Biocartis CEO threatens to lose partner – again

October 29, 2020


After already breaking with his distributor last year in the sluggish American market, Herman Verrelst, the CEO of the Mechelen diagnostic specialist Biocartis, is in danger of losing another important partner. The investor drops out.


sells Idylla machines – mini labs the size of a bread machine – and cartridges to labs and hospitals. A lab technician places a drop of blood, urine or body tissue in the cartridge and slides it into the Idylla like a cassette. The result is known about two hours later.

Herman Verrelst, who has been CEO of Biocartis since August 31, 2017, had great expectations for sales in the crucial American market in particular, but had to swallow a serious blow there last year. After all, he had to end 2019 Confess disappointing sales in the US market.

In that key market, Verrelst broke off relations with his important distribution partner Thermo Fisher Scientific. ‘We thought the advance in the US would go faster. We miscalculated, ‘Verrelst admitted in September 2019. Since then he tries with Biocartis on its own crack the complex American market.

A year later, Verrelst and co are in danger of losing another strategic partner. Rewind to September 2017. Biocartis signs a strategic collaboration agreement with the American Genomic Health. This has since been taken over by the listed company Exact Sciences


The idea at the time was that Biocartis would develop a faster version of Genomic Health‘s breast cancer test. The American giant has a test on the market to indicate the correct treatment for breast cancer and called on the people of Mechelen to make a Biocartis version in a cartridge for the European market.

In a short telephone response, Biocartis announced that it could no longer say anything about the timing and outcome of the talks. Earlier it became known that the collaboration with Genomic Health had been suspended due to the consequences of the corona pandemic.

New breakup threatens

The definitive termination of the collaboration would be a new blot on the reputation of Biocartis CEO Verrelst. “This is another serious setback in the outlook,” says Degroof Petercam analyst Thomas Guillot. ‘We estimate the value of the collaboration with Genomic at 1.6 euros per share. The setback comes on top of the already weak balance sheet, in combination with a strong cash burn.

On the Brussels stock exchange, Biocartis tumbles to 17 percent to 3.49 euros. That is close to the record low at the start of the pandemic, around 3 euros on 17 March, and 70 percent below the 11.50 euros that Biocartis debuted five years ago.

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