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Biocept Q4 Revenues Spike as COVID-19 Testing Continues to Soar, Core Cancer Tests Lag

NEW YORK – Biocept said after the close of the market on Monday that its fourth quarter revenues increased more than tenfold year over year, driven by the precision oncology firm's current provision of COVID-19 testing during the ongoing pandemic.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, 2020, the San Diego-based liquid biopsy test provider reported $18.5 million in total revenues compared to $1.8 million in the year-ago period.

The firm's fourth quarter revenues included $18.3 million in commercial test revenue, of which $17.6 million was attributable to COVID-19 PCR tests and the remainder to cancer testing — about half of what the company made from its cancer tests in Q4 2019.

Another $32,000 came from development services testing, and $160,000 from sales of Biocept's distributed products, which include its Target Selector RUO kits and CEE-Sure blood collection tubes, as well as payments from Aegea Biotechnologies for services associated with the development of a COVID-19 assay.

The company accessioned 145,129 samples during the quarter of which 144,932 were billable.

Biocept CEO Michael Nall said on a call discussing the company's financial results that the firm has received more than 300,000 samples for COVID-19 testing since it started offering the test in June, with payments averaging between $100 and $120 per sample.

"I'm proud of our team's ability to accommodate this unprecedented growth in lab testing volume, as we now are receiving several thousand samples on some days," Nall said.

With vaccination rolling out, demand for coronavirus testing is expected to wane, but Nall said that with its customer base of skilled nursing facilities, colleges, and other organizations that order repeat testing, Biocept's current expectation is for "meaningful volume and revenues throughout 2021."

Despite significant reduction in its cancer testing as the pandemic has progressed, as well as what continues to be a very low oncology sample volume compared to competitors in the liquid biopsy market, Nall also said Biocept believes it can still advance its oncology business for a "strong post-pandemic future."

"The focus of our oncology business going forward is clearly on our neuro-oncology strategy and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) assay [as] Initial acceptance by neuro-oncology early adopters has been highly encouraging as physicians from nearly two dozen leading academic institutions have ordered our assay with many becoming repeat users," he added in a statement.

According to Nall, Biocept has engaged a group of neuro-oncology thought-leaders to advise on a roadmap for establishing its technology as a new standard of care. The firm is planning to seek FDA breakthrough device designation for its circulating tumor cell-based technology  and will begin a registry trial called Four C this year to provide clinical validation of the platform in predicting clinical outcomes for patients with suspected brain and central nervous system metastases.

 Biocept's Q4 R&D spending was flat year over year at $1.2 million, while its SG&A expenses rose 56 percent to $5.3 million from $3.4 million.

The firm reported a net income for the quarter of $1.9 million, or $.14 per share, compared to a net loss $5.7 million, or $1.97 per share, in Q4 2019. It used approximately 13.6 million weighted shares outstanding to calculate per-share loss compared to about 2.9 million shares in Q4 2019, a result of the company's 1-for-10 reverse stock split in September 2020.

For the full year ended Dec. 31, 2020, Biocept's revenues rose fivefold to $27.5 million from $5.5 million in 2019. This included $26.9 million in commercial test revenues, of which $23.3 million was from COVID-19 tests; $177,000 in development services test revenues; and $421,000 in revenues for distributed products.

The firm's yearly R&D expenses rose 11 percent to $5.2 million from $4.7 million, while its SG&A expenses increased 27 percent to $16.4 million from 12.9 million in 2019.

Biocept's full-year net loss was $17.8 million, or $1.50 per share, compared to $25.3 million, or $12.23 per share, in 2019. The firm's 2020 per-share loss was calculated using approximately 11.8 million weighted shares outstanding compared to about 2.1 million shares in 2019.

Biocept finished the year with $14.4 million in cash.

In Tuesday morning trading on Nasdaq, the firm's stock was up bout 9 percent at $5.62.