Repligen up on COVID-19 and gene therapy related demand

COVID-19 related demand helped Repligen in Q3 with the emerging gene therapy sector also providing a revenue boost.

The processing technology firm’s revenue reached $94.1 million for the three months ended September 30, up 35% year-on-year. Gross profits also increased, climbing 40% to $54.5 million.

Repligen attributed the gains to increased demand for its technologies from companies working on SARS-CoV-2 vaccines or related therapeutics.

Image: iStock/syahrir maulana

CEO Tony Hunt told analysts “We estimate that COVID programs accounted for approximately 55% of our revenue growth for the third quarter and 35% to 40% of our revenue growth through the first nine months.”

COVID-19 related demand helped Opus range of chromatography columns according to Hunt.

“Many of our CDMOs and BioPharm customers involved in COVID programs are turning to quick switch over pre-packed columns as they gear up for production, creating an increase in demand for both resins and our OPUS columns.

“We observed this demand starting in mid to late Q3 and this is carried over into quarter four,” he said.

Gene therapy sector

“Strong demand” from the gene therapy sector also played a part in Repligen’s revenue gains Hunt said.

“We continue to see strength of gene therapy accounts where non-COVID revenues were up greater than 30% in the quarter and through the first nine months of 2020. We remain on-track to achieve over 30% growth in gene therapy for this year.”

He cited the SoloVPE measurement technology and flat sheet cassettes – used for filtration – as growth areas, adding that Repligen is winning business from both gene therapy developers with in-house capacity and CDMOs.

“I think it’s still very much a split between some of the big players on the gene therapy side doing their own manufacturing or partnering with CDMOs. And then you have CDMOs, like Brammer and Catalent, the prior part of Catalent, all doing a ton of work in the gene therapy space.”

Guidance

Growth of COVID-19 and gene therapy related revenue prompted Repligen to revise its guidance. The firm now expects revenue of $348-$352 million and overall growth to 29%-30% for full year 2020, up from the $332-$340 million it previously forecast.

Hunt said, “Based on continued strong performance in our core markets and increased demand from COVID customers, we now expect to end the year with overall revenues up 29% to 30% and organic growth in the range of 23% to 24% with a strong order load heading into 2021.”

He also cited Repligen and Navigo’s development of an affinity ligand targeting the SARS-CoV-2 virus’ spike protein as a likely revenue driver next year.

“We are now scaling up this ligand in manufacturing and anticipate having an affinity chromatography resin in the market in early 2021 for potential use of the purification of COVID-19 vaccines.”

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