NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Guardant Health reported after the close of the market on Thursday that its first quarter 2019 revenues were up 120 percent year over year.
The liquid biopsy firm reported total revenues of $36.7 million compared to $16.7 million in Q1 2018 and above the $31.7 million Wall Street analysts, on average, had predicted.
Its precision oncology testing revenue increased 103 percent to $28.8 million from $14.2 million in the prior year's quarter, driven by increased demand and increases in revenue per test, Guardant said. Development services revenue was $7.8 million compared to $2.5 million in Q1 2018, driven by ramp up of activities to support its companion diagnostic program with AstraZeneca.
The company reported 9,521 tests to clinical customers and 3,762 tests to biopharmaceutical customers in Q1, an increase of 31 percent and 61 percent, respectively, over the same quarter last year. Guardant said the increase in biopharma tests was due to the introduction of GuardantOMNI and customers using Guardant360 for prospective and retrospective testing.
"During the first quarter of 2019, we made important headway on several key initiatives," Guardant CEO Helmy Eltoukhy said in a statement. "We are encouraged by the momentum we are seeing with continued adoption of Guardant360 and GuardantOMNI in the advanced cancer setting and the progress we are making with our LUNAR program in proving out the feasibility of our liquid biopsy platform for early cancer management and early detection."
Among recent milestones, the company highlighted the acquisition of Bellwether Bio, a privately held company focusing on the epigenomic content of cell-free DNA.
During a call discussing the Q1 results, Eltoukhy said that the firm was gaining momentum in securing positive coverage decisions for its tests. He noted a draft local coverage determination proposed by Palmetto GBA that would "potentially expand Medicare coverage of the Guardant360 assay to over a dozen advanced solid tumor cancer types." He added that at the beginning of April, Guardant360 was added as a covered benefit for the members of health plans associated with eviCore healthcare. "This test will be considered medically necessary to assist in selecting therapy for patients with advanced lung cancer," he said.
Guardant also highlighted the publication of the NILE study results in Clinical Cancer Research.
During the call, Guardant CFO Derek Bertocci said that the firm recognized first quarter revenue in accordance with a new revenue recognition standard, ASC 606, which the company adopted effective Jan. 1, 2019. Had revenue been recognized as it had in the year ago period, total revenue for the first quarter of 2019 would have been $37.6 million, or $1 million more. The firm also incurred a charge of $4.7 million for an increase in the fair value of the redeemable noncontrolling interest of its joint venture with SoftBank.
Guardant's net loss for the quarter increased to $26.1 million, or $.30 per share, from $13.8 million, or $1.16 per share, in Q1 2018, beating the analyst estimate of a $.37 loss per share. Guardant filed for an IPO in September 2018 and used a figure of 85,935 shares to calculate per-share loss in Q1 2019 compared to 11,920 shares in Q1 2018.
The company nearly doubled its R&D expenses to $16.3 million from $8.3 million in Q1 2018, attributable to work supporting submissions to the US Food and Drug Administration. Its SG&A expenses rose 71 percent to $30.5 million from $17.8 million in the prior-year period, attributable to incremental costs associated with being a public company, the expansion of its US clinical sales force and teams focused on markets outside the US, as well as promotion.
As of March 31, 2019, Guardant had $153.8 million in cash and cash equivalents and $313.1 million in short-term marketable securities.
The firm raised guidance for full-year 2019 revenue to be in the range of $145 million to $150 million, up from $130 million to $135 million.
In Friday morning trade on the Nasdaq, Guardant's stock was up 23 percent at $79.