San Diego’s Sequenom Inc. has inked an in-network agreement with Anthem Blue Cross, the company announced Wednesday. The deal, along with several cost-cutting measures, may help the diagnostic company recover from recent financial setbacks.
The agreement provides in-network coverage for Anthem's California customers for Sequenom's noninvasive prenatal tests in both high- and average-risk pregnancies, effective March 1. This is big news for Sequenom’s diagnostic services as it brings the number of covered patients under agreement to several hundred million (the company just landed a deal with United Healthcare in September 2015).
The news was announced in conjunction with the company’s latest earnings report. As expected, Sequenom posted a loss for the fourth quarter and the full 2015 year.
The company reported a net loss of $12.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared with a net income of $18.3 million in the same period the prior year. The full-year net loss was $16.3 million, compared with a net income of $1 million last year.
The company announced cash-saving measures last year, including cutting 110 of its staff and divesting its North Carolina operations. Sequenom announced that it would save over $20 million in annual costs in late 2016 by taking these measures.
Sequenom is also seeking strategic partnerships to commercialize its liquid biopsy test for cancer, with intentions to reduce R&D spending in the oncology area.
The company made several transitions in 2015, moving out of oncology and focusing in on noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT). The company completed its first full year under a new patent pool agreement, which allows Sequenom to benefit financially when others use the intellectual property the company developed for NIPT. In 2015, the company also launched three new tests.
"We believe that these accomplishments, together with our early 2016 decisions to achieve operating cost reductions and explore partnerships for our oncology programs, will allow Sequenom to establish its tests in new markets and position the company to achieve a neutral operating cash flow run rate by the end of 2017, in line with prior guidance," said Sequenom President and CEO Dirk van den Boom in a statement.