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Pacific Biosciences' Q1 2017 Revenues Jump 30 Percent

This article has been updated to include comments from analysts. 

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Pacific Biosciences reported after the close of the market on Wednesday that its first quarter 2017 revenues climbed 30 percent.

The Menlo Park, California-based company reported Q1 2017 revenues of $24.9 million, up from $19.1 million in Q1 2016 and just beating analysts' average estimate of $24.6 million.

PacBio's total revenue included $12.6 million in instrument revenue, a 63 percent increase over Q1 2016 instrument revenue of $7.8 million. Its consumable revenue also increased 88 percent to $8.7 million from $4.6 million.

During a conference call discussing the firm's Q1 2017 performance, CEO Mike Hunkapiller said that customers now have over 300 instruments installed. In addition, he said, China now represents a large market for PacBio. Over the last two quarters, more than 20 percent of the company's sales have gone to Chinese customers.

The company said that excluding $3.6 million in contractual revenue it received in Q1 2016 but not Q1 2017, its product and services revenue increased 60 percent. In addition, in Q1 2017 it incurred a $1.3 million charge to the cost of revenue relating to a "change in the estimated useful life" of its RS II instruments, the company said in a statement.

Despite the increase in revenue, Ben Gong, PacBio's VP of finance and treasurer, said during the call that the company was lowering its 2017 guidance due to uncertainties about the US budget, which would affect many of its customers.

Gong said that the firm is now anticipating that its total 2017 revenue growth will be between 35 percent and 45 percent, down from a previous estimate of 40 percent to 60 percent revenue growth. That translates to anticipated total revenues of $105 million to $115 million, he said.

Hunkapiller added that government agencies such as the US Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Energy, and the Food and Drug Administration are all customers that are faced with budget cuts and hiring freezes. In addition, he said, if the National Institutes of Health also receives a major budget cut, that will impact the ability of customers to make large capital purchases.

PacBio's stock took a hit on Thursday following the lowered guidance and was down around 22 percent on the Nasdaq. Nonetheless, Bryan Brokmeier, an analyst with Cantor Fitzgerald, wrote that although PacBio's projections for the US academic and government market and lowered forecast was "not encouraging," the new forecast is actually in line with what analysts had already forecasted.

Amanda Murphy, analyst with William Blair, also wrote that PacBio's new estimate for 2017 revenues was in line with William Blair's estimate of $112 million. She noted that while the lowered expectations, "which comes shortly after Roche terminated its diagnostics arrangement with PacBio, is frustrating," the company has nonetheless "made meaningful progress with the performance of Sequel since its launch" and estimated that Sequel instrument placements would continue to grow over the next two years. 

PacBio's net loss for the quarter was $23.9 million, or $.26 per share, up from $19.4 million, or $.23 per share, in the prior-year period. It missed the Wall Street estimate of a $.23 loss-per-share.

The company's R&D expenses were $17.0 million in Q1 2017, up from $16.4 million in Q1 2016. Its SG&A expenses were $15.3 million, up from $11.7 million.

PacBio finished the quarter with $56.1 million in cash and investments.