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Centogene N.V. (CNTG) Q4 2020 Earnings Call Transcript

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CNTG earnings call for the period ending March 31, 2021.

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Centogene N.V. (CNTG -11.93%)
Q4 2020 Earnings Call
Apr 15, 2021, 8:00 a.m. ET


  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:


Good day, and thank you for standing by. Welcome to the CENTOGENE first-year 2020 earning results conference call. [Operator instructions] After the speaker's presentation, there would be a question-and-answer session. [Operator instructions] Please be advised that today's conference is being recorded.

[Operator instructions] I would now like to hand the conference over to your speaker today, Lennart Streibel. Please go ahead.

Lennart Streibel -- Investor Relations

Thanks, Sarah. Hello and welcome. Thank you for joining us to discuss our Q4 and full-year 2020 results which were issued earlier today. You can view this presentation and the related press release on CENTOGENE's website.

For those unable to view the webcast, you can find the relevant slides on Before we begin, please refer to the Slide 2 of our presentation, which provides information about statements to be made today that may be considered forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. Securities laws, including those regarding our strategic plans, development programs, and future financial re -- financial results. Statements made during this call that are not historical statements may be forward-looking statements, and as such may be subject to risks and uncertainties which, if they materialize, could materially affect our actual results.

The forward-looking statements in this presentation speak only as of today, April 15, 2021, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise any of these statements to reflect future events or developments except as required by the law. Additional information regarding this statement appears on our SEC filings. It is now my pleasure to introduce you to today's speakers, our chief executive officer, Andrin Oswald; and Richard Stoffelen, our chief financial officer. Following our presentation, we will open up the call to Q&A.

We kindly ask you to only ask three questions. I will now hand the presentation over to Andrin. Please go to Slide 4. Andrin.

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Lennart. Hello. Good afternoon. Good morning, everyone.

Today, I will begin by walking you through our operational performance during 2020. I will update you on the progress of our core businesses, meaning the pharma and diagnostics segments, and provide you with further insights into our company and its key assets. Richard will then take you through the financials, including what we have been able to achieve in our commercial COVID-19 testing segment. We will then provide our financial guidance for 2021 and the business outlook.

Afterwards, we will open up for Q&A. Let's please turn to Slide 5. Let me first highlight the key messages for today. We had a very strong performance from a revenue perspective, having more than doubled in 2020 compared to 2019.

The company surpassed 200 million euros in revenues for the first time in its history for a record year overall. Additionally, we have achieved directed adjusted EBITDA. Both revenues and adjusted EBITDA were driven by the COVID-19 testing segment in the second half of the year. I believe this is a truly impressive achievement and a credit to the strong performance of a dedicated exploring team of CENTOGENE, especially during a very challenging year.

When looking at the core business, I want to underline that this is our firm focus for 2021 and beyond. Even so, the core segments' overall financials for 2020 reflect the headwinds from the pandemic, I'm pleased to say that our diagnostic segment continued recovering since the lows in the second quarter, and sample in order intake values in Q1 2021 is approximately on par with Q1 2020 and growing. In pharma, we signed 16 new collaborations in 2020 and the further 16 extensions of existing collaborations. As such, I am confident that the overall core business is back on track for growth.

Looking at 2021, the positive financial contribution from our COVID-19 testing segment leaves us in a stronger financial position. These contributions have allowed us to make continued investments into our rare disease core business at CENTOGENE as CENTOGENE embarks on its next phase of growth. On that topic, I'm pleased to invite you all to our Virtual Investor event planned for June 22 where I will, together with the CENTOGENE executive team, provide further insights and discuss the company's strategy and future direction. Let us now discuss the company's 2020 performance.

Please turn to Slide 6. In 2020, our revenues more than doubled compared to 2019, reaching 128.4 million euros. This increase was driven by COVID-19 testing, which accounted for 89.3 million euros for the full year and 59.8 million euros in the fourth quarter. We experienced headwinds, for sure, from the COVID-19 pandemic that impacted our core business segments, particularly in the second and third quarter of 2020.

The core segments gradually recovered toward the end of the year but did not match our prior year's performance overall. That meant that the full-year revenues within the pharma segment decreased by 21% and within diagnostics by 19%. However, COVID-19 testing revenues have enabled us to more than make up for the headwinds in the core business. As we look ahead into 2021, I'm confident that we will return to solid core business growth.

Now, please turn to Slide 7 to have a closer look at diagnostics. Now firstly, I'd like to share an update on the momentum in our diagnostic segment. The graph on this slide depicts the sample order intake value for each quarter, using Q1 of 2020 as a benchmark for pre-pandemic levels. You can clearly see the levels falling dramatically to approximately 50% of normal levels in the second quarter of 2020, showing the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

Since then, we have steadily seen levels of recovery each quarter to approximately 80% of pre-pandemic levels in Q4 2020 overall. And as I already mentioned, I'm pleased to say that we have seen the trend to continue in Q1 2021 with sample order intake values approximately on par with Q1 2020 and growing. I be -- I believe this demonstrates the ongoing and increasing need for our testing services. In 2020, we maintained, also, and built our leadership further in rare disease diagnostics and continue to strengthen our superior scientific insights and knowledge.

We laid the foundation for this by authoring 55 peer-reviewed publications in 2020, which was a record year for CENTOGENE. This truly demonstrates our commitment to continuously unlocking further insights into rare genetic diseases. Some of the scientific achievements are shown on the slide. Many of them are proof points for increasing diagnostic gear with genome sequencing and how we are providing bioinformatics tools to enable best-in-class diagnostic into protection.

Furthermore, our researchers seem to want to uncover specific genotype-phenotype associations to understand novel causes and unknown syndromes. We view our contribution in better understanding rare diseases at the core of our commitment to patients around the world, aiming to provide the best-in-class diagnostic possible for rare diseases. And you can expect more of these in 2021. Please turn to Slide 8.

As explained, we saw a dip in the number of samples in order intakes in our diagnostic segment. This is true for the overall core business as you can see here on the left side of the chart. However, we still make progress on growing our bio and databank, which includes samples as well as data in cell lines. On the graph on the right, you see the number of individuals in our data repository.

Over the course of a difficult 2020, we still added approximately 100,000 individuals to our rare disease-centric data and biobank, an increase of approximately 20%. In the next few slides, I would like to demonstrate how this biobank translates into valuable data assets. Please turn to Slide 9. It is CENTOGENE's mission to revolutionize the understanding of rare diseases by connecting patients and their biology.

This allows us to address different use cases for value creation. Our biobank can be visualized as a sphere. On the outer layers, there are hundreds of thousands of individuals for which we have clear genetic information. This data drives our general knowledge on the underlying genetic constellations, which in turn build up superior diagnostic insights and enables us to find and diagnose patients.

One example of being able to provide value to the patient finding process that's recently demonstrated regarding SORD -- SORD gene, a novel genetic cause of neuropathy. A global academic consortium recently identified 45 patients carrying a mutation in this gene. While this is a new genetic cause only just identified, CENTOGENE's biobank already contains 42 patients, all with its own genome sequencing performed, and most of them with HPO terms-based clinical descriptions. This truly demonstrate that we already have patients in our biobank of -- and that in many cases are able to quickly respond and be ideally positioned to support R&D for finding new patients even for new diseases.

In addition to the growing size of the database, we also prioritize its quality. One reason we believe our databank is unique, apart from its focus on rare diseases, is the unique linkage of phenotypical information and diagnostic findings. we ensure this through careful curation of the cases and the way we measure the quality of the data descriptions through standardized HPO terms. The continuous improvements to the quality of the data and the phenotypical information is reflected by the increase of average number of HPO terms per patient sample in our database, up from five in 2019 to eight in 2020.

Another example of the patient finding aspect of our databank response to genetic testing collaborations like the one with Takeda. The program focused on lysosomal storage disorders for which an enzyme replacement therapy exists such as Fabry, Gaucher, or Hunter syndrome. The goal is to enable a faster path to identify patients via biochemical screening or genetic analysis and accelerate patients receiving a diagnosis and potential access to treatment. In a normal year, we screen approximately 40,000 to 50,000 samples for Takeda.

And as announced early this week, we are pleased to report that we have extended our collaboration with Takeda in Q1 2021. When we -- when moving from the diagnostic use case to the acceleration of drug and therapy development, we are looking at the specific data points and tools that help identify biomarkers, genetic modifiers, and potential targets. These are the datasets for which we have more information available superior description of phenotypes, research content in place, and complete genetic information, as well as [Inaudible] information. The middle layer display enables clinical trial support and patient stratification use case.

A recent example is the Denali cooperation on Parkinson's. At the core, you will see the area -- the areas we view as having full disease models available, which then also include cell models to be used for in vitro compounds screening via stem cells. Each layer allows us to address different use cases internally and, of course, with pharma partners. On the next slide, I would like to highlight two in particular.

Please turn to Slide 10. A good example of a collaboration on the clinical trial case or the middle layer of the sphere previously shown is our ROPAD study. This global body stem demonstrates both are innovative capabilities and how it can be a value driver for patient and former partners and internal development. As a brief reminder, CENTOGENE entered into a strategic collaboration with Denali Therapeutics for the target global identification and recruitment of Parkinson's disease patients with mutations in the LRRK2 gene in 2018.

We were proud to announce recently that the study now includes over 10,000 participants from over 120 sites globally, which we believe to be the most comprehensive data set on genetic Parkinson's disease to date. We utilized our broad physician network, which is particularly strong in neurology, to successfully identify hundreds of patients with large communications. The study also created further modeling sites. We leveraged our biobanks to analyze and critique the consequences of reducing LRRK2 function, an important element for our part in Denali Therapeutics who is working on the LRRK2 inhibitor.

In fact, the rich state in our biobank already contains individuals with homozygous loss-of-function and without clinical symptoms, which are especially valuable to Denali. Based on a large cohort of individuals for which exome and genome sequencing had been performed in a diagnostics setting and for a wide range of phenotypes, we did not find evidence for heterozygous or homozygous loss-of-function variants to cause any distinct phenotype. And thus, our data facilitated the conceptual and novel confirmation of the safety of LRRK2 activity-reduced treatment strategies in Parkinson's disease, fundamentally de-risking the therapeutic development of such inhibitors. On that note, I'm very pleased to announce that we have just signed an extension of the contract with Denali for another 2,500 patients.

In addition, we also believe that this unique dataset will be very valuable beyond LRRK2, including the potential to identify new disease modifiers or targets for Parkinson's and opportunity that we are exploring internally and also with other potential partners. Let us now please turn to Slide 11. I would like to highlight the targeting drug discovery case here. You know that Gaucher is one of our focus areas that we leverage our deep data and biobank.

In author -- in authoring numerous publications, we have shown the power of lyso-Gb1 as a biomarker for diagnostics as well as a tool for monitoring treatment response to quality. Now, we have a large cohort. We have over 1,800 diagnosed Gaucher cases in our databank. Looking at the depth of the biobank, we have over 135 of blood samples and has built patient-derived, tissue-specific cell markers to allow us to continue to build a full-disease model for Gaucher, thus enabling, accelerating, and de-risking therapy development.

In essence, we went from clinical to the pre-clinical stage here. To this effect, we have set up disease models in the needed multi-layer, multi-omics tool. A disease model for us is the patient-derived, tissue-specific cell model from stem cells established with relevant readouts. On the side of bioinformatic tools we have generated by the insights into Gaucher disease through an extended multi-omics disease map pyrolysis on the storage disorders by mapping Gaucher disease subtypes from gene to phenotype.

Now, our clear ambition is that the core data set we create can be used to identify pathways, targets, and modifying genes. We have set up two workstreams in this regard. First, we are looking at lyso-Gb1 as a-- as a well-known target. This is well under way as part of our partnership with Evotec where we bring access to the large -- where they bring access to the large molecule library they own.

We have evaluated the first chemical compounds in our disease model in 2021 and we'll continue these efforts in the coming months. The collaboration is built on co-investment and sharing of findings, but the progress should be apparent in the next six to eight months. Additionally, we are also looking into novel target discovery, exploring modifying genes. We anticipate that target mining and novel target identification will take 12 to 18 months.

In the meantime, the research project here will drive the development of our multi-omics platform and capabilities which will support the use case for other disease areas as well. And of course, we won't stop at Gaucher. I believe our bio and data bank and its expansive physician network is uniquely strong in neuroscience metabolic diseases such as Lysosomal Storage Disorders. The progress on Gaucher is something we are replicating other disease areas and we are prioritizing the next disease areas we believe we can do so.

We will update you on those in the upcoming investor events. Please turn to Slide 12. I'm going to give you a -- a quick update also on our management team. We have restructured it to really better reflect the two core segments where we drive value in the future.

CENTOGENE in my mind has always had a fantastic drive for science and following science. But we now want to pair this scientific know-how also with commercial know-how and competence. And to that extent, we have created leadership teams consisting of the commercial and the scientific leader for both our diagnostics, as well as our pharmaceutical segment. Those teams will be jointly driving the value creation of these specific segments going forward.

They are of course supported by dedicated, highly skilled functions such as bioinformatics and HR. And in that regard, I want to give you also an update on two new members that joined us just recently. And first, I would like to introduce Nathalie Daste who have joined CENTOGENE as our new chief human resource officer starting in March. Nathalie has a strong track record of developing talent, fostering company culture, and building the required capabilities to achieve a company strategy.

Over the past decade, she has spearheaded a number of large-scale projects in the talent area such as building capabilities for lifespans and pharma companies' focus on value, driving skills, and behaviors. I think this will be particularly important as we move forward to our next growth trajectory. I would also like to welcome Maximilian Schmid. He recently joined us as Chief Commercial Officer Diagnostics.

Max will be responsible for diagnostics business strategy and growth. He brings with him good neuro experience having worked at the Silicon Valley start-up before they were acquired by Roche. At Roche, Max was a member of the global leadership team of the sequencing business unit before he joined us. You will have the opportunity to hear from the team directly at our Investor Event in June.

Well, with that said, let me hand it over to Richard to walk you through the financials see more details, Richard, over to you.

Richard Stoffelen -- Chief Financial & Accounting Officer

Thank you, Andrin. Could I kindly ask you to slide -- turn to Slide 14. Our full-year 2020 revenues grew by an impressive 163% compared to 2019. This was largely driven by COVID-19 testing revenues with -- growing close to EUR 19 million in revenues for the full year.

The core business segments experienced headwinds due to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the second quarter, and the financial core segments reflect the challenging year. With pharma segment recorded EUR 17 million in revenues, a 21% decrease compared to 2019. The diagnostics segment recorded EUR 22.1 million in revenues, a 19% decrease compared to the year 2019. While search results are disappointing for the core business, I believe the company was nimble and effective in its response to the circumstances as we made good use of our diagnostics capabilities.

We are well-positioned as we continue into '21 and we'll get back to solid core business growth to materialize CENTOGENE's long-term potential in its core segments. The slowdown in revenues translated into a decrease in adjusted EBITDA for both core business segments. Nonetheless, we are pleased with the momentum in the Pharma segment currently and look forward to this translating into revenues in '21. The adjusted EBITDA margin in pharma decreased 37% for the year, but the diagnostics segment showed a solid recovery in the second half of the year, fixed-cost elements resulted in the adjusted EBITDA margin declining for the year overall to minus 11%.

Having said that, I want to emphasize that if sample volumes had been of pre-pandemic levels, adjusted EBITDA for the diagnostics segment would have been positive for the year. The COVID-19 testing segments with 42% adjusted EBITDA margin for the full year. Even though we do not have a comparison to 2019, I want to note that search includes upfront expenses for the setup of our COVID-19 segment at the beginning of 2020. Consequently, adjusted EBITDA margin improved in the third and fourth quarter as we increased the revenues substantially throughout the year.

Now, let's look at where the breakdown of our revenues in our segments came from in 2020. Please turn to Slide 15. As usual, we provide you with the breakdown of revenues in our pharma segment by new and existing contracts for the period. As a reminder, we define a new contract as one signed in the last 12 months.

We are happy to report signing of 16 new contracts in 2020. The majority of the 16 new contracts were signed to the second part and did not result in recognized revenues for 2020. Rather, we will see the revenues of these contracts in '21, and therefore the revenues for new contracts presented here are not an accurate reflection of our pharma segment's momentum. In saying that, we did see revenues from existing contracts increased by 10% in 2020 compared to 2019.

While it is our goal to grow the pharma segment, it is nevertheless encouraging to see our existing collaborations bring in a robust revenue space even in a year as challenging as 2020. Looking at the diagnostics segment, revenues from NIPT decreased in 2020 compared to 2019. As mentioned in previous quarters, NIPT is another core focus of our strategy. Revenues from other tests decreased by 19% compared to 2019, which is due to previously discussed headwinds to our diagnostics segment.

As for the COVID-19 segment, we demonstrated a significant ramp-up in each quarter in 2020, particularly in the second half of the year which led to the substantial contribution to our top line for the year. Now, please turn to Slide 16 where I will discuss the financials for the fourth quarter in more detail. Looking at our revenues for the fourth quarter of 2020, COVID-19 testing brought in EUR 59.8 million. In addition, we recorded an adjusted EBITDA margin of 45% in that segment, which was an increase from 35% in Q3 2020.

Although COVID-19 testing is not strategic to our business long term, the financial contribution from this segment will support us in making key strategic investments into our core segments. Shifting to our core business segments, in pharma, we recorded EUR 4.7 million in revenues in Q4 which was a 41% decrease compared to the same period in 2019. In diagnostics, revenue decreased by 19% compared to Q4 2019 to EUR 5.8 million. These financial outcomes reflect the trends we discussed earlier in the presentations whereas signed pharma partnership contracts will result in '21 revenues and diagnostics volumes continue recovering toward the end of the year.

Let us now finish discussing other key financial elements for this period. Please turn to Slide 17. Looking at our income statement, we have already mentioned the increase in revenues for a record total for the company of more than EUR 128 million. Such increase in revenues drove an increase in gross profit of approximately EUR 19.2 million in 2020 compared to last year.

Our expenses, including other operating income, increased by approximately EUR 20.2 million for the year compared to 2019. As a result, the operating result was lower by approximately EUR 1 million. Let me comment on the two biggest factors that drove this increase in expenses. Firstly, general and administrative expenses increased by approximately EUR 14.5 million.

As mentioned last quarter, the increase in G&A costs are primarily a result of being a public company, such as D&O insurance, corporate governance, investor relations expenses, and share-based payment expenses. Naturally, we did not incur those costs in 2019. In addition, we incurred costs related to our COVID-19 testing efforts, including continuing to internally test our employees to keep the company operational, as well as some upfront costs related to test site expansions. Second, our R&D expenses for the year were up by approximately EUR 5.3 million.

This increase was driven both by personnel cost and IT-related expenses. This is reflected – reflective of our continued commitments to advancing our biomarkers, databases, and technology platforms such as AI. It also emphasizes that, although we experienced headwinds in our core segments this year, we did not lose focus of our long-term strategy and mission of the company toward rare diseases. Now, please turn to Slide 18.

Let us have a closer look at the cash flow and balance sheet. Cash flow from operating activities improved significantly compared to last year. The additional revenues from COVID-19 testing and the healthy adjusted EBITDA margin of that segment led to a positive cash flow. Looking at the change in cash flow used for investing activities compared to 2019, I would like to emphasize that the cash flow from investing activities last year included a net positive cash flow of EUR 21.3 million from the sale and leaseback of our Rostock headquarters.

Taking that into account, the negative cash flow originated from our investments in PP&E and right-of-use assets, mainly related to starting our COVID-19 segment, including the development of our Corona Test Portal. Cash flow from financing activities decreased compared to 2019 as our IPO in 2019 resulted in roughly double the rates when compared to our follow-on equity offering in July 2020. As of December 2020, we had EUR 48.2 million of cash and cash equivalents on our balance sheet, which, I believe, is a strong financial position for a company the size of CENTOGENE. Regarding our outstanding debt, I would like to remind you that as of year-end 2020, this includes more than EUR 21 million of lease liabilities.

Having looked at our performance for 2020, let me now update you on our financial guidance for '21. Please turn to Slide '20. Firstly, let's start with our core business. We have seen the core business segments recover toward the end of 2020 and into '21.

As such, we believe we can return to solid growth in our core business. Moving to our COVID-19 testing segment, we will continue leveraging the contribution from that segment. As uncertainties remain around the vaccine rollout, it is possible that demand may be different than we perhaps expected. Based on the current trajectory, we anticipate revenues from the COVID-19 segment in '21 to be approximately the same level as in 2020.

Now, let me hand it back to Andrin for our '21 business outlook. Please turn to Slide 21.

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Richard. So before we get into Q&A, let me summarize the presentation briefly and highlight the key takeaways from today's discussion. We had a strong finish to the year and ended 2020 with triple-digit revenues from the first time in company's history for a record top-line growth. Whilst the segment is not strategic or a long-term focus for us, the financial tailwind from COVID-19 testing means we entered 2020 with a robust balance sheet.

And that allows us to continue our investments in our core business, and I'm pretty confident that COVID-19 testing will also contribute significantly during this year. But I would like to reiterate again that the focus in 2021 will be our core business segments. They are what drives the long-term value and growth of the company, and this is our priority to see these segments to foster and grow. We have seen the level of sample order intake value return to approximately 80% of normal pre-pandemic levels at the end of 2020.

In addition, we have seen that the trend continues in Q1 2021, with sample intake more or less at the level of Q1 2022 and growing. This is an encouraging sign, and we anticipate those levels to remain robust going forward and that we will emerge stronger post-pandemic than we were before. Our pharma partnerships are also slowly starting to pick up again. We have signed 16 new deals in the second half of 2020.

We have extended 16 collaborations. And I believe that you will see more new deals coming in, in the next couple of months. I also view our data and biobank as the key asset delivering value for orphan drug development and the driver of our long-term value growth. We plan to deploy that asset more strategically and sharpen the value propositions for both, our pharma partners as for our own internal development.

I would also like to invite you to the upcoming investor event. Hopefully, you have noticed some of our steps we have taken to date to be more transparent and clear on what we do and the things that matter to you. I would like to take the opportunity on June 22nd to dive deeper into our strategy, how we create value. And I would like to do that with our executive team that you can engage with there.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, it will be hosted in a virtual format, unfortunately. We will update you further on the agenda and registration for the event, but please save the date. I look forward to seeing you there and, hopefully, many of you. Overall, I'm confident about what CENTOGENE can and will do for rare disease community and to amplify the impact that we have on patients and families awaiting answers on diagnostics and therapies.

I will now turn the call over to our operator for Q&A. Please, kindly, I would like to remind you not to ask more than three questions, so we have time to get to as many of you as possible. Thank you for joining us today.

Questions & Answers:


Thank you. [Operator instructions] Your first question comes from the line of Puneet Souda from SVB Leerink. Please go ahead. Your line is now open.

Westley Dupray -- SVB Leerink -- Analyst

Hi, guys. This is actually Westley on for Puneet today. Thanks for taking the questions and congrats on the quarter. I wanted to start on the outlook for 2021 and, more specifically, on the COVID testing side of things.

Rich, I appreciate your comments on approximately similar levels year over year and the difficulty that goes into modeling out the COVID testing cadence. But just given where we are, having the first quarter close at this point, if you could provide any additional clarity on the cadence of testing throughout the year and if you see any opportunity for COVID surveillance testing as well.

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Maybe just two thoughts before I hand over to Richard. I hope you understand that forecasting COVID is tricky. You cannot easily compare quarter over existing or for future quarters.

I mean, the results are impacted, to some extent, almost adversely in a sense that if the pandemic -- we're talking about Europe here, where our COVID testing is happening. When the pandemic gets worse and travel restrictions increase, we see somewhat less testing. And when the pandemic gets better, we see more. Given that we go more or less from wave to wave and the restrictions are constantly changing, it's hard to tell exactly where we're going to end up.

I mean, I think we had a good first quarter as far as revenues for COVID are concerned, and I'm pretty confident that, especially as vaccinations progress and traveling takes up, the numbers can look even better. But how good they will look, I think that, frankly, is anyone's guess. It's mostly influenced by the pandemic and government policies. Richard, over to you for any other thoughts there.

Richard Stoffelen -- Chief Financial & Accounting Officer

Thank you very much, Andrin. Thank you, Wes, for asking the question. As you do appreciate in asking the question, we have not closed Q1 formally yet. So my guidance will vary depending on the progress of the pandemic, as well as the vaccination programs and travel patterns, as Andrin just expressed.

We would expect the first half of the year being somewhat similar to the second half of last year. And we feel very comfortable in saying that when looking at the initial closing of Q1 for COVID revenues.

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

And on the --

Westley Dupray -- SVB Leerink -- Analyst

Great. Yeah, yeah. I was going to follow up there. Thank you.

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

Just quickly on the second part. I mean, yes, we do that in Germany. But given the guidance and the churn policy on that front and also the fixed revenues you can make with it, I mean, while we do it, we don't think this will be a major revenue contributor overall.

Westley Dupray -- SVB Leerink -- Analyst

Great. Thank you for that. And then -- so I guess sticking on the first quarter, looking toward the diagnostics part of the business, appreciate that volumes are beginning to return to pre-pandemic levels. I'm curious on the mix of those volumes between -- I know that you've previously been seeing some momentum in higher-value tests.

So just how we can expect the mix of volumes to trend and what that means for the top line as a result.

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. We haven't dived into that analysis as we're focusing on closing the full year and the full reporting of the 20F. But I have heard nothing to the contrary of the trends we saw before, Wes.

Westley Dupray -- SVB Leerink -- Analyst

All right. And then just finally, looking forward to the investor day in June, Andrin, now that you've had some time to get to know the company over the past few months, just curious on some of the key priorities for the next year, where you see some opportunities and, Rich, I guess how you're feeling about the cash position currently and where some opportunities might lie there. Thank you.

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

So I don't want to, of course, steal the thunder. I guess you will have to have a little bit of patience until we have the investor event. But I think as mentioned during the presentation, I do believe that we have a great asset with our bio and data bank. And I think while we focus on ensuring that it clearly built the use cases that we have identified and mine our data and really line it up with the value that can be generated with it, I think we will have fantastic disease areas where we can bring a lot of value to the table.

So with a bit more focus on those priorities and then really aligning our resources and investing behind them, I think we will see good development, and we can share with you milestones that we expect along the way over the next couple of quarters and how this will translate into visible progress.

Richard Stoffelen -- Chief Financial & Accounting Officer

Yeah. With -- with the answer to your question, Wes, in respect of our cash position, we're -- we're very comfortable particularly as we see a continuation of this healthy -- healthy revenue contribution of COVID. So we're very comfortable there.

Westley Dupray -- SVB Leerink -- Analyst

Great. Thank you.


Your next question comes from the line of Erin Wright from Credit Suisse. Please go ahead, your line is now open.

Erin Wright -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Great. Thanks so much for taking my questions. So my first one is can you speak to -- to what the changes were with your Takeda relationship and the expansion of the contract there? How big of an opportunity that is for you? And -- and also what -- what were your new partner -- former partnership signed in the quarter versus extensions of existing relationships?

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

So I think on the -- on the Takeda extension, we are -- the extend -- on the extension sales, we pretty much continue doing what we have done there with -- with Takeda in the -- in the past and we do have other collaborations with Takeda and rare diseases beyond, you know, that specific effort. And -- and I think we definitely, of course, want to take the opportunity in the next couple of quarters engaging Takeda on those further so that we will develop additional new partnerships along with use cases that have outlined with Takeda. Those discussions are ongoing and whatever where that leads us into the next couple of quarters. I think on the -- on the signing of other deals, and the names I will refer to Richard as I'm not entirely clear in terms of what we can share and what is confidential.

Richard Stoffelen -- Chief Financial & Accounting Officer

Happy to -- to step in. We -- we cannot disclose too much detail on a numeric basis, unfortunately. We are not unhappy with the extension of the contract. Let's put it that way.

Erin Wright -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

OK. That's helpful. And then, I guess, can you speak to kind of how the pharma partnership pipeline is looking heading into this year? And has anything changed in terms of your strategy around acquiring new pharma partnerships or can you remind us how -- how your -- you're -- you're actively marketing in the listing kind of new business from a partnership perspective?

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

So did -- I think that the pipeline looks pretty strong in my mind. Again, I feel pretty confident, as I said before, that we will with that pipeline even in a risk-adjusted way you won't be able to get that business back to growth and have a -- a good year compared to last year, there's no doubt in my mind. And in terms of how we approach it, there is, and some of that form of a change there, I think that we have been initiating to be more specific. I think in the past, our partnership approach was a bit opportunistic.

I mean, we talk to people at the conference, had some scientific discussion and out of it came to an interesting idea and something, you know, would start and I think now the size of the company that we are and the expansiveness of the biobank that we have, I think we want to formalize those used cases as a try to give you the first outline on more specifically. So that we have a much clearer service offering that we can bring more, you know, say, repetitively to a broader number of -- of partners with a high level of confidence. Of course, then the organization can also deliver against them. I think we are also looking at expanding our commercial presence and I highlight that, you know, with -- I highlighted how we start of course with that at the top.

But then, when I look at the opportunity, how big the market is, and what we could do, I think, we will do better by also increasing our resources there that we can really cover the -- the part of the universe. There are many companies now engaged in degenerative diseases and I think we have not yet maxed out with regard to first being able to bring our value propositions to as many of them as soon as possible. And I think the last point is that we want to be more mindful in terms of how will also be maximized the -- the partnerships in terms of what is a simple service where we offer, you know, for a transaction fee and there are we better off to really strategically partner into value creation because we want to participate in the upside. And -- and in that regard, I think we developed in our framework, I don't think it will be either-or, meaning that we will just be two simple services or wanted to only ever take the type of partnerships but we want to have more clarity on what opportunity is good enough for us to invest some of our own money and how we communicate that in the -- in the future.

Erin Wright -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

OK. Great. Thank you.


Your next question comes from the line of Alex Cogut from Kempen. Please go ahead, your line is now open.

Alex Cogut -- Kempen -- Analyst

Hi, and thanks for taking my question. With respect to your biobank repository, I noted that the increase in Q4 was somewhat lower than the previous quarters. I think five versus 40,000. Could you provide some more color on -- on that?

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

The increase on -- on what? I'm sorry, I didn't understand you.

Alex Cogut -- Kempen -- Analyst

The -- the biobank respository.

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Yeah. I think overall, I mean, you know, there -- there can be slight changes if -- with regards to it. Normally, what comes from the clinical diagnostic, from the diagnostic segment -- segment pretty, you know, steady, meaning it is growing as a diagnostic business grows.

On the pharma side, you can, of course, see some variances. I mean, if you do a larger clinical program with a pharma partner, then of course the samples come in over a couple of months while that recruiting takes on. But those should be, you know, smaller changes quarter over quarter. I wouldn't get too much hung up on that.

I think overall, we expect the sample intake to continue and steadily grow. Now, we are, as we said, for the year, I think we had about 20% overall growth over the year and I would expect this to -- to accelerate during next year.

Alex Cogut -- Kempen -- Analyst

Got it. Thank you. And looking at your G&A expenses, I understood that it was primarily due to being the listed company. What can we expect for 2021? Would it be a similar magnitude increase or -- or where there's someone off in -- in last year?

Richard Stoffelen -- Chief Financial & Accounting Officer

Shall I take that, Andrin?

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

Yep, please go ahead, Richard.

Richard Stoffelen -- Chief Financial & Accounting Officer

Hi, Alex. Thank you for asking the question. So with the elephant in the room that we don't want to -- to move around. No, we -- we don't expect a similar increase.

The increase was -- was kind of a once increase but it will be retained at a certain level even though we are every year carefully reviewing where we spend our money so we spend it in the wisest way possible, which we will do for this year as well. Part of it was -- was also related to setting up the new test centers in -- in the COVID segment, which we don't know yet whether that will be continued to be -- to be expanded into this year, or given how the pandemic would evolve that that will not be part of it anymore. So a careful review but not anticipated the similar increase as we had from '19 to '20. Not at all.

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. And I think, I mean, two -- and two points I would add, as you know as the newcomer I mean that there's little doubt in my mind that during a turbulent 2020 were, you know, the company was you know in a couple of months trying to build up, you know, the COVID response. And if you think that meant, right, in terms of rare disease testing volumes compared to the COVID testing volume. The COVID testing volume is about 10 times bigger than what you normally do with rare disease.

So what it's meant with re -- with regards to, you know, bringing people in, you know, strengthening logistics and what have you, I mean, this was a massive, massive effort. So I do think now, you know, with this being a separate business you need to manage on its own, I mean, if you have a very careful look at our G&A costs and go deeply into it and say what do we really need for the future and is there here and there something maybe that we can, you know, wane down against. So rest assured that we're going to make sure that efficiency exists on that side.I mean, that being said, I think, it's worthwhile to note that, and I assume you -- you know you have some understanding for that. I mean, the -- you cannot compare our G&A to a typical biotech company who is just moving one or two molecules, you know, through the pipeline.

I mean, our business has a, of course, a global presence especially on the diagnostic side with the global commercial presence with, you know, representation in, I think, over 50 countries and what have you. Yes, so there is a certain, of course, G&A cost, you know, that is needed for us, which looks big if you wish as compared to the diagnostic business but less big if it looks compared to all the samples we ought to get through that and how we build up our bio and data bank with it.

Alex Cogut -- Kempen -- Analyst

Got it. That you. That's very -- that's very helpful. And with respect to your pharma business growth in -- in 2021, as the U.S.

and Europe look to be reopening at different rates, is there some kind of, you know, difference in how your pharma business is exposed to Europe versus the U.S.?

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

A bigger part of our pharma business is -- is in the -- in the U.S., meaning the customer situation in it, you know, it's no surprise that, of course, the U.S. has the largest life science and biotech community overall. So in that sense, you would think, and it's probably fair to assume that, you know, their recovery, if you wish, it will be faster in the U.S. than they were stronger than in Europe.

I do think that the overall R&D is going on. I mean, there is not so much, I would say that the argument to make there is no R&D, but it is true that given that a lot of the deals that we do are based on that exchange, you know, the business building, the value offering, you know, not having, you know, at least would let a couple of quarters any conference or as a normal convening where you can bring your value to the table and can start this discussion was quite a challenge and certain things you can do virtually on the team's call but not everything. So I think while -- and the opening up happens, I'm pretty confident, and as I said before, I mean, we are also adding some commercial resources there. I mean, for us to really be well-positioned to get out there and make sure our value proposition reaches there not just the existing but also new customers.

Alex Cogut -- Kempen -- Analyst

Thank you. And I look forward to the 22nd of June.


Your next question comes from the line of Catherine Schulte from Baird. Please go ahead, your line is now open.

Tom Peterson -- Baird -- Analyst

Hi, everyone. This is actually Tom on for Catherine. I appreciate the questions and congrats on the quarter. So I just wanted to first get into a sort of monthly pacing on the diagnostics side in Q4 and -- and any color into Q1 '21.

I appreciated sort of the comparisons to Q1 '20 but -- but just curious if you saw any significant monthly differences, given sort of COVID flare-ups.

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

Well, Richard, shall I take that?

Richard Stoffelen -- Chief Financial & Accounting Officer

Take it or I could. I'm just going back to the slide where we show the graph on the sample and take it, but that will the most helpful.

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. I mean, you saw that on that graph on page -- which page was it?

Richard Stoffelen -- Chief Financial & Accounting Officer

That was Slide 7.

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

Slide 7. I mean, the -- of course, the -- you know, we don't show monthly numbers there. So there's a bit of leveling out. But otherwise, I mean, these numbers are -- the trend there is accurate.

And the monthly variation is sometimes there for two reasons. I mean we -- we have, in certain countries, larger contracts, let's say, with a hospital chain and it can be that there are, you know, some batch of test comes in, you know, in the end of the month or at the beginning of the month that can move the numbers a bit. And -- but I think apart from that, I mean, we don't see that much of a variation. I mean, the trend is pretty -- pretty clear.

Richard Stoffelen -- Chief Financial & Accounting Officer

Yeah. I'd -- I'd like to add that typically, the only -- the only variation you see is in the number of days or some of our bigger customers, they kind of stack together all the samples for a week. So sometimes it's just in one month versus the other because how the week ends or how do we start and when they ship them. So that's nothing that we are really focusing on.

On a quarterly basis, we see an upward trend, like we were seeing before the pandemic as well. We're almost at pre-pandemic levels, as you could see at Slide 7. So we -- we are very comfortable there.

Tom Peterson -- Baird -- Analyst

Great. That's helpful. Moving to the pharma side, I appreciate sort of the color on the extended momentum sort of in the back half. I was just curious, more broadly, you know, how conversations with current and potential, you know, pharma partners is evolving, particularly as 2021 budgets become finalized.

I guess what I'm trying to get at is, you know, would you sort of characterize project timelines and outlook is kind of more or less immune to COVID shocks and flareups at this point now that sort of those expectations are sort of built into Pharma 2021 outlooks as well?

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes. They're built in. I think -- I mean, who knows what's certainly an unexpected, you know, mutation would do to the -- to the world. But based on everything which is known today, I mean, the -- the, you know, the gradual recovery with some uncertainty remaining, of course, at the end of the year, is factored in there.

And so in our, I would say, optimism and what we said about where we think the pharma business will be this year. In my mind, the uncertainty that is -- remains for me, more on the -- also, how we structure certain deals. I mean, as I tried to describe before, that you can structure a deal with a pharma partner by which we pretty much sell, you know, an element of our biobank and create some revenue with it, but then the asset is gone, or you can structure a deal by which in the other extreme we co-invest because we believe it creates long-term value. And you don't see anything in the top line, but the value of that deal may be bigger than some revenue generated during this year.

And while we think through how we structure those deals, and then how we set them up for the future, I think that creates, of course, some uncertainty, not on the overall value creation, but in terms of how much short-term revenue were -- you were to see versus long-term value creation.

Tom Peterson -- Baird -- Analyst

No. That makes sense. That's very helpful. I want to follow up lastly maybe on the COVID side.

Just sort of -- you know, I think you've sort of touched on this as to, you know, travel opening up, et cetera, could actually be beneficial for volume. So -- and it seems like you would expect your airport testing partnerships, you know, to continue. Are there any other opportunities that you're working through on this sort of side, kind of getting at, you know, something like a travel corridor, et cetera? And then I was also just curious how, if at all, mix shift has changed from a -- from a COVID diagnostic standpoint for you guys?

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

What has changed? Sorry, I didn't understand the last piece of your question.

Tom Peterson -- Baird -- Analyst

Sorry, just the mix shift between -- given the antigen offering. Yes.

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

The product. Yeah, OK. Got it. Understood.

So I think on the product mix side, I think the -- we clearly have our offering in the high quality, high end, right? I mean that's same for rare disease genetic testing via the high-end, high-quality solution provider. And that's the same for COVID-19 testing. So we do PCR. We are also, of course, going with the trend to make it faster and faster.

So you get a more rapid turnaround even at an airport of your PCR result. And so that you can basically go to the airport, at least if you go to -- if you're not the one who rushes to be there 10 minutes before the flight leaves, but if you go as you should, according to the guideline, you can actually do your testing at the airport, wait for the result and then -- and then move on. And -- and we also do have an antigen test, but only the, again, what we call high-quality lab test of antigen. So the idea really for us is that we want to make sure that our test results are professionally confirmed and then can serve as confirmation for travel or for whatever you need to do from a -- from an authority point of view.

I mean, that's the business that we are doing. And we believe that it's highly likely that, you know, these policies that you will have to test and show these results in a contributory way that will continue. I do believe that, you know, the mutations that are circulating, while I'm not so worried that they will launch us back into -- into lockdowns, I do believe that they will probably mean that testing will be required for a longer period of time, at least for the -- for traveling. I also believe, to your question on the -- on the customer, you know, base, I also believe that there will be a certain risk of flareups within a country especially, as I said, if new mutations were to emerge, which may not overfill the hospital, but still if not diagnosed, would create, you know, a spread in already vaccinated people.

So I think there will be -- or it's absolutely possible that there will be need for also, you know, in-country testing. And I think, in that regard, next to having testing centers at major cities, we are also establishing and have established contracts with major organizations, whether those are large corporations or government entities who really want to make sure that they have solutions in place that allow them to contain any future spread within an organization. So that's basically what's our key customer segments are, if you wish.

Tom Peterson -- Baird -- Analyst

Great, thanks again.

Lennart Streibel -- Investor Relations

Thank you. Just trying to be mindful of time. We've got a few minutes left, so trying to be succinct as -- as possible there with the next questions. Thank you.


Your next question comes from the line of Sung Ji Nam from BTIG. Please go ahead. Your line is now open.

Sung Ji Nam -- BTIG -- Analyst

Hi. Thanks for taking the questions. Firstly, on the biorepository, impressive to see 20% growth despite the pandemic. I was curious, prior to the pandemic, I think there are efforts to expand, you know, further, diversify the biorepository, I think, you know, expansion into the North American market and also maybe Asia as well.

I was wondering if there was any progress on that front, or has it been just largely from the traditional geographical sources?

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

You mean with regards to diagnostic samples, where it comes from?

Sung Ji Nam -- BTIG -- Analyst


Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

OK. Yeah. For the time being, it's pretty much what it was before the pandemic. So I think, as you can imagine, during the pandemic, it wasn't the best time to try to -- to go and set up, you know, new -- new channels.

That said, we clearly has a plan and an aspiration to strengthen our presence geographically in Europe. And this is my priority No. 1. And then when you go into -- into Asia, I mean, we are in discussions there, and I think we'll accelerate those now while, you know, things become easier in a few selected, you know, attractive Asian markets to strengthen our -- our presence.

But that -- those are early days. So I think you will have to be a little bit patient. We hopefully can share more on that progress in the second half of the year.

Sung Ji Nam -- BTIG -- Analyst

[Inaudible] And then one --

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

That said, you know, I said, initially, I just want to make the point that the presence that we do have and I think the regions we are in, I think, are parts from Brazil, which is still suffering tremendous from epidemic. I mean there are robust growing regions. I think that's why we believe we have an underlying strong demand for an increased, you know -- increasing demand for our test.

Sung Ji Nam -- BTIG -- Analyst

Got you. And then if I could ask one more question. Just on the ROPAD Study and the efforts there. Obviously, a lot of progress you're making.

Just kind of curious, could you talk about what differentiates Centogene's efforts around the LRRK2 mutation identification? Is it just largely the pure breadth of the database that you have or the samples that you have? Or are there differentiated kind of biological insights that you're finding that you might be adding value for as well? Thank you.

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. So the two aspects, maybe I read. The first one was really how could we build up that big, you know, cohort in a reasonable amount of time. And I think that really translates to the physician network that we have.

And I do think we have a very strong experience and connection in neuroscience, and that's something we want to leverage also going forward with regards in to how to prioritize diseases. I mean there's a -- there are quite a couple of highly intriguing strong connections if you look at pathways that emerge from rare diseases, rare genetic disorders that have implications for, you know, the more well known, maybe more toward end of stage neurological diseases like Parkinson and others. So that is clearly an area with the know-how that we have, we want to go deeper in. And I do believe that we have benefit there because we can connect the rare diseases, the many rare disease patients, often children we have in our data bank, that doesn't present these neurological symptoms and syndromes, and mine that data, you know, in the anticipated understanding of what some of these insights, we need to compare it to the data set of Parkinson patients, if you wish.

So, I think --

Unknown speaker

[Foreign language]

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

Bad luck. OK. So I do believe that our rare disease biobank is a unique asset to do mining in areas like Parkinson.

Sung Ji Nam -- BTIG -- Analyst

Fantastic. Thank you so much.

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

All right. I think that brings us to the end. Lennart?

Lennart Streibel -- Investor Relations

Yes, I think we're -- we're at the end of the call. Thanks for joining, everyone. We're looking forward to connecting later in the quarter, either when we announce the Q1 results or at the investor event or in May at the Kempen conference. So with that, I think we can conclude the call.

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

All right. Thank you, everybody, for participating. Appreciate your time. Thank you.



[Operator signoff]

Duration: 64 minutes

Call participants:

Lennart Streibel -- Investor Relations

Andrin Oswald -- Chief Executive Officer

Richard Stoffelen -- Chief Financial & Accounting Officer

Westley Dupray -- SVB Leerink -- Analyst

Erin Wright -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Alex Cogut -- Kempen -- Analyst

Tom Peterson -- Baird -- Analyst

Sung Ji Nam -- BTIG -- Analyst

Unknown speaker

All earnings call transcripts

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