Invitae's (NVTA -18.63%) winning ways in 2020 have gone by the wayside so far in 2021. Shares of the medical genetics company are down more than 25% year to date. 

The company announced its first-quarter results after the market closed Tuesday. Invitae's downtrend appears likely to continue with the healthcare stock slipping nearly 3% in after-hours trading. Here are the highlights from the company's Q1 update.

A scientist holding a dropper with DNA molecule images surrounding it.

Image source: Getty Images.

By the numbers

Invitae reported revenue of $103.6 million in the first quarter, a 61% increase from the $64.2 million reported in the same quarter of the previous year. This result topped the average analysts' revenue estimate of $101.46 million.

The company announced a Q1 net loss of $109.5 million, or $0.56 per share, based on generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). In the prior-year period, Invitae posted a GAAP net loss of $98.5 million, or $0.99 per share.

Corporate bottom lines often look better on an adjusted non-GAAP basis. That wasn't the case for Invitae in the first quarter, though. The company recorded an adjusted net loss of $122.2 million, or $0.63 per share. This result was worse than the adjusted net loss of $79.8 million, or $0.80 per share, from the prior-year period. It also missed the consensus Wall Street estimate of an adjusted net loss of $0.59 per share.

Behind the numbers

Invitae reported billable volume of 259,000 in the first quarter, up 72% year over year. This drove the company's test revenue up 57% to $99.3 million.

However, the cost of revenue grew even faster. Invitae's total cost of revenue soared 87% to $75.5 million. The company stated that its average cost per billable unit was $290 in the first quarter, up from $268 in the prior-year period.

Invitae spent less in the first quarter of 2021 on general and administrative expenses than it did in the same period of 2020. The decline, though, was more than offset by increased spending on research and development and selling and marketing.  

The company's net loss would have been even worse without an income tax benefit of $6.8 million. Its adjusted net loss was steeper than its GAAP net loss primarily because of fair value adjustments to acquisition-related assets and liabilities totaling $65.4 million.

Looking ahead

Invitae co-founder and CEO Sean George said, "We had a very strong start to the year, experiencing record daily volumes, and we expect that momentum to continue into the coming years." That momentum is likely to be driven in large part by acquisitions, at least in the near term.

The company closed its acquisition of ArcherDx in October 2020. Last month, it announced the acquisition of Genosity, a genomics company focused on the deployment of complex sequencing-based tests. But Invitae is also growing by picking up new business. It signed 25 partnerships with biopharmaceutical companies in the first quarter. These deals could pay off nicely over the coming months and years.

George stated that "genetic information is the foundation for personalized medicine," adding that Invitae "is uniquely positioned to deliver that information from a single platform." Even with the year-to-date decline, the stock is priced at a premium. However, if George's view of the future is right, the stock could still be one for investors to consider buying on the pullback.