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Exagen Q4 2020 Revenues Up 24 Percent, Full Year Revenues Grow 4 Percent

NEW YORK — Exagen reported after the close of the market on Tuesday a 24 percent year-over-year increase in fourth quarter revenues as a result of record orders of its flagship Avise tests.

For the three month period ended Dec. 31, 2020, Exagen's revenues rose to $12.7 million from $10.2 million in the same period a year earlier. It beat the consensus Wall Street estimate of $10.8 million in revenues for the recently completed quarter.

The company delivered 28,601 of its Avise CTD tests, including its Avise Lupus test, in the fourth quarter, and 100,450 tests for the entire year. In the fourth quarter, revenues from Avise tests were $8.6 million while revenues from other tests were $2.4 million, Exagen CFO Kamal Adawi said on a conference call to discuss the results. Revenues from the firm's co-promotion agreement for Simponi (golimumab) with Janssen Biotech were $1.7 million.

Exagen posted a fourth quarter net loss of $3.5 million, or $.27 per share, versus a net loss of $3.41 million, or $.27 per share, in the year-ago quarter. The analysts' average estimate was for a loss per share of $.40.

The San Diego-based company's R&D spending doubled to $1.2 million in Q4 2020 from $566,000 a year ago, while its SG&A costs grew 25 percent to $9.9 million from $7.9 million a year ago. The firm is currently developing a rule-in, rule-out test for fibromyalgia, even though it is not an autoimmune disease, because it is often confused with connective tissue diseases and diagnosed by rheumatologists, CEO Ron Rocca said on the call. Exagen is working with the Ohio State Innovation Foundation to develop analytical validation for the test, he added.

During Q4 2020, Exagen entered into a coverage agreement with Highmark, while in the first quarter of 2021 it became in-network with both Highmark and Tricare West, it said in a statement.

"Our core testing business delivered record revenue in the fourth quarter, driven largely by record quarterly volumes for our flagship Avise CTD test, achieving back-to-back annual volume of over 100,000 orders," Ron Rocca, president and CEO of Exagen, said in a statement. "It is also gratifying to note that we attained a record number of healthcare adopters in the quarter, along with another period of 99 percent retention rates, which we believe are indicative of the value healthcare providers place on our testing products."

Although the company hasn't provided COVID-19 testing, Rocca said the pandemic has still had an impact on the business because it forced doctors to be more efficient in how they treat patients. Where previously many physicians did serial testing to figure out what autoimmune disease a patient had, using the Avise monitoring test allows them to look at 11 generic markers and determine disease more easily.

Exagen is also working with Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston to use its Avise test to measure whether patients with COVID-19 will develop rheumatic autoimmune diseases faster than those without COVID-19, Rocca said.

Exagen's full-year 2020 revenues increased 4 percent year over year to $42 million from $40.4 million. It beat the consensus Wall Street estimate of $39.8 million. Avise testing revenues were $29.2 million for the year while revenues for other tests were $7.7 million.

The San Diego, California-based company reported a full-year 2020 net loss of $16.7 million, or $1.32 per share, compared with a net loss of $12 million, or $8.46 per share, the year before. It beat the analysts' average estimate of a loss of $1.45 per share.

Its R&D expenses for 2020 were up 62 percent year over year to $3.6 million from $2.2 million, and its SG&A costs rose nearly 33 percent to $37.0 million from $28.7 million.

At the end of 2020, Exagen had cash and cash equivalents totaling $57.4 million.

Exagen said it expects revenue for full-year 2021 to be in the range of $47 million to $49 million. Adawi said the firm is estimating testing revenue will be between $46 million and $48 million.