Wisconsin publicly traded biomedical companies report gains this quarter

Wisconsin publicly traded biomedical companies report gains this quarter

Wisconsin’s biotechnology industry has continued its growth, with three publicly traded biotech and health-care companies showing an improvement in revenues and net income over the last quarter. Due to new products and investments, the companies have been able to secure a foothold on the industry.

Bone Care: $1.2 million, boosted by doubled Hectorol sales

Middleton-based pharmaceutical firm Bone Care International reported that for the third quarter in a row they have experienced a growth in profit, seeing a net income of $1.2 million as opposed to a loss of $2.1 million in the same quarter last year. Bone Care is ending the quarter with a total of $113.2 million in investments and cash.
The largest amount of sales for Bone Care came from their flagship product Hectorol, a Vitamin D based treatment for severe chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease. In April the FDA approved the drug, which is named after discoverer Hector DeLuca, a professor whose work is licensed through the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.
Hectorol sales for the quarter were at an all-time high of $17.4 million for the previous quarter, compared to $8.1 million in the corresponding quarter last year. By converting the drug to capsule form they have been able to broaden their offerings to people not on dialysis, and have been able to market it in that area through a partnership with Cardinal Health Inc. Company analysts have increased their expectation’s for 2005’s product sales, predicting a range between $75 and $79 million.

Third Wave: $24,000, in a change of direction

Third Wave Technologies, a Madison-based developer of DNA molecular analysis products, reported net income of $24,000 on total revenues of $10.5 million for the third quarter. This is an increase over the same time in 2003, where revenue was $9.4 million and the company was facing a net loss of $1.4 million. Gross margins have improved by 65 percent from last year, and the cash balance at the end of the quarter has gone up to $67.1 million, up $9.3 million from 2003.
The company reported several changes in management. David Nuti, the chief financial officer, will be leaving his position on October 29 to be replaced by James Herrmann, now vice president of finance. The vice president of legal affairs, Kevin Conroy, will replace John Comerford and become Third Wave’s general counsel, and Slava Elagin will become vice president of research and development.
The company signed several agreements over the third quarter to contribute to the rise in profits, experiencing early success with the Hepatitis C virus genotyping reagent. Since its release in summer of 2004, 11 major laboratories and medical centers have adopted the reagent, including Esoterix, TriCore Reference Laboratories, and UCLA Medical Center.
A two-year supply contract has been signed with North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System to provide analyte-specific reagents for testing cystic fibrosis mutations. To further combat cystic fibrosis, Third Wave will be combining their Invader chemistry technology with the healthcare firm 3M to create a microfluidic platform, scheduled for completion in 2005.

Merge eFilm: $2.2 million, increased by expanding contracts

The Milwaukee-based Merge eFilm, a health-care services and software provider, announced an improvement of 38 percent in net income, going from $1.6 million in third-quarter 2003 to $2.2 million. Net sales for the quarter are at $9.3 million, an increase of 22 percent from last year’s third quarter. Deferred revenue has also increased, going up 46 percent to reach a total of $5.4 million.
Merge credited the success in profits to the success of its business workflow systems RIS and PACS, which have enjoyed success in imaging centers and specialty clinics. Over the quarter, Merge has signed 19 new contracts for its Fusion line of systems, expanding the company’s reach to 366 healthcare facilities. Merge has also worked on deepening relationships to existing customers, branching out training and sales processes in SourceOne Healthcare Technologies and InSight Health.
Merge announced on Tuesday a contract with Radiologix, a provider of diagnostic imaging services based in Dallas, Texas. Radiologix will be purchasing the FUSION RIS/PACS system and using it to put its Northeast operations together, collecting the clinical and business workflows onto one system.