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BioMérieux Q4 Revenues Dip 2 Percent as MDx and Immunoassay Declines Offset by Gains in Microbiology

NEW YORK – BioMérieux reported Thursday that its fourth quarter revenues declined 2 percent year over year on lower sales of products for clinical applications.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, BioMérieux had revenues of €1.01 billion ($1.10 billion), down from €1.03 billion in the prior-year period, but sales were up 3 percent year over year at constant exchange rates and scope of consolidation.

Clinical applications revenues fell 4 percent to €854.5 million from €885.4 million in Q4 2022.

Within that segment, molecular biology revenues decreased 8 percent to €424.2 million from €459.0 million in the prior-year period. Specifically, BioFire non-respiratory testing panel sales increased 20 percent in Q4 while respiratory panel sales dropped 18 percent compared to a strong respiratory season in the fourth quarter of 2022. BioMérieux said the installed base of FilmArray instruments grew by 600 in the quarter, while the BioFire SpotFire installed base increased by 400 instruments.

Also, within clinical applications, immunoassays sales were €91.6 million, falling 12 percent from €104.3 million in Q4 2022, which the firm attributed to a decline in sales of procalcitonin assays and Hybiome products.

Microbiology sales, meanwhile, increased 8 percent to €335.8 million from €309.9 million in Q4 2022, which BioMérieux said was driven by double-digit growth in both reagents and instrument sales.

Sales in other lines, which include BioFire Defense and R&D-related revenue arising from clinical applications, plummeted 76 percent to €3.0 million from €12.2 million. 

Industrial applications revenues in Q4 were up 6 percent to €151.7 million from €143.8 million in Q4 2022, due to growth that was "well balanced" between the food and pharma segments and driven by both reagents and equipment sales, the firm said.

In the quarter, BioMérieux obtained the CE mark for the Vidas TBI assay, a test for mild traumatic brain injury. It also made a strategic investment of £69 million ($88.4 million) in Oxford Nanopore Technologies through the subscription of ordinary shares, equating to 3.5 percent of Oxford Nanopore's voting rights as of Oct. 13, 2023. In addition, on Oct. 19, 2023, BioMérieux completed the acquisition of a further 3.4 percent of Oxford Nanopore's shares on the secondary market for a total consideration of £68 million.

For full-year 2023, BioMérieux reported total revenues rose approximately 2 percent to €3.67 billion from €3.59 billion in 2022, or approximately 7 percent on an organic basis. Sales exceeded expectations, BioMérieux said, due to the performance of microbiology and BioFire non-respiratory panels, as well as a lower than anticipated sales decline for BioFire respiratory panels.

"BioMérieux delivered a very solid operating performance in a post-COVID environment with 11 percent growth in sales, excluding respiratory panels, and a contributive operating income in the high end of expectations before foreign exchange headwinds," BioMérieux CEO Pierre Boulud said in a statement.

The firm's product portfolio was also "significantly enhanced" in 2023, Boulud said, with the launches of the BioFire SpotFire, Vidas Kube, and Vitek Reveal.

BioMérieux expects to continue to deliver dynamic sales growth in 2024, Boulud said, due to the growth engines of its microbiology solutions, BioFire non-respiratory panels, BioFire SpotFire, and industrial applications business.

Revenues from clinical applications totaled €3.10 billion in 2023, up 2 percent from €3.04 billion in 2022.

Within clinical applications, molecular biology revenues were flat at €1.42 billion, while immunoassay revenues fell 8 percent to €373.0 million from €404.1 million in 2022.

Microbiology revenues increased 9 percent to €1.27 billion from €1.16 billion in 2022. BioMérieux said that the total BioFire installed base reached 25,400 units compared to approximately 23,500 units reported at the end of 2023.

Revenues from industrial applications in 2023 were €575.4 million, up 5 percent from €549.0 million in the prior year.

For full-year 2023, the company reported €1.02 billion in SG&A expenses, which the firm said was a 10 percent increase over 2022 and attributed to the normalization of sales and marketing activities following the end of the COVID pandemic, as well as the impact of an increase in salaries and a one-off impact of an employee share ownership plan that cost the firm €10 million. The firm's R&D spending was €460 million, which BioMérieux said was a 3 percent increase over its R&D spend of €446.6 million in 2022, reflecting increased salaries as well as investment in microbiology.

Net income in 2023 was €357.6 million, or €3.01 per share, compared to net income of €452.4 million, or €3.82 per share, in 2022.

Following the close of the quarter, BioMérieux acquired clinical decision support software maker Lumed, expanded its equity share in Suzhou, China-based Hybiome, a maker of automated immunoassays. BioMérieux also recently appointed Charles Cooper as executive VP and chief medical officer and Céline Roger-Dalbert as executive VP of R&D.

The firm also announced that last week it acquired a minority stake in Oslo, Norway-based immunoassay system developer SpinChip Diagnostics. In a press release on Thursday, SpinChip said that the investment from BioMérieux totaled NOK 115 million ($10.9 million), and that BioMérieux will hold between 17 percent to 20 percent of the share capital of SpinChip, making it the second-largest shareholder in the company.

SpinChip said it plans to launch and commercialize its first product by the end of 2025, with the first test available detecting high-sensitivity cardiac troponin I to diagnose acute heart attacks. The BioMérieux investment will be used to cover clinical costs relating to the troponin test validation and CE marking as well as the continued development of other cardiac and sepsis tests.

SpinChip also said it aims to scale up production capacity for its cartridges and analyzers, and to develop a prototype high-sensitivity multiplex cartridge that will deliver three simultaneous test results. The company's point-of-care testing system is being developed to perform immunoassays as well as clinical chemistry, hematology, coagulation, and molecular diagnostics, according to its website.

For 2023, BioMérieux is targeting organic sales growth between 6 percent and 8 percent. The firm expects mid-teens growth in BioFire panel sales for the year and expects sales of SpotFire to reach approximately €80 million. It also anticipates 8 percent growth in microbiology sales while immunoassay sales are expected to remain flat. BioMérieux expects respiratory panel sales to "slightly slow down," assuming a moderate influenza season in the final quarter of 2024.