Sales in its proteins business grew over 40% year-on-year as Repligen experienced higher than expected demand for Protein A ligands from customers MilliporeSigma and GE Healthcare.
Bioprocessing vendor and protein supplier Repligen Corporation reported another record quarter with sales of $71 million (€63 million), up 48% year-on-year.
The firm has spent the past few years diversifying its portfolio – and areas of investment in filtration and chromatography, for example, helped drive the quarter – but strong results came from its legacy proteins business. The segment includes its Protein A chromatography ligand and cell culture capture media.
Repligen’s OEM (original equipment manufacturer) proteins business “had an exceptional quarter, up over 40% organically,” CEO Tony Hunt told stakeholders on a conference call. “Demand for our Protein A ligands was especially strong, which was the main contributor to the over performance in proteins in the quarter.”
Repligen had expected growth factor and ligand demand to be very strong in the first half of 2019, but the skew in the second quarter was a happy surprise.
“In Q1, we saw a very strong growth factor business with reasonable single-digit growth in the ligands piece. And then when we got to Q2, it really was all about ligand demand right across the board with both GE [Healthcare] and Milllipore[Sigma] having very strong demand in the quarter,” he said.
“We were expecting that the first half of the year was going to be stronger based on forecast. It definitely came in a lot stronger than we were forecasting.”
However, sales in the second half 2019 compared to the same period last year are expected to be flat as both customers secured “a significant amount of their annual demand” in the first two quarters of this year. But overall, growth for the year in its proteins business will top 10%, Hunt added.
Looking ahead to next year, Hunt noted that the business could be hit by GE moving much of its ligand supply inhouse following the launch of its own Protein A resin MabSelect PrismA in 2017.
“GE has the option to move up to 50% of their proteins demand, ligand demand in-house. So we expect, as we go through 2020, that some of that volume is definitely going to move across.”
While it is too early to say how much this move will affect Repligen, Hunt did say GE’s move inhouse is unlikely to reflect future trends among its other customers.
“our real future in proteins is really around the strategy we put in place last year with Navigo and Purolite and developing our own portfolio of affinity ligands, and we expect that those will begin to ramp up.”