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Accelerate Diagnostics Q4 Revenues Rise 6 Percent

NEW YORK – Accelerate Diagnostics said after the close of the market on Tuesday that its fourth quarter revenues rose 6 percent year over year.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, 2021, the company posted revenues of $3.3 million compared to $3.1 million for Q4 2020, short of the Wall Street consensus estimate of $3.7 million.

The Tucson, Arizona-based company noted that it inked contracts for 16 Pheno ID/AST instruments during the quarter and brought 13 instruments live in the US. It ended the fourth quarter with 313 revenue-generating instruments in the US, with another 81 Pheno instruments under contract but not yet live with customers.

Additionally, in the recently completed quarter, Accelerate signed contracts for 14 Pheno instruments with distributors and new customers in its Europe, Middle East, and Africa region.

"The addition of new contracts, clinically live customers, and new prospects to our sales funnel made the fourth quarter our most commercially productive quarter of the year," Jack Phillips, CEO of Accelerate Diagnostics, said in a statement. "Strong R&D execution in 2021 has enabled the sale and early marketing of our expanded product portfolio."

On a conference call to discuss the financial results, Phillips said pandemic-related issues in the recently completed quarter led to a lower rate of new customer contracts than anticipated. The pandemic "brought increases in hospitalization in many parts of the country and high rates of employee turnover in others," he said. "These factors limited our ability to close additional new business in the quarter."

Despite pandemic headwinds, Accelerate continued to secure its "customer base through long-term, volume-committed contracts" and for full-year 2021, its recurring revenues grew 24 percent year over year, Phillips said.

The company achieved its "product development milestones for the quarter and year," Phillips noted. Midyear it launched a new antimicrobial susceptibility testing kit, Pheno AST, which provides rapid AST results with the current Pheno platform and can incorporate identification results from a molecular system that a lab has already purchased.

Recently, the firm completed the development of the Arc sample preparation system for rapid MALDI ID testing and intends to launch it this month.

For its next-generation Pheno II instrument, Accelerate expects to complete the final design and begin assay development this year, and it anticipates conducting clinical trials in 2023 and launching the system early in 2024, Phillips added.

The company recorded a net loss for the quarter of $22.8 million, or $.34 per share, compared to a net loss of $18.9 million, or $.33 per share, in Q4 2020. Accelerate's Q4 2021 net loss included $3.0 million in noncash, stock-based compensation expense and $4.5 million from a noncash inventory write-down. Its Q4 net loss excluding noncash charges was $0.23 per share.

The consensus Wall Street estimate was for a net loss of $.25 per share.

In Q4, 2021 Accelerate's R&D expenses fell 10 percent to $4.6 million from $5.1 million in the prior-year quarter. Costs for the development of Arc decreased in the period but were partly offset by increases in spending for the development of its next generation Pheno II instrument, the firm said.

Accelerate's Q4 SG&A costs rose 3 percent year over year to $11.5 million from $11.2 million, driven by increases to noncash stock-based compensation expense.

For full-year 2021, Accelerate posted total revenues of $11.8 million, up 5 percent from $11.2 million in 2020, and short of analysts' average estimate of $12.0 million. 

Accelerate posted a 2021 net loss of $77.7 million, or $1.26 per share, compared to a net loss of $78.2 million, or $1.40 per share, in 2020. The 2021 net loss included $22.0 million in noncash, stock-based compensation expense and a $4.5 million noncash inventory write-down. Net loss excluding noncash charges was $0.83 per share.

The consensus Wall Street estimate was for a net loss of $1.20 per share.

The firm's 2021 R&D costs rose 3 percent year over year to $21.9 million from $21.3 million, while its SG&A expenses rose 5 percent year over year to $49.2 million from $46.9 million.

At the end of 2021, the firm had cash and cash equivalents of $39.9 million.

For full-year 2022, Accelerate anticipates revenues between $13 million and $14 million, Phillips said.

Investment bank Craig Hallum announced Wednesday that it is downgrading Accelerate’s shares from a Buy to a Hold rating and lowering the target price to $5.00 because of its capital overhang.

With $64 million in cash, Accelerate is burning about $15 million per quarter and is required to pay $108 million in debt within 12 months, Craig Hallum research analyst Alexander Nowak said in a research note. "This liquidity crisis comes at a poor time for [Accelerate] too," he said, adding that its "business is finally emerging on the other side of the pandemic when access should be getting back to 2019 levels."

In early Wednesday morning trading on the Nasdaq, shares of Accelerate were down more than 10 percent to $2.04.