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Genetron Health Q3 Revenues up 36 Percent, Firm Announces AstraZeneca MRD Partnership

NEW YORK – Genetron Health reported Tuesday morning that its third quarter revenues were up 36 percent year over year.

The Beijing-based precision oncology firm reported total revenues of RMB 152.5 million ($23.7 million) for the quarter ended Sept. 30 compared to RMB 112.0 million in the year-ago period.

The company said Q3 revenue from liquid biopsy diagnosis and monitoring testing increased 42 percent to RMB 144.3 million from RMB 101.5 million in Q3 of 2020.

Genetron's LDT services revenue grew 30 percent year over year to RMB 93.0 million from RMB 71.4 million, with approximately 5,900 LDT diagnostic tests sold during Q3 2021.

Revenue from IVD product sales jumped 71 percent to RMB 51.3 million from RMB 30.1 million in the third quarter of 2020, driven mainly by sales of the Genetron S5 instrument and 8-gene Lung Cancer Assay.

The company reported RMB 8.2 million in revenue generated from development services, down about 21 percent from RMB 10.4 million in the same period of 2020. This reflects a decline in sequencing services, as the company has shifted its focus on higher margin biopharmaceutical services, the firm said.

During a call discussing the company's quarterly results, Genetron cofounder and CEO Sizhen Wang said that the company has recently signed an additional seven biopharma partners, increasing its total to 47.

"In China, the trend of CDx demand is becoming stronger, resulting from [the National Medical Product Administration's] increasing focus on genomic testing for innovative, targeted [therapies] and immunotherapies," Wang said, adding that with a "booming Chinese biotech sector," the firm is optimistic about its growth in this business segment.

That said, with continued enforcement of a "zero COVID" strategy in China, the company anticipates a significantly tougher operating environment in the fourth quarter.

However, Wang said that the firm's long-term outlook remains unchanged, as it anticipates data and trial updates from its key programs in coming months, as well as "continued policy tail winds in China that aim to improve healthcare options for local citizens."

During Q3, Genetron Health's net loss was RMB 130.1 million, or RMB .28 per share, compared to RMB 48.0 million, or RMB .11 per share, a year ago.

The company's R&D expenses increased by 62 percent year over year to RMB 62.4 million from RMB 38.6 million. Its SG&A expenses bumped up 69 percent to RMB 157.6 million from RMB 93.0 million the same quarter last year.

Genetron ended the quarter with RMB 815.1 million in cash and cash equivalents and RMB 2.8 million in restricted cash.

The company is revising its full-year 2021 revenue guidance to approximately RMB 530 million compared to an earlier guidance of between RMB 615 million and RMB 625 million.

In a separate announcement, Genetron also said it had entered a new collaboration agreement with AstraZeneca R&D in China for the joint development of next-generation sequencing-based tumor-informed minimal residual disease tests for various solid tumor types, which the pharma firm will use in locally conducted drug studies.

Genetron said the two firms will jointly invest capital to support validation of these personalized MRD assays for cancer monitoring and recurrence assays, and a joint committee will be established to oversee product development.

Upon both companies' further agreement, the scope of the exclusive, multiyear partnership could also be expanded to include IVD registration and commercialization.

According to Wang, the partnership "demonstrates the value of the initial solid tumor MRD data that we have generated so far from Genetron’s Mutation Capsule platform."

During the firm's earnings call, he said Genetron is optimistic about the solid tumor MRD market in China, and in particular, its competitive position under this new collaboration.

"Currently, there are only a handful of companies in China that have the capability to develop a high performing MRD assay, and AstraZeneca's leading position in oncology will significantly enhance our product development," Wang said. In addition, the use of the planned codeveloped assay in the pharma firm's China trials will not only represent revenue for Genetron but will also help support product optimization, he added.