a sharpened focus on execution, we believe the pieces are in place to accelerate our commercial growth and deliver strong results for our shareholders."

Most recently the CEO of diagnostics and research laboratory Viracor-IBT Laboratories, Sohmer has held positions including CEO of Pathway Diagnostics, CEO of TriPath Imaging, and CEO of Genetrix.

Bouvier was president and CEO of BG Medicine for less than a year and a half. He replaced Pieter Muntendam in those posts in January 2012.

At the time of Bouvier's appointment, Bancel similarly pointed out his experience in commercial operations, saying Bouvier's "passion for cardiovascular diagnostics, coupled with his extensive international commercial and general management experience make him a strong leader to transform BG Medicine from an R&D-focused company into a robust commercial organization."

With regard to BG' Medicine's commercialization efforts, Bouvier highlighted on the earnings call an agreement signed this week between BG Medicine and the Trenton, N.J.-based community health improvement collaborative Trenton Health Team under which THT will be using BG's BGM Galectin-3 test to help reduce hospital readmissions for its heart failure patients. BG has identified hospital readmissions prevention as a key market for the test.

The deal "was a key part of our hospital readmission strategy and was the first major win for our newly formed commercial team," Bouvier said.

BG Medicine ended the quarter with $21.1 million in cash and cash equivalents, and $322,000 in restricted cash.

In afternoon trading on the Nasdaq, shares of BG Medicine were down 4 percent at $1.75