Bio-Techne, the Minneapolis-based maker of tools and test reagents for biological research and clinical tests, reported a 50% increase in adjusted quarterly earnings, with very little of the bump because of COVID-19.

It was the strongest quarterly performance since Chief Executive Chuck Kummeth joined the company in 2013, he told analysts on Tuesday.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, the company reported revenue of $224.3 million, a 21% increase over the same quarter a year ago.

Of the growth, 19% was organic as the company expanded its business; 3% was attributed to COVID-19 needs.

"It's great to see this planning succeed in virtually all areas of our business. We delivered this organic growth with a continued focus on profitability," Kummeth said in a news release.

The company earned $46.3 million, or $1.15 per share, in the quarter. Still, the result was down from the $119.6 million, or $3.02 per share, earned in the same quarter a year ago.

Excluding one-time incidents, the company earned $1.62 per share, a 50% increase. Analysts covering the company had expected adjusted earnings of $1.37 per share.

While Bio-Techne hasn't seen a direct bump from COVID-19 research, its products have helped facilities with productivity while staffing and workflows have had to change during the public health crisis, Kummeth said.

The company also has improved its websites and its sales teams have become more creative as facilities control the number of outside visitors during the pandemic, he said.

Kummeth still expects a COVID-19 antibody test kit it helped develop to pay dividends for the company.

"We expect that research and COVID will be around for many years, thus making this tailwind a sustaining new layer of our product portfolio going forward," he told analysts.

Last week, Bio-Techne announced it was taking a minority position in a China-based life-sciences company, Eminence Biotechnology Co., that develops and commercializes products for cell and gene therapy media products.

"Investing in Eminence expands Bio-Techne's foothold, and providing additional products and services to support the needs of the rapidly growing Chinese biopharmaceutical industry," Kummeth told analysts on the call.

Shares of Bio-Techne closed Tuesday at $376.76 per share, up 10.8%. Shares of Bio-Techne have ranged between $155.17 and $399.83 over the last 52 weeks.

Patrick Kennedy • 612-673-7926