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new R&D and disclosure controls, elected two new independent directors to the company’s board, and recently named two new experts to its scientific advisory board.
—Hixson says Sequenom remains committed to developing a non-invasive test for Down syndrome, which will be based on the company’s proprietary technology for detecting and analyzing fetal DNA circulating in the mother’s blood. The company says its R&D efforts are focused on using its existing and next-generation MassArray gene-sequencing equipment. Collecting clinical blood samples and retaining a third party to validate what Sequenom calls its “T21 test” (Trisomy 21) represents the single largest investment the company will make in 2010. In response to an analyst’s question, Hixson said Sequenom’s R&D is now focused on DNA analysis, and its RNA-based analysis method “is on a back burner at this time.”
—Hixson and Sequenom’s interim chief financial officer also emphasized the company has introduced three laboratory tests over the past six months. They include tests that analyze fetal DNA in the mother’s blood for Cystic Fibrosis, to determine if the fetus blood type is Rhesus D negative, and to determine fetal sex. But Sequenom’s interim CFO, Paul Maier, noted that diagnostic revenue generated by the company has been at best incremental.
Sequenom reported a net loss of $18.4 million, or 30 cents a share, on revenue of $10.8 million in the fourth quarter that ended Dec. 31. That compares with a net loss of $15.4 million, or 25 cents a share, on $12.2 million in revenue in the same quarter of 2008. The company posted a net loss of $71 million, or $1.16 per share, on revenue of $37.9 million in 2009.
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