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BG Medicine Q1 Revenues Fall but Galectin-3 Sales Jump as Company Pursues Expanded Use for Test

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BG Medicine this week reported a 44 percent drop in first-quarter revenues year over year as its service revenues fell but its product revenues rose sharply.

The company had total first-quarter revenues of $480,000, down from $855,000 in the first quarter of 2011. Its service revenues fell to $64,000 from $843,000, while its product revenue jumped to $416,000 from $12,000. The first quarter of 2011 included $700,000 in service revenues associated with the High Risk Plaque Initiative, a research project begun by BG, Merck, AstraZeneca, and Philips to develop diagnostic biomarkers for predicting heart attacks.

The jump in product revenue stemmed from increasing demand for its Galectin-3 test for heart failure. The test has US Food and Drug Administration clearance and is marketed by Laboratory Corporation of America in the US, and the firm recently said that Mayo Medical Laboratories is making the test available to its networks. BG also said that it expects by the end of this year to receive final approval and pricing for the analyte-specific CPT code for the Galectin-3 test.

In addition, an automated version of the test is being developed by BG partners Abbott Laboratories, Alere, Siemens, and BioMérieux. On a conference call following release of the results BG CEO Eric Bouvier said that the company expects the first of these partners to launch an automated test in Europe by the end of the second quarter and to file a 510(k) submission with the FDA within the next several weeks.

The company also announced this week that it has obtained a CE mark and filed a 510(k) submission for an expanded use of the Galectin-3 test. Currently the test is approved for monitoring patients with chronic heart failure. The new application would expand the use to the general adult population for identification of people with an increased risk of heart failure.

Bouvier said this expanded indication would have a potential market of roughly 200 million people in the US and Europe, compared to around 20 million for its current use.

BG also announced this week the publication of a study in the European Heart Journal that demonstrated that galectin-3 levels could be used to identify patients likely to benefit from treatment with rosuvastatin, marketed by AstraZeneca as Crestor. The 1,462-patient trial found that people with galectin-3 blood levels below 19 ng/mL at the beginning of the trial received benefit from the drug, while those with higher levels received no benefit.

In late 2011, BG filed for FDA clearance of AMIPredict, now called CardioScore, a proteomic test for identifying individuals at high risk for near-term cardiovascular events such as a heart attack or stroke. The firm hopes to receive FDA clearance of that multiplex protein biomarker test by the end of the year.

BG posted a net loss of $7.7 million, or $.38 per share, for the quarter, compared to a net loss of $3.1 million, or $.27 per share, for the first quarter of 2011.

Its R&D spending for the quarter increased 76 percent to $3 million from $1.7 million, and its SG&A expenses more than doubled to $4.8 million from $2 million.

BG finished the quarter with $28 million in cash and cash equivalents and $561,000 in restricted cash.

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