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Epitope Announces Third Quarter Operating Results

Business Segment Increases Reflect New Marketing Strategy

    BEAVERTON, Ore., July 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Epitope, Inc. (Nasdaq: EPTO), a
medical diagnostic company, today reported its fiscal 1998 third quarter
operating results. Revenues from continuing operations for the quarter ended
June 30, 1998 were $2.8 million, compared to revenues from continuing
operations of $2.9 million for the quarter ended June 30, 1997. Net loss from
continuing operations for the third quarter was $260,000, or $0.02 per share,
compared to a net loss from continuing operations of $948,000, or $0.07 per
share, for the same period in fiscal year 1997. For the nine-month period
ended June 30, 1998, net loss from continuing operations was $1.95 million
($.14 per share) on revenues of $6.5 million, compared to a net loss from
continuing operations of $2.2 million ($.16 per share) on revenues of
$7.9 million for the nine-month period ended June 30, 1997.
    The 1997 fiscal year results reflect losses from Epitope's former
subsidiary, Agritope, and the recission of the acquisition of the Andrew and
Williamson Sales Co. (A&W). During the third quarter, Epitope was released as
a guarantor on a $6.5 million revolving line of credit maintained by A&W.
    Sales of the OraSure(R) medical device for the quarter and nine months
ended June 30, 1998 totaled $2.1 million and $4.8 million respectively,
compared to $2.0 million and $5.6 million in the same periods of fiscal 1997.
    Western blot HIV confirmatory test sales for the quarter and nine months
ended June 30, 1998 totaled $602,000 and $1.5 million respectively, compared
to $445,000 and $1.4 million in the same periods of fiscal 1997.
    Development contract revenue was $12,600 in the first nine months of
fiscal 1998, compared to $849,000 in the same period of fiscal 1997.
Development contract revenue for the 1997 period consisted of work being
performed by Epitope for SmithKline Beecham plc under an agreement that was
discontinued in July 1997.
    "Third quarter results reflect accelerating OraSure sales performance over
earlier quarters in important new international markets such as Argentina,
particularly strong results in public health supported by a large order from
the State of California; and resolved inventory issues in the life insurance
sector," said John W. Morgan, president and chief executive officer. "These
combined factors give us a platform for continued sales growth in each market
as we approach break-even."
    "This quarter, Epitope has systematically reassessed each of its markets
and determined strategic objectives for each," stated Edward Collom, vice
president of sales and marketing. "In addition, we have re-oriented our sales
force so that each markets' particular demands can be met efficiently and
effectively. We believe that, with these critical components in place, we are
better positioned to expand the Company's position in the worldwide HIV
testing market."
    In addition, Epitope expects to launch into the drugs-of-abuse testing
market at the end of 1998, as planned. The Company will focus on the drug
rehabilitation, forensic testing and employment testing markets.
    A tabulation of operating highlights and balance sheet data follows
(in thousands, except per share data):

                                      Three Months Ended  Nine months Ended
                                          (unaudited)        (unaudited)
                                       6/30/98   6/30/97   6/30/98   6/30/97
    Operating Highlights:
    Revenues (continuing operations)   $ 2,783   $ 2,884   $ 6,489   $ 7,860
    Net loss from continuing
     operations                           (260)     (948)   (1,949)   (2,203)
    Net loss                              (260)   (2,314)   (1,949)  (16,864)
    Basic and diluted earnings
     per share:
      Income (loss) from continuing
       operations                      $  (.02)  $  (.07)  $  (.14)  $ (.16)
      Net income (loss)                $  (.02)  $  (.17)  $  (.14)  $(1.26)

    Selected Balance Sheet Data:                           6/30/98   6/30/97
    (unaudited)
    Cash and marketable securities                         $ 5,589   $ 9,076
    Working capital                                          6,553     9,538
    Shareholders' equity                                     8,083    15,014

    Epitope, Inc. is an Oregon corporation that develops and markets medical
diagnostic products. Its principal products, including the OraSure oral
specimen collection device, focus on the use of oral fluid to detect HIV
infection and other conditions, and are marketed primarily in the life
insurance and public health sectors.
    Statements in this press release about future sales levels or other future
events or performance are forward-looking statements. The company's actual
results could be quite different. Factors that could affect results include
the extent of future use of oral testing and OraSure in the insurance
industry; ability of the company to develop product distribution channels;
development of competing products; changes in federal or state law or
regulations; and loss of key personnel. Although forward-looking statements
help to provide complete information about the company, readers should keep in
mind that forward-looking statements are much less reliable than historical
information.

Source: EPITOPE Inc.


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