Shares of Cerus Corporation (NASDAQ:CERS), a biomedical products company, are on the move following a healthy first-quarter earnings report. Strong demand for its platelet kits encouraged the company to boost forward guidance. Investors liked what they heard and pushed the stock 16.5% higher as of 12:47 p.m. EDT on Wednesday.
Demand for Cerus Corporation's Intercept Blood System platelets is on the rise to the continued delight of investors. First-quarter kit volumes more than doubled compared to the same period last year, raising total product revenue 94% to $13.6 million. Despite shipping a lot more products, operating expenses rose less than a full percentage point.
Given the strong uptake of platelet kits and a recently begun launch in Canada, management raised its full-year sales guidance from a range between $51 million and $53 million issued three months ago, to a range between $53 million and $55 million.
The company isn't profitable yet, but it did narrow its loss to $13.9 million for the quarter from an $18.6 million deficit during the previous-year period. Health Canada approved Intercept platelets in April and the added boost could help close the gap.
Hospitals need to keep plenty of platelets on hand, but they aren't cheap and they expire rapidly. Most frozen platelet kits expire within hours once thawed and hospital administrators would no doubt welcome Cerus Corporation's plans to launch a product with a five-day post-thaw shelf life.
Cerus intends to file an application with the FDA that would allow it to sell extended shelf-life platelet kits in the first half of 2019. If approved, we could see more big revenue gains.