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Accelerate Diagnostics Posts Preliminary Q1 Sales Increase of 28 Percent, Inks Coronavirus Test Deal

NEW YORK – Accelerate Diagnostics reported after the close of the market Wednesday that it expects to report a 28 percent revenue increase for the first quarter of 2020.

The Tucson, Arizona-based diagnostics firm said its net sales for the quarter will be $2.3 million compared to $1.8 million for the first quarter of 2019. That result is in line with analysts' average estimate of $2.3 million.

Accelerate said that during the quarter it added 13 new contracted instruments globally and 21 new US contracted instruments. It added that there were 197 Pheno instruments in use as of the end of the first quarter with another 239 US-contracted Pheno instruments not yet live.

The firm's Pheno system identifies infectious disease pathogens and determines phenotypic resistance characteristics. Accelerate switched to a reagent rental model for the system in mid-2018 in order to place systems free of cost and generate revenue from the sale of its tests.

Accelerate finished the quarter with $92 million in cash, cash equivalents, and investments.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the firm said it has suspended its 2020 financial guidance provided earlier this year for revenues between $16 million and $18 million.

"During the first quarter, utilization within our existing base of live Pheno instruments continued to prove both durable and predictable, and test kit sales grew meaningfully year-over-year," Accelerate CEO Jack Phillips said in a statement. "However, the evolving COVID-19 pandemic has limited our access to hospital customers, which has significantly slowed our momentum in new instrument placements and in bringing existing contracted instruments live."

He noted that the firm inked a deal, also announced Wednesday, to distribute BioCheck's MS-FAST, a fully automated chemiluminescence immunoassay analyzer, and its serology-based SARS-CoV-2 tests for detecting IgG and IgM antibodies in the US and Europe, Middle East, and Africa region. According to the companies, the instrument and tests can process blood, serum, or plasma samples in 30 minutes to detect the antibodies. They further noted that San Francisco-based BioCheck has applied to receive the US Food and Drug Administration's Emergency Use Authorization for the SARS-Cov-2 tests. 

Accelerate plans to release its full first quarter financial results on May 7.

In Thursday morning trade on the Nasdaq, shares of Accelerate were up 12 percent at $9.40.