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OncoCyte Shrinks Net Loss in Q4

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – OncoCyte said after the close of the market Monday that its net loss in Q4 2016 was down about 9 percent compared to Q4 2015.

The liquid biopsy firm's net loss for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2016 was $3.1 million, or $0.11 per share, compared to a loss of $3.5 million, or $0.14 per share during the prior year's quarter. The company did not report any revenues in the quarter.

Research and development spending was unchanged from the year-ago quarter at about $1.4 million. General and administrative costs decreased to $1.7 million from $2.1 million in the same period of 2015, attributable mainly to lower stock‑based compensation expenses, the company said.

For the full year, Oncocyte's net loss was $11.2 million, or $0.42 per share, compared to a net loss of $8.7 million, or $0.42 per share, for 2015.

In 2016 the company's R&D expenses increased to $5.7 million from $4.5 million the prior year. This was largely due to increased staffing and costs of clinical trials as part of the development of Oncocyte's lung cancer diagnostic, company officials said.

OncoCyte spun off from BioTime in 2016, acquiring exclusive commercial rights from the Wistar Institute to develop a diagnostic test for the early detection of lung cancer. This non-invasive test measures a panel of mRNA markers to predict which patients with positive lung imaging results have benign versus malignant nodules.

"We achieved several significant milestones during 2016 as we demonstrated the robustness of our product development pipeline through the presentation of positive test data for the lung, breast, and bladder cancer diagnostics we are developing. The processing of blood samples from our 300-patient study for our lung cancer diagnostic has been completed, and we are waiting to receive the analysis, which we expect will occur during March," OncoCyte President and CEO William Annett said in a statement.

"Should our analysis support the clinical effectiveness of our lung cancer test, we will swiftly take the next steps necessary to complete the development process and launch the test during the second half of 2017," he added.

Oncocyte's full-year G&A rose to $5.5 million from to $4.2, also due to increased staffing, including both management and consulting personnel, the company said.

The firm ended 2016 with $10.2 million in cash and cash equivalents as well as available-for-sale securities valued at $2.2 million.

After the end of the year OncoCyte also received additional proceeds of $2 million through an early exercise of warrants. As a result, the company said it had 29,361,616 shares of common stock outstanding on Feb. 17, 2017.

In addition to reporting it's Q4 2016 and full-year earnings, Oncocyte also said on Monday that it has entered into a secured loan agreement with Silicon Valley Bank providing access to $2.0 million of additional working capital.