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Pacific Biosciences' Q1 Net Loss Climbs as It Launches Sequencing Platform

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Pacific Biosciences reported after the close of the market Wednesday that its first-quarter net loss increased 15 percent year over year as the firm prepared for the commercial launch of its PacBio RS system, which it announced concurrently with its financials.

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based real-time, single-molecule sequencing technology firm reported grant revenue of $270,000 for the three-month period ended March 31, compared to grant revenue of $545,000 for the first quarter of 2010.

Its net loss was $34.8 million, or $.66 per share, compared to a net loss of $30.3 million, or $48.97 per share, for the first quarter of 2010. PacBio went public in October 2010, raising $200 million. On a pro-forma basis, PacBio's net loss for the first quarter of 2010 would have been $.99.

The firm's R&D spending declined 5 percent to $24.1 million from $25.3 million, and its SG&A spending more than doubled to $11.1 million from $5.5 million.

PacBio shipped its first two commercial RS instruments today to the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC), operated by the Battelle National Biodefense Institute for the US Department of Homeland Security, and to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. CSHL is the first customer to have two of the systems; the lab was an early-access customer as well. CSHL also is one of five Howard Hughes Medical Institute sites to order the new system.

Hugh Martin, chairman and CEO of Pacific Biosciences, said during a conference call following the release of the financials that the firm would begin upgrading beta sites with final-release software later this quarter. He said that upgrade process for all the sites would take a few months.

Martin said that PacBio has an order backlog of 44 systems, which the company plans to ship over the next few quarters. Each of those 44 units costs roughly $700,000, he noted.

"We plan to ship and install systems in our backlog in a very controlled manner," he said. "Our goal is to ensure that each customer is brought up successfully. Therefore, we are staging system shipments to allow our installation and support resources to spend adequate time with each customer before moving on to the next one."

PacBio finished the quarter with $248.5 million in cash and investments.

The firm expects full-year 2011 revenues to be around $35 million.