Report: Genoptix is on the Auction Block

Xconomy San Diego — 

One of San Diego’s profitable biotech success stories, Genoptix, is reportedly looking to be acquired.

Carlsbad, CA-based Genoptix (NASDAQ: GXDX) has hired an investment bank, Barclays, to seek out buyers of the company, according to a report today by Bloomberg News, which cited two people familiar with the situation. Takeover speculation helped drive the stock up about 17 percent, to $21 a share at 12:19 pm Eastern today.

Genoptix runs a central lab that performs a battery of molecular tests on samples of patients with various cancers of the blood. It pieces together the information into a comprehensive diagnostic report that goes back to the doctor. Many of these tests can be done by other companies, but none of them puts them all together in a comprehensive report like the one provided by Genoptix, CEO Tina Nova said in an Xconomy profile in April 2009.

Tina Nova

Tina Nova

The idea has gained enough traction in the hematology/oncology fields that Genoptix generated about $50 million in revenue, and reported a $4.4 million profit, in the three month period that ended September 30. The company expects to generate $192 million to $195 million in revenue this year. That performance basically represents a plateau for Genoptix. If Genoptix hits the high end of that revenue forecast, it will see a 6 percent increase in annual sales. The previous year, it saw 59 percent growth in annual sales, and the year before that, sales climbed 96 percent.

Bloomberg quoted one analyst, Amanda Murphy of William Blair & Co. in Chicago, who said Genoptix’s sales have been hurt by unemployment, which has reduced the number of patients seeking treatment from doctors who use the company’s tests. Madison, NJ-based Quest Diagnostics and Sydney, Australia-based Sonic Healthcare are a couple potential acquirers, Murphy told the business news service.