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Fluidigm Q1 Revenues Grow 19 Percent

This article has been updated from a previous version to include comments made by Fluidigm CEO Chris Linthwaite in an earnings call.

NEW YORK – Fluidigm reported after the close of the market on Thursday that its first quarter revenues increased 19 percent year over year as the company adjusted full-year revenue guidance downward due to uncertainty in the COVID-19 testing market.

For the three months ended March 31, the South San Francisco, California-based firm reported $32.8 million in total revenues compared to $27.6 million a year ago, edging out analysts' average expectation of $32.0 million.

Fluidigm's Q1 product revenue grew 30 percent to $24.7 million from $19.0 million a year ago, while its service revenue spiked 21 percent to $6.3 million from $5.2 million. Total product and service revenue of $31.0 million included $6.5 million in COVID-19-related revenue, the company said.

Other revenue (development, license, royalty, and grant revenue) fell 49 percent to $1.8 million from $3.5 million.

The company recorded $7.7 million in instrument revenue, a 19 percent decrease from the year-ago period. Consumables revenue was $17.0 million, up 79 percent from Q1 2020.

"We delivered solid performance in the quarter as we worked to transform our microfluidics and mass cytometry franchises into durable growth platforms," said Chris Linthwaite, Fluidigm president and CEO, in a statement. "Fundamental changes in our traditional markets will enable us to focus on next-generation healthcare decision tools, generate higher recurring revenues, and capitalize on a significant addressable market opportunity. We are acting with urgency to cultivate new revenue streams and partnerships in our core markets as vaccinations increase and the demand for COVID testing and related revenue wanes."

In February, following release of the company's fourth quarter and full-year 2020 earnings, Linthwaite said that the company envisions a "durable diagnostics business" beyond COVID-19 testing powered by its microfluidics technology, adding to its core omics research tools businesses.

In a conference call on Thursday following release of Fluidigm's Q1 earnings, Linthwaite reiterated this notion.

"Regardless of the dynamics of the near-term COVID testing market, ultimately the pandemic has accelerated our innovation pipeline and enabled us to build numerous assets and capabilities that we were missing before the crisis," Linthwaite said. "The pandemic accelerated our innovation activities, and yielded non-dilutive funding grants from government to help build foundations for a durable diagnostics franchise. These investments will also benefit our non-diagnostics business."

For example, he noted that the company is developing a new sample-to-answer cartridge that leverages the company's core microfluidics technology for PCR testing, a project that was in part made possible with funding from the National Institutes of Health's Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics program. This cartridge will initially run on the company's current BioMark HD instrument, but Fluidigm is also developing a new version of that platform with help from DARPA funding. The new cartridge is expected to hit the market in the next few months while the new BioMark platform will soon have an early-access program ahead of an anticipated launch late in the fourth quarter, Linthwaite said.

Meanwhile, the company is not ignoring its core business in terms of innovation, as Linthwaite noted a next-generation version of its mass cytometry platform for proteomics research is also in the works. He said the company will provide more details on this in the coming weeks and noted that "progress on this product roadmap, including feedback from early-access users, has contributed to our improved revenue outlook for our core business in the second half of the year."

Fluidigm's Q1 net loss swelled to $18.8 million, or $.25 per share, from a loss of $16.0 million, or $.23 per share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted loss per share of $.15 came in below analysts' expectation of $.14.

Fluidigm's Q1 R&D spending jumped 24 percent to $10.8 million from $8.7 million a year ago, while its SG&A expenses grew 22 percent to $27.6 million from $22.7 million.

The company finished the quarter with $49.7 million in cash and cash equivalents.

Fluidigm adjusted its annual revenue guidance downward to a range of $134 million to $140 million from a previous range of $144 million to $155 million. It said that expected COVID-19 revenues for 2021 would now be $14 million to $18 million compared to a previous range of $32 million to $38 million, partially offset by expected base business revenues of $116 million to $117 million compared to a previous range of $108 million to $112 million.

Full-year net loss is expected to be $57 million to $60 million, or $24 million to $27 million on an adjusted basis.

For the second quarter Fluidigm expects total revenue of $30 million to $32 million. It said it expects product and service revenues of $29 million to $31 million, or approximately 29 percent to 38 percent year-over-year growth. Excluding COVID-19 revenues, the company expects Q1 base business revenues of $26 million to $27 million, or approximately 28 percent to 33 percent growth.