The COVID-19 pandemic threw a huge wrench in Invitae's (NYSE:NVTA) growth plans. In 2019, the genetic test maker's sales volumes grew by nearly 60%. In the second quarter of 2020, its volume growth was just 8%.

Requests for tests for immediate issues -- in reproductive health line, for instance -- remained strong throughout the quarter, but patients pushed off those that gauge long-term issues such as hereditary cancer risks or a genetic predisposition to heart disease. Overall volume dipped to around 50% of pre-COVID-19 levels in April, but recovered to more than 90% of previous volume by June.

Unfortunately, tests in the reproductive health segment cost less than the tests that declined in volume. Add in some issues the company had with reimbursement, and revenue slipped to $46.2 million in the second quarter, compared to $53.5 million a year prior.

Doctor working at a computer

Image source: Getty Images.

Like most healthcare companies, Invitae has a degree of fixed costs associated with its business. As a result, its gross profits fell substantially to $3.2 million compared to $25.5 million in the year-ago quarter. On the bottom line, Invitae reported a loss of $166 million, although some of that was tied to the acquisitions of YouScript and Genelex. After subtracting out acquisition-related costs, the loss was only $99 million.

Despite the rough quarter, CEO Sean George sounded happy about how quickly things turned around. "I think as we sit today, we're encouraged by what looks like to be the volume, the top-line recovery," he said on the earnings call. "I think we're also really cautioning against any kind of extrapolation for the rest of the year."

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