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DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE:
Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc.
Annual Report on Form 10-K
For the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2022
Table of Contents
Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure
Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections
Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters
Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence
SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K, including the sections titled “Business,” “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” contain or may contain forward-looking statements that are based on the beliefs and assumptions of the management of Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc. (the “Company,” “we,” “us,” or “our”) and on information currently available to our management. The statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K that are not purely historical are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), and include, but are not limited to:
the availability, uses, accuracy, sensitivity, advantages, compatibility, pricing, specifications, quality, or performance of, or benefits or expected benefits or using, our products or technologies, including the RevioTM and OnsoTM systems;
our current and future products;
our strategic and commercial plans, including our expectations and plans for the commercial launches of the Revio and Onso systems;
our market opportunity, including market size and expected market growth;
our expectations regarding the conversion of backlog to revenue and the pricing and gross margin for products;
our manufacturing plans including developing and scaling of manufacturing and delivery of our products;
our research and development plans;
the anticipated impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business, business plans and results of operations;
our product development including, among other things, statements relating to future uses, quality, or performance of, or benefits of using, products or technologies, updates, or improvements of our products;
our intentions regarding seeking regulatory approval for our products;
our competitive landscape, including competition in the short- and long-read sequencing technologies markets;
our expectations regarding collaborations and partnerships;
our expectations regarding unrecognized income tax benefits;
our expectations regarding market risk, including interest rate changes and general macroeconomic conditions;
the sufficiency of cash, cash equivalents, and investments to fund projected operating requirements;
the effects of recent accounting pronouncements on our financial statements; and
other future events.
Forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as: “anticipates,” “believes,” “could,” “estimates,” “expects,” “intends,” “may,” “plans,” “potential,” “predicts,” “projects,” “seeks,” “should,” “target,” “will,” “would,” or similar expressions and the negatives of those terms. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance, or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements.
Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, those discussed under the heading “Risk Factors” in this report and in other documents we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Given these risks and uncertainties, you should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Also, forward-looking statements represent management’s beliefs and assumptions as of the date of this report. Except as required by law, we assume no obligation to update forward-looking statements publicly, or to update the reasons actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements, even if new information becomes available in the future.
This Annual Report on Form 10-K also contains estimates, projections, and other information concerning our industry, our business, and the markets for our products, including data regarding the estimated size and estimated growth for those markets. Information that is based on estimates, forecasts, projections, market research, or similar methodologies is inherently subject to uncertainties and actual events or circumstances may differ materially from events and circumstances reflected in this information. Unless otherwise expressly stated, we obtained this industry, business, market, and other data from reports, research surveys, studies, and similar data prepared by market research firms and other third parties, industry, medical and general publications, government data, and similar sources.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
We are a premier life science technology company that is designing, developing, and manufacturing advanced sequencing solutions that enable scientists and clinical researchers to improve their understanding of the genome and ultimately, resolve genetically complex problems.
Our products and technology under development stem from two highly differentiated core technologies focused on accuracy, quality, and completeness, which include our existing HiFi long-read sequencing technology and our emerging Sequencing by Binding (SBB®) short-read sequencing technology. Our products address solutions across a broad set of applications including human genomics sequencing, plant and animal sciences, infectious disease and microbiology, oncology, and other emerging applications. Long-read sequencing was recognized by the journal Nature Methods as its “method of the year” for 2022 for its contributions to biological understanding and future potential.
Our focus is on providing our customers with advanced sequencing technologies with higher throughput and improved workflows that we believe will enable dramatic advancements in routine healthcare.
Our customers include academic and governmental research institutions, commercial testing and service laboratories, genome centers, public health labs, hospitals and clinical research institutes, contract research organizations (CROs), pharmaceutical companies, and agricultural companies.
On October 25, 2022, we announced two new sequencing platforms, RevioTM and OnsoTM.
Revio is a new long-read sequencing system designed to enable the use of HiFi sequencing for large studies in human genetics, cancer research, and agricultural genomics. We began taking orders for Revio in the fourth quarter of 2022 and expect to commence commercial Revio shipments in March 2023.
Onso, a short-read DNA sequencing system, is designed to deliver industry-leading sensitivity and specificity for novel insights in oncology, disease research, and other applications. We commenced the beta program for Onso in the fourth quarter of 2022. We began taking orders for Onso during the first quarter of 2023 and remain on track for commercial shipment in the second quarter of 2023.
Our Mission and Impact
Our mission is to enable the promise of genomics to better human health. Genomics is core to all biological processes, and our advanced genomics tools provide scientists and clinical researchers with the insights to better understand biology and health. The “promise of genomics” postulates that medicine, agriculture, public health, drug development, and other disciplines will be fundamentally transformed with the incorporation of routine genomic information over the coming decades. We see early progress toward this transformation in the applied use of genomics in areas such as genetic disease, oncology, and sustainable food production. However, legacy genomics technologies have fundamental limitations in progressing these fields toward the promise of genomics. We believe that unleashing the full potential of genomics will require a level of accuracy and completeness that is inaccessible to legacy technologies. Accuracy and completeness are central to our product development strategy, and thus we have created some of the most innovative and high-quality genomics solutions on the market. Our products also have enhanced multi-omic capabilities to look beyond the genome to the transcriptome and epigenome, which we believe is key to deep understanding.
The Underlying Science
Genetic inheritance in living systems is conveyed through a naturally occurring information storage system known as deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA. DNA stores information in linear chains of the chemical bases adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine, represented by the symbols A, C, G, and T respectively.
In humans, the genome is comprised of approximately three billion DNA base-pairs, which are divided into 23 chromosomes ranging in size from 50 million to 250 million bases. A human carries two copies of the chromosomes, one inherited from each parent. There are approximately 23,000 smaller regions within these chromosomes, called genes, which contain the blueprints for protein production. The proteins synthesized from these blueprints essentially underlie the operation of all biological systems.
Genome sequencing reads the bases of long fragments of nucleic acids. Initial genome sequencing studies have shown that mutations in these DNA base-pairs play a critical role in human disease, contributing to the burgeoning field of genomics. Since then, recent discoveries have highlighted additional complexities of DNA and ribonucleic acid, or RNA. These discoveries include the presence of chemical modifications to the bases, such as methylation, and post-translational modification, or the processing of RNA molecules after they are transcribed from the genome, both of which can affect protein synthesis.
Our Principal Markets
Researchers utilize our solutions in human genomics, plant and animal sciences, infectious disease and microbiology, oncology, and other emerging applications.
Human Genomics: Improving rare disease research and understanding
According to a World Health Organization publication, it is estimated that 400 million people worldwide are affected by up to 8,000 distinct rare diseases, with 80% of these believed to be genetic in nature. These genetic diseases are DNA differences, called variants, in the affected individuals. Variants range in size from single nucleotide substitutions to large losses or gains of entire chromosomes. Other sequencing technologies applied to rare disease diagnosis are technologically limited to interrogating small variants, representing only a subset of possible genomic variation. Consequently, most genetic disease cases are undiagnosed, leaving families on multi-year diagnostic odysseys. Sequencing the human genome with long and accurate reads enables the potential detection of all known classes of disease-causing variation. In addition, the ability of PacBio’s long-read sequencing technology to detect 5-Methylcytosine DNA methylation, an epigenetic modification shown to alter gene behavior, may enable further advances in research and development in genetic disease diagnosis.
Infectious Disease and Microbiology: Understanding and tracking microbes and pathogens in support of global public health
Our technology has increased the scientific community’s understanding of microorganisms and viruses and their malignancy, transmission, and potential resistance to antibiotics or vaccines. Our sequencing technology delivers highly comprehensive and complete genomes, enabling federal agencies, public health organizations, and healthcare providers to conduct wide-ranging research and surveillance activities to:
generate high quality, complete genome assemblies, revealing variants of all known types, to gain a deeper understanding of community-acquired and hospital-associated infections and transmissions;
identify and characterize pathogens to inform regional, national, and global public health agencies for preparation and response to rapidly evolving microorganisms; and
characterize complex microbial communities to understand their role in human, animal, and environmental health.
Oncology: Enable the discoveries of underlying causes of cancer, progression, and relapse
Understanding the cellular and molecular complexity of tumor cells is critical in developing more effective targeted cancer therapies. Single-cell transcriptomics is particularly impactful in defining cellular identity and function; however, other technologies miss critical information by only sequencing a portion of RNA. Our long-read RNA sequencing method, single-cell Iso-Seq (scIso-Seq), accurately detects molecular events such as RNA isoforms and expressed mutations and provides gene expression information at the single-cell level. We believe scIso-Seq is uniquely positioned to enable discoveries by researchers of the underlying causes of cancer initiation, progression, and relapse, as well as the discovery by researchers of novel diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive biomarkers that may inform future clinical tests.
As novel discoveries continue to be made using our long-read sequencing technology, we believe our SBB short-read sequencing technology will enable us to meet the demands of customers in the expanding non-invasive testing market in oncology. Due to the small amounts of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) present in the blood of early-stage cancer patients and those with minimal residual disease (MRD), the presence of cancer often goes undetected, and a more sensitive assay will be required. Based on testing internally and at beta customer sites, we believe our SBB technology has the potential to offer higher accuracy than competitor sequencing technologies, which may in the future support our customers’ development of more sensitive tests for the purpose of earlier detection and more robust monitoring of cancer.
Plant and Animal Sciences: Helping scientists answer biological questions across a broad range of plant and animal sciences
There are hundreds of thousands of distinct plant and animal species. Our technology is used to build de novo reference genomes for these organisms across several global initiatives which are dedicated to preserving, monitoring, and cataloging biodiversity with actionable and accurate genomic data.
Our Technology, Products, and Solutions
We have developed HiFi long-read sequencing based on Single-Molecule Real-Time (SMRT) technology, which accurately detects the nucleotide sequence and epigenetic status of individual DNA molecules. We are also expanding our genomic solutions with our short-read SBB chemistry, which offers sensitive sequencing for short-read applications. Upon launch of the SBB platform, we believe we will be the only company offering both native long-read and native short-read technologies into the market.
Our sales consist of sequencing instruments, nanofluidic chips (SMRT Cells), and reagents for preparing DNA and performing sequencing based on our SMRT technology; reagents for DNA extraction based on our nanobind technology; and the services we perform for customers.
HiFi Long-Read Sequencing
Our HiFi long-read sequencing protocol was built upon our SMRT sequencing systems, including consumables and software, and offers customized end-to-end workflows for different sequencing applications. Highly accurate, long sequence reads simplify and accelerate data analysis algorithms, reducing the needs for error correction steps and/or assembly aspects, depending on the application.
Customers use our HiFi long-read sequencing platforms in a wide range of sequencing applications, including whole genome sequencing and de novo genome assembly, long-range phasing, targeted sequencing, full-length RNA and single-cell sequencing, characterization of metagenomic communities and other mixed DNA samples, viral genome sequencing, and others. Our technology is also capable of detecting epigenetic markers simultaneously by analyzing the kinetics of DNA polymerization that is affected, and thereby detectable, by epigenetic markers such as 5-methylcytosine or N6-methyladenine.
Our proprietary SMRT Technology enables the observation of DNA synthesis as it occurs in real time by harnessing the natural process of DNA replication, which in nature is a highly efficient and accurate process actuated by DNA polymerases. DNA polymerases attach to a strand of DNA to be replicated, examine the individual base at the point it is attached, and then determine which of the four building blocks, or nucleotides (A, C, G, or T), is required to complement that individual base. After determining which nucleotide is required, the polymerases incorporate that nucleotide into the growing strand being produced.
SMRT Sequencing is based on following the activity of DNA polymerase on individual DNA molecules in real time that occurs on our SMRT Cells that are monitored and analyzed within our HiFi long-read sequencing systems: the Revio system, Sequel II system, Sequel IIe system, and Sequel system. Carried out on SMRTbell® templates, which attach hairpin adapters to the ends of double-stranded DNA molecules to be sequenced, SMRT sequencing allows for the successive sequencing of both the forward and reverse strands of the individual DNA molecule occurring multiple times, thereby allowing for the same base of the same molecule to be sequenced more than once in a sequencing run. The base calls from the serial observation of the molecule can be processed to generate the final base call in an analytical procedure called circular consensus sequencing, leading to what we have defined as our HiFi sequence reads, which have high accuracy typically being defined as having greater than 99% read accuracy, but often exceeding greater than 99.9% accuracy, according to research we performed in collaboration with other researchers, subsequently published in Nature Biotechnology in 2019. HiFi reads typically are 15-20 kilobases in size, depending on the input fragments, providing sufficient read length with our accuracy to support a multitude of applications across human health, plant and animal, and microbiology, according to research we performed in collaboration with other researchers, subsequently published in Scientific Data in 2020. The ability to generate single-DNA molecule sequence reads that are both long and highly accurate allows researchers to obtain more contiguous, complete, and accurate genomic data, thereby allowing for greater insights into the complexity of biological systems.
HiFi Long-Read Sequencing Instruments: Revio system + Sequel systems
Our Revio, Sequel, Sequel II, and Sequel IIe instruments conduct, monitor, and analyze single-molecule biochemical reactions in real time. The instruments use extremely sensitive imaging systems to collect the light pulses emitted by fluorescent reagents allowing the observation of biological processes. Computer algorithms are used to translate the information that is captured by the optics system. Using the recorded information, light pulses are converted into either an A, C, G, or T base call with associated quality metrics. Once sequencing is started, the real-time data is delivered to the system’s primary analysis pipeline, which outputs base identity and quality values.
Customers purchase proprietary consumable products to run their PacBio systems, including our SMRT Cells and reagent kits. One SMRT Cell is consumed per sequencing reaction, and scientists can choose the number of SMRT Cells they use per experiment.
We offer several reagent kits, each designed to address a specific step in the core sequencing workflow. A library preparation kit is used to convert DNA into SMRTbell double-stranded DNA library formats and includes typical molecular biology reagents, such as ligase, buffers, and exonucleases. Our binding kits include our modified DNA polymerase and are used to bind SMRTbell libraries to the polymerase in preparation for sequencing. Our core sequencing kits contain reagents required for on-instrument, real-time sequencing, including phospholinked nucleotides.
We have also developed and offer the Multiplexed Arrays Sequencing (MAS-Seq) 3’ kit to enable cost-effective long-read single-cell RNA sequencing for a more complete interrogation of the transcriptome. The MAS-Seq kit takes single-cell cDNA as an input and outputs a sequencing-ready library, which enables researchers to move beyond gene counting to get full-length isoform information, characterize the full diversity of transcript isoforms at the single-cell level and ultimately reveal cell type-specific spliced isoforms and expressed variants.
In addition, we offer HiFiViral for SARS-CoV-2, our first fit-for-purpose, end-to-end solution for COVID-19 genome sequencing. This solution uses a differentiated molecular inversion probe (MIPs) design that is robust to the emergence of new variants in the COVID-19 genome and allows for detection of all known classes of variation across the entire viral genome. Both characteristics are required for efficient and effective public health surveillance programs battling the COVID-19 pandemic. The solution also includes fit-for-purpose software that enables automated variant calling and preparation of files for submission into public databases tracking the evolution of the COVID-19 genome.
SBB Short-Read Sequencing
In contrast to SMRT sequencing, SBB reads short fragments of DNA (hundreds of bases instead of kilobases) in a massively parallel manner. Current short-read next generation sequencing technologies available in the market incur various rates of errors in results. Researchers deploy multiple tactics to try to mitigate these effects, including oversampling or implementing complex library preparation methods, yet still face challenges, including missing rare variants.
We believe our proprietary SBB approach will enable researchers to address the gap in detecting rare variants, especially in complex heterogenous samples. Employing a two-phase sequencing chemistry, the SBB approach binds a dye-labeled nucleotide without incorporation into the DNA chain, then removes that base, then blocks and extends with a terminated nucleotide. Using nucleotides with single modifications, we incorporate more native bases, avoiding potential scarring due to fluorescent linker presence. This design helps avoid raw errors and we believe can help us develop a product with substantially greater accuracy than currently marketed short-read sequencing products. SBB enables simplified upfront library preparation, redefines coverage requirements, and reduces bioinformatic workload for downstream analysis. The accuracy of our novel sequencing approach has the potential to advance translational cancer research, drive higher fidelity single-cell applications, and broadly enable clinical sequencing—even in regions of the genome prone to sequencing errors with other short-read sequencing technologies.
SBB Short-Read Sequencing Instrument: Onso system
Our Onso instrument, currently under development, conducts, monitors, and analyzes SBB biochemical reactions. The instrument uses extremely sensitive imaging systems to collect the light emitted by fluorescent reagents allowing the observation of biological processes. Computer algorithms are used to translate the information that is captured by the optics system. Using the recorded information, light pulses are converted into either an A, C, G, or T base call with associated quality metrics. Once sequencing is started, the imaging data is delivered to the system’s primary analysis pipeline, which outputs base identity and quality values.
After Onso’s anticipated launch in the second quarter of 2023, our SBB consumable products will be available for purchase, including flow cells, clustering, and sequencing reagent kits. One flow cell and associated sequencing reagent pack is consumed per sequencing reaction. Each flow cell contains two lanes and scientists can choose to sequence different samples in each lane while additionally combining any number of flow cells needed per experiment.
We intend to offer several reagent kits, each designed to address a specific step in the core sequencing workflow. A library preparation kit is used to convert DNA into SBB compatible, double-stranded DNA library formats and includes typical molecular biology reagents, such as ligase, buffers, and exonucleases. Additionally for library preparation, our conversion kits include reagents to enable scientists to convert existing sequencing libraries into an SBB compatible format. Finally, our clustering and sequencing kits contain all reagents required for generating sequence ready clusters on flow cell and performing SBB sequencing reactions on instrument, respectively.
Our Strategy for Growth
To enable the promise of genomics, our strategy includes the following key elements:
drive rapid adoption of Revio by converting existing Sequel II/IIe customers and attracting new PacBio customers
demonstrate Onso’s extraordinary level of accuracy in the field and show how it can transform research in needle-in-haystack applications
progress development of ultra-high-throughput and bench top long-read sequencers and next generation SBB short-read sequencer
leverage current infrastructure to drive toward positive cash flow
expand partnerships across ecosystem and workflow to drive customer adoption of SBB short-read sequencing and HiFi long-read sequencing
Marketing, Sales, Service, and Support
We market our products through a global sales force and through distribution partners in Asia and Australia, certain parts of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America. We plan to continue to invest in growing our marketing, sales, service, and support resources as we drive continued adoption of products, launch new products, and expand our customer base.
Our business is subject to seasonal trends. See the Risk Factors section, specifically the risk factor titled Our operating results fluctuate from quarter to quarter and year over year, which makes our future results difficult to predict and could negatively impact the market price of our common stock for additional information.
Our customers include academic and governmental research institutions, commercial testing and service laboratories, genome centers, public health labs, hospitals and clinical research institutes, contract research organizations (CROs), pharmaceutical companies, and agricultural companies. In general, our customers will isolate, prepare, and analyze genetic samples using PacBio sequencing systems in their own laboratories, or they will send their genetic samples to third-party service providers who in turn will sequence the samples with PacBio systems and provide the sequence data back to the customer for further analysis. For example, customers in academic research institutions may have bacteria, animal, or human DNA samples isolated from various sources while agricultural biology companies may have DNA samples isolated from different strains of rice, corn, or other crops. For the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021, and 2020, one customer accounted for approximately 12%, 13%, and 14% of our total revenue, respectively.
We believe that the majority of our current customers are early adopters of sequencing technology. By focusing our efforts on high-value applications, and developing whole product solutions around these applications, we seek to drive the adoption of our products across a broader customer base and into numerous large-scale projects. In general, the broader adoption of new technologies by mainstream customers can take a number of years.
As of December 31, 2022, our instrument backlog was approximately $45.4 million, compared to $2.0 million as of December 31, 2021. We define backlog as purchase orders or signed contracts from our customers, which we believe are firm and for which we have not yet recognized revenue. We expect to convert this backlog to revenue during 2023; however, our ability to do so is subject to customers who may seek to cancel or delay their orders even if we are prepared to fulfill them.
We manufacture sequencing instruments, SMRT cells, and reagents. Our key manufacturing and service facility in Menlo Park, California has received ISO 13485 and ISO 9001 certifications for the design, development, manufacture, distribution, installation, and servicing of its nucleic acid sequencing platforms. We utilize subcontract manufacturers for components of the manufacturing process. We purchase both custom and off-the-shelf components from a large number of suppliers and subject them to significant quality specifications. We periodically conduct quality audits of most of our critical suppliers and have established a supplier certification program. Some of the components required in our products are currently either sole sourced or single sourced.
Research and Development
We have historically made and plan to continue to make significant investments in research and development. Our research and development efforts focus on programs to develop new and existing platforms, as well as increasing throughput and decreasing costs on behalf of our customers. We are currently developing higher throughput platforms that encompass our HiFi long-read sequencing. Our mid-throughput short-read Sequencing by Binding platform, Onso, is currently under development. In addition to platform development, we also innovate across end-to-end workflows to improve usability, as well as develop new applications for the advancement of human health.
Developing and maintaining a strong intellectual property portfolio is an important element of our business. We have sought, and will continue to seek, patent protection for our SMRT and SBB technology, for improvements to our SMRT and SBB technology, as well as for any of our other technologies where we believe such protection will be advantageous.
Our current patent portfolio, including patents exclusively licensed to us, is directed to various technologies, including SMRT nucleic acid sequencing and other methods for analyzing biological samples, ZMW arrays, surface treatments, phospholinked nucleotides and other reagents for use in nucleic acid sequencing, optical short-read nucleic acid sequencing, nucleic acid preparation, and purification components and systems, processes for identifying nucleotides within nucleic acid sequences, and processes for analysis and comparison of nucleic acid sequence data. Some of the patents and applications that we own, as well as some of the patents and applications that we have licensed from other parties, are subject to U.S. government march-in rights, whereby the U.S. government may disregard our exclusive patent rights on its own behalf or on behalf of third parties by imposing licenses in certain circumstances, such as if we fail to achieve practical application of the U.S. government funded technology, because action is necessary to alleviate health or safety needs, to meet requirements of federal regulations, or to give preference to U.S. industry. In addition, U.S. government funded inventions must be reported to the government and U.S. government funding must be disclosed in any resulting patent applications.
As of December 31, 2022, we own or hold exclusive licenses to 406 issued U.S. patents, 100 pending U.S. patent applications, 396 granted foreign patents, and 158 pending foreign patent applications, including foreign counterparts of U.S. patent and patent applications. The full term of the issued U.S. patents will expire between 2023 and 2041. We also have non-exclusive patent licenses with various third parties to supplement our own large and robust patent portfolio.
Of our exclusively licensed patent applications, two issued U.S. patents are licensed to us by the Cornell Research Foundation, which manages technology transfers on behalf of Cornell University.
Other Sequencing Solutions
There are a significant number of companies offering nucleic acid sequencing equipment or consumables. These include, but are not limited to, Illumina, Inc. (“Illumina”), BGI Genomics (also known as MGI or Complete Genomics), Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (“Thermo”), Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd. (“ONT Ltd.”), Roche Holding AG (“Roche”), Qiagen N.V. (“Qiagen”), Element Biosciences, Inc. (“Element”), Bionano Genomics, Inc. (“Bionano”), Ultima Genomics, Inc. (“Ultima”) and Singular Genomics Systems, Inc. (“Singular”). These companies may have different levels of financial, technical, manufacturing, administrative, and support resources available to them. We expect the competition to intensify within the overall nucleic acid sequencing market as there are also several companies developing new sequencing technologies, products and/or services. Increased competition may result in pricing pressures, which could harm our sales, profitability, or share of supply.
In order for us to maintain and increase our sales, we will need to demonstrate that our products deliver superior performance and value as a result of our key differentiators. Our HiFi long-read sequencing will need to continue to deliver very high consensus accuracy and long-read lengths and include single-molecule, real-time resolution, with the ability to detect real-time kinetic information, fast time to result and flexibility, as well as support the breadth and depth of current and future applications.
The development, testing, manufacturing, marketing, post-market surveillance, distribution, advertising, and labeling of certain medical devices, including in vitro diagnostic products and laboratory-developed tests, are subject to regulation in the United States by the Center for Devices and Radiological Health of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and comparable state and foreign regulatory agencies. FDA defines a medical device as an instrument, apparatus, implement, machine, contrivance, implant, in vitro reagent, or other similar or related article, including any component part or accessory, which is (i) intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions, or in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, in man or other animals, or (ii) intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals and which does not achieve any of its primary intended purposes through chemical action within or on the body of man or other animals and which is not dependent upon being
metabolized for the achievement of any of its primary intended purposes. Medical devices to be commercially distributed in the United States must receive from the FDA either clearance of a pre-market notification, known as 510(k), or pre-market approval pursuant to the FDC Act prior to marketing, unless subject to an exemption.
We intend to label and sell our products for research use only (“RUO”) and expect to sell them to research customers in various settings, including academic institutions, life sciences and research laboratories that conduct research, and biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies for non-diagnostic and non-clinical purposes. Our current RUO products are not intended or promoted for use in clinical practice in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions, and they are labeled for research use only, not for use in diagnostic procedures. Accordingly, we believe our products, as we intend to market them, are not subject to regulation by the FDA. Rather, while FDA regulations require that RUO products be labeled for research use only and to market and distribute RUO products in accordance with the FDA RUO guidance, the regulations do not subject RUO products to the FDA’s jurisdiction or the broader pre- and post-market controls for medical devices. However, in the future, certain of our products or related applications, such as those that may be developed for clinical uses, could be subject to FDA regulation, or the FDA’s regulatory jurisdiction could be expanded to include our products. If we wish to label and expand product lines to address the diagnosis of disease, regulation by governmental authorities in the United States and other countries will become an increasingly significant factor in development, testing, production, and marketing. In the future, products that we may develop in the molecular diagnostic markets, depending on their intended use, may be regulated as medical devices or in vitro diagnostic products (“IVDs”) by the FDA and comparable agencies in other countries. In the U.S., if we market our products for use in performing clinical diagnostics, such products would be subject to regulation by the FDA under pre-market and post-market control as medical devices, unless an exemption applies, and we would be required to obtain either prior 510(k) clearance or prior pre-market approval from the FDA before commercializing the product. Obtaining the requisite regulatory approvals can be expensive and may involve considerable delay. Some countries have regulatory review processes that are substantially longer than U.S. processes. Failure to obtain regulatory approval in a timely manner and meet all of the local regulatory requirements including language and specific safety standards in any foreign country in which we plan to market our products could prevent us from marketing products in such countries or subject us to sanctions and fines. Changes to the current regulatory framework, including the imposition of additional or new regulations, could arise at any time during the development or marketing of our products.
In November 2013, the FDA issued a final guidance on products labeled for research use only, which, among other things, reaffirmed that a company may not make any clinical or diagnostic claims about an RUO product, stating that merely including a labeling statement that the product is for research purposes only will not necessarily render the device exempt from the FDA’s clearance, approval, or other regulatory requirements if the totality of circumstances surrounding the distribution of the product indicates that the manufacturer knows its product is being used by customers for diagnostic uses or the manufacturer intends such a use. These circumstances may include, among other things, written or verbal marketing claims regarding a product’s performance in clinical diagnostic applications and a manufacturer’s provision of technical support for such activities. If FDA were to determine, based on the totality of circumstances, that our products labeled and marketed for RUO are intended for diagnostic purposes, they would be considered medical devices that will require clearance or approval prior to commercialization. Further, sales of devices for diagnostic purposes may subject us to additional healthcare regulation. We continue to monitor the changing legal and regulatory landscape to ensure our compliance with any applicable rules, laws and regulations.
The FDA classifies medical devices into one of three classes. Devices deemed to pose lower risk to the patient are placed in either class I or II, which, unless an exemption applies, requires the manufacturer to submit a pre-market notification requesting FDA clearance for commercial distribution pursuant to Section 510(k) of the FDCA. This process, known as 510(k) clearance, requires that the manufacturer demonstrate that the device is substantially equivalent to a previously cleared and legally marketed 510(k) device or a “pre-amendment” class III device for which pre-market approval applications (“PMAs”) have not been required by the FDA. This FDA review process typically takes from four to twelve months, although it can take longer. Most Class I devices are exempted from this 510(k) pre-market submission requirement. If no legally marketed predicate can be identified for a new device to enable the use of the 510(k) pathway, the device is automatically classified under the FDCA as Class III, which generally requires pre-market approval, or PMA approval. However, the FDA can reclassify or use “de novo classification” for a device that meets the FDCA standards for a Class II device, permitting the device to be marketed without PMA approval. To grant such a reclassification, FDA must determine that the FDCA’s general controls alone, or general controls and special controls together, are sufficient to provide a reasonable assurance of the device’s safety and effectiveness. The de novo classification route is generally less burdensome than the PMA approval process.
Devices deemed by the FDA to pose the greatest risk, such as life-sustaining, life-supporting, or implantable devices, or those deemed not substantially equivalent to a legally marketed predicate device, are placed in class III. Class III devices typically require PMA approval. To obtain PMA approval, an applicant must demonstrate the reasonable safety and effectiveness of the device based, in part, on data obtained in clinical studies. All clinical studies of investigational medical devices to determine safety and effectiveness must be conducted in accordance with FDA’s investigational device exemption (“IDE”) regulations, including the requirement for the study sponsor to submit an IDE application to FDA, unless exempt, which must become effective prior to commencing human clinical studies. PMA reviews generally last between one and two years,
although they can take longer. Both the 510(k) and the PMA processes can be expensive and lengthy and may not result in clearance or approval. If we are required to submit our products for pre-market review by the FDA, we may be required to delay marketing and commercialization while we obtain pre-market clearance or approval from the FDA. There would be no assurance that we could ever obtain such clearance or approval.
All medical devices, including IVDs, that are regulated by the FDA are also subject to the quality system regulation. Obtaining the requisite regulatory approvals, including the FDA quality system inspections that are required for PMA approval, can be expensive and may involve considerable delay. The regulatory approval process for such products may be significantly delayed, may be significantly more expensive than anticipated, and may conclude without such products being approved by the FDA. Without timely regulatory approval, we will not be able to launch or successfully commercialize such diagnostic products. Changes to the current regulatory framework, including the imposition of additional or new regulations, could arise at any time during the development or marketing of our products. This may negatively affect our ability to obtain or maintain FDA or comparable regulatory clearance or approval of our products in the future. In addition, regulatory agencies may introduce new requirements that may change the regulatory requirements for us or our customers, or both.
As noted above, although our products are currently labeled and sold for research purposes only, the regulatory requirements related to marketing, selling, and supporting such products could be uncertain and depend on the totality of circumstances. This uncertainty exists even if such use by our customers occurs without our consent. If the FDA or other regulatory authorities assert that any of our RUO products are subject to regulatory clearance or approval, our business, financial condition, or results of operations could be adversely affected.
For example, in some cases, our customers, including laboratories that offer services as part of our certified service provider program, may use our RUO products in their own laboratory-developed tests (“LDTs”) or in other FDA-regulated products for clinical diagnostic use. The FDA has historically exercised enforcement discretion in not enforcing the medical device regulations against LDTs and LDT manufacturers. However, on October 3, 2014, the FDA issued two draft guidance documents that set forth the FDA’s proposed risk-based framework for regulating LDTs, which are designed, manufactured, and used within a single laboratory. In January 2017, the FDA announced that it would not issue final guidance on the oversight of LDTs and LDT manufacturers but would seek further public discussion on an appropriate oversight approach and give Congress an opportunity to develop a legislative solution. The FDA has issued warning letters to genomics labs for illegally marketing genetic tests that claim to predict patients’ responses to specific medications, noting that the FDA has not created a legal “carve-out” for LDTs and retains discretion to take action when appropriate, such as when certain genomic tests raise significant public health concerns. As laboratories and manufacturers develop more complex genetic tests and diagnostic software, the FDA may increase its regulation of LDTs. Legislative and administrative proposals to amend the FDA's oversight of LDTs have been introduced in recent years, including the Verifying Accurate Leading-edge IVCT Development Act of 2021 (the “VALID Act”). In September 2022, Congress passed the FDA user fee reauthorization legislation without substantive FDA policy riders, including the VALID Act, but Congress may revisit the policy riders and enact other FDA programmatic reforms in the future. Any future legislative or administrative rule making or oversight of LDTs and LDT manufacturers, if and when finalized, may impact the sales of our products and how customers use our products, and may require us to change our business model in order to maintain compliance with these laws. We would become subject to additional FDA requirements if our products are determined to be medical devices or if we elect to seek 510(k) clearance or pre-market approval. If our products become subject to FDA regulation as medical devices, we would need to invest significant time and resources to ensure ongoing compliance with FDA quality system regulations and other post-market regulatory requirements.
If our products become subject to FDA regulation as medical devices, the regulatory clearance or approval and the maintenance of continued and post-market regulatory compliance for such products will be expensive, time-consuming, and uncertain both in timing and in outcome. Commercialization of such regulated medical devices can increase our exposure under additional laws. For example, medical device companies are subject to additional healthcare regulation and enforcement by the federal government and by authorities in the states and foreign jurisdictions in which they conduct their business and may constrain the financial arrangements and relationships through which we research, as well as sell, market and distribute any medical products for which we obtain marketing authorization. Such laws include, without limitation, state and federal anti-kickback, fraud and abuse, false claims, data privacy and security, and transparency laws and regulations related to payments and other transfers of value made to physicians and other healthcare providers. If our operations are found to be in violation of any of such laws or any other governmental regulations that apply, we may be subject to penalties, including, without limitation, administrative, civil, and criminal penalties, damages, fines, disgorgement, the curtailment or restructuring of operations, integrity oversight and reporting obligations, exclusion from participation in federal and state healthcare programs and imprisonment.
In the future, to the extent we develop any clinical diagnostic assays, we may pursue payment for such products through a diverse and broad range of channels and seek coverage and reimbursement by government health insurance programs and commercial third-party payors for such products. In the United States, there is no uniform coverage for clinical laboratory tests. The extent of coverage and rate of payment for covered services or items vary from payor to payor. Obtaining coverage
and reimbursement for such products can be uncertain, time-consuming, and expensive, and, even if favorable coverage and reimbursement status were attained for our tests, to the extent applicable, less favorable coverage policies and reimbursement rates may be implemented in the future. Changes in healthcare regulatory policies could also increase our costs and subject us to additional regulatory requirements that may interrupt commercialization of our products, decrease our revenue and adversely impact sales of, and pricing of and reimbursement for, our products.
International sales of medical devices are subject to foreign government regulations, which vary substantially from country to country. In the future, if we decide to distribute or market our diagnostic products as IVDs in Europe, such products are subject to regulation under the European Union (“EU”) IVD Medical Device Regulation (“IVDR”) EU 2017/746. Outside of the EU, regulatory approval needs to be sought on a country-by-country basis in order to market medical devices. Although there is a trend towards harmonization of a quality system, standards and regulations in each country may vary substantially, which can affect timelines of introduction.
We are committed to the protection of our employees and the environment. Our operations require the use of hazardous materials that subject us to various federal, state, and local environmental and safety laws and regulations. We believe that we are in material compliance with current applicable laws and regulations. However, we could be held liable for damages and fines should contamination of the environment or individual exposures to hazardous substances occur. In addition, we cannot predict how changes in these laws and regulations, or the development of new laws and regulations, will affect our business operations or the cost of compliance.
Additionally, we must comply with complex foreign and U.S. laws and regulations, such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the U.K. Bribery Act, and other local laws prohibiting corrupt payments to governmental officials, anti-competition regulations and sanctions imposed by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control, and other similar laws and regulations. Violations of these laws and regulations could result in fines and penalties, criminal sanctions, restrictions on our business conduct, and on our ability to offer our products in one or more countries, and could also materially affect our brand, our ability to attract and retain employees, our international operations, our business, and our operating results. Although we have implemented policies and procedures designed to ensure compliance with these laws and regulations, there can be no assurance that our employees, contractors, or agents will not violate our policies.
As we continue to expand our business into multiple international markets, our success will depend, in large part, on our ability to anticipate and effectively manage these and other risks associated with our international operations. Any of these risks could harm our international operations and negatively impact our sales, adversely affecting our business, results of operations, financial condition, and growth prospects.
As of December 31, 2022, we had 769 full-time employees. Of these employees, 352 were in research and development, 64 were in operations, 36 were in service, 204 were in marketing, sales, and customer support, and 113 were in general and administration. With the exception of our field-based sales, marketing, and service teams, the majority of our employees are in California. None of our employees are represented by labor unions or are covered by a collective bargaining agreement with respect to their employment. We have not experienced any work stoppages, and we consider our relationship with our employees to be good.
Talent Acquisition and Retention
We recognize that our employees largely contribute to our success. To this end, we support business growth by seeking to attract and retain best-in-class talent. Our talent acquisition team uses internal and external resources to recruit highly skilled candidates globally.
Our total rewards philosophy has been to invest in our workforce by offering competitive and fair compensation and benefits packages. We provide employees with compensation packages that include base salary, short-term incentives such as annual bonuses and commissions, and long-term equity awards. We also offer comprehensive employee benefits, which vary by country and region, such as life, disability, and health insurance, health savings and flexible spending accounts, paid time off, paid parental leave, Employee Stock Purchase Program, and a 401(k) plan. It is our expressed intent to be an employer of choice in our industry by providing market-competitive compensation and benefits packages.
Health, Safety, and Wellness
The health, safety, and wellness of our employees is a priority in which we have always invested and will continue to do so. We provide our employees and their families with access to a variety of innovative, flexible, and convenient health and wellness programs. Program benefits are intended to provide protection and security, so employees can have peace of mind concerning events that may require time away from work or that may impact their financial well-being. These programs are highlighted regularly in our monthly human resources newsletters.
We continue our investments in, and the prioritization of, employee health, safety, and wellness in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. To protect and support our essential team members, we have implemented health and safety measures that included a mandatory vaccination policy for our U.S.-based employees, maximizing personal workspaces, changing shift schedules, and providing personal protective equipment (PPE). We have also supported access to testing by holding on-site testing clinics available to employees and their family members. We continue to monitor this evolving situation and will continue to seek programs to educate and assist employees whenever possible.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
We believe a diverse workforce is critical to our success. Our mission is to value differences in races, ethnicities, religions, nationalities, genders, ages, sexual orientations, as well as education, skill sets and experience. We offer training programs on diversity awareness to help employees understand, recognize, respond, and prevent bias throughout the employee lifecycle. We are focused on inclusive hiring practices, fair and equitable treatment, organizational flexibility, and training and resources.
Training and Development
We believe in encouraging employees to becoming lifelong learners by providing ongoing learning and leadership training opportunities. We provide a scaled learning platform of on-demand and virtual classroom learning focused on personal and professional development. While we strive to provide real-time recognition of employee performance, we have a formal annual review process not only to determine pay and equity adjustments tied to individual contributions, but to identify areas where training and development may be needed.
Our website is located at www.pacb.com. The information posted on, or that can be accessed through, our website is not incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and the inclusion of our website address is an inactive textual reference only. Our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to reports filed or furnished pursuant to Sections 13(a) and 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, are available free of charge through the “Investor Relations” section of our website as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC. The SEC also maintains a website that contains our SEC filings. The address of the site is www.sec.gov.
Additionally, we use our website (including the blog section of our website) as well as our Twitter account (@pacbio) as a channel of distribution for important company information and to comply with our disclosure obligations under Regulation FD. Important information, including press releases, analyst presentations, and financial information regarding us, as well as corporate governance information, is routinely posted and accessible on the “Investor Relations” section of the website, which is accessible by clicking on the tab labeled “Company - Investors” on our website home page. In addition, important information is routinely posted and accessible on the blog section of our website, which is accessible through our website at www.pacb.com/blog, as well as our Twitter account (@pacbio). The contents of our website and our Twitter account are not incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K or in any other report or document we file with the SEC, and any references to our website or Twitter account are intended to be inactive textual references only.
ITEM 1A.RISK FACTORS
You should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described below, together with all of the other information in our public filings with the SEC, which could materially affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. The risks described below are not the only risks facing us. Risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently deem to be immaterial also may materially affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. In addition, any worsening of the economic environment and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may exacerbate the risks described below, any of which could have a material impact on us. This situation is changing rapidly, and additional impacts may arise that we are not aware of currently.
Summary Risk Factors
The following is a summary of the principal risks that could adversely affect our business, operations, and financial results. Such risks are discussed more fully below and include, but are not limited to, risks related to:
our ability to successfully market, commercialize, and sell current and future products and related maintenance services;
our ability to achieve profitability for our business;
our ability to successfully leverage and integrate our acquisitions and future acquisitions;
our ability to successfully research, develop and timely manufacture our current and future products;
management of new product introductions and transitions, resultant costs, and ability of new products to generate promised performance;
recent significant changes to our leadership team and resultant disruptions to our business;
retention, recruitment, and training of senior management, key personnel, scientists and engineers;
our ability to further penetrate nucleic acid sequencing applications, as well as grow product demand;
our reliance on outsourcing to other companies for manufacturing certain components and sub-assemblies, some of which are sole-sourced;
our ability to consistently manufacture our instruments and consumables to meet customers’ specifications, quantity, cost, or performance requirements;
the high amount of competition we face in our industry;
our ability to attract customers and increase sales of current and future products;
reliance on a limited number of customers for a significant portion of our revenues, including academic, research and government institutions;
the complexity of our products giving rise to defects or errors;
our unpredictable and lengthy sales cycles;
our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected by political and economic tensions between the United States and other countries, including China and Russia;
securing and maintaining patent or other intellectual property protection for our products and related improvements;
current and future legal proceedings filed against us claiming intellectual property infringement;
the potential adverse impact of health epidemics, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic;
governmental regulations that burden operations or narrow the market for our products;
evolving ethical, legal, privacy, social, and regulatory concerns regarding genetic testing;
volatility of the price of our common stock; and
our stock price falling as a result of future offerings or sales of securities.
Our risk factors are not guarantees that no such conditions exist as of the date hereof and should not be interpreted as an affirmative statement that such risks or conditions have not materialized, in whole or in part.
Risks Related to Our Business
The commercialization and sales of our current or future products may be unsuccessful or less successful than anticipated. While we plan to continue pursuing new products and expand into adjacent markets, we have limited experience in managing and selling multiple products and, as a result, may face challenges selling in new markets and fail to successfully carry out these initiatives, which may adversely impact our business, financial condition or results of operation.
We have made and expect to continue making substantial investments to develop new products and enhance our existing products through our acquisitions and research and development efforts. For example, we recently announced our new RevioTM long-read sequencing system in the fourth quarter of 2022, and expect to commence commercial Revio shipments in March 2023, and we are also progressing development of OnsoTM, our SBB short-read platform, and remain on track for commercial shipment in the second quarter of 2023. Our future success is substantially dependent on our ability to successfully develop and commercialize our products, including Revio and Onso, which are anticipated to be used in demanding scientific research that requires substantial levels of accuracy and precision. In addition, we may not be successful in transitioning our Revio and Onso products from our prior generation products, and could incur related obsolete inventory charges. Customers may also be slower that we anticipate in making new capital equipment acquisitions, especially in the current economic environment. However, due to challenges we may experience in developing and marketing our existing products and launching new products, we may not be able to effectively:
manage the timeliness of our new product introductions and the rate at which sales of our new products may cannibalize sales of our older products or manage sales and marketing of multiple sequencing platforms;
drive adoption of our current and future products, including the Sequel II/IIe Systems, the Revio system and products under development related to our emerging SBB technology, including the Onso system;
maintain our competitive position by continuing to attract and retain customers for our products;
provide appropriate levels of customer training and support for our products;
implement an effective marketing strategy to promote awareness of our products;
develop and implement an effective sales and distribution strategy for our current and future products;
develop, manufacture and commercialize new products or achieve an acceptable return on our manufacturing or research and development efforts and expenses;
comply with regulatory requirements applicable to our products;
anticipate and adapt to changes in our market;
accommodate customer expectations and demands with respect to our products, increase product adoption by our existing customers or develop new customer relationships;
deliver our beta systems to our external beta testing sites or complete our external beta testing program on our currently expected timelines;
overcome unexpected challenges discovered during beta testing;
complete the scientific and technical validation of new products, such as Onso, on our currently expected timeline or at all;
deliver our future products in a timely manner to our customers;
grow our share by marketing and selling our products for new and additional applications;
manage the significant burdens that expanding our existing or future products into current and new markets may impose on marketing, compliance, and other administrative and managerial resources;
maintain and develop strategic relationships with vendors, manufacturers, and other industry partners to acquire necessary materials for the production of, and to develop, manufacture and commercialize, our existing or future products;
adapt or scale our manufacturing activities to meet performance specifications and potential demand at a reasonable cost;
avoid infringement and misappropriation of third-party intellectual property;
obtain and maintain any necessary licenses to third-party intellectual property on commercially reasonable terms;
obtain valid and enforceable patents that give us a competitive advantage or enforce existing patents;
protect our proprietary technology; and
attract, retain, and motivate qualified personnel.
The risks noted above, especially with respect to the marketing, sales, and commercialization of our products, may be heightened by the impact of current uncertain market and other conditions. In addition, a high percentage of our expenses is and will continue to be fixed. Accordingly, if we do not generate revenue as and when anticipated, we could suffer a material adverse effect on our business, financial conditions, results of operations and prospects.
We have incurred losses to date, and we expect to continue to incur significant losses as we develop our business and may never achieve profitability.
We have generally incurred net losses each quarter since inception, and we cannot be certain if or when we will produce sufficient revenue from our operations to support our costs. Even if profitability is achieved in the future, we may not be able to sustain profitability on a consistent basis. We expect to continue to incur substantial losses and negative cash flow from operations for the foreseeable future.
Our net losses since inception and our expectation of incurring substantial losses and negative cash flow for the foreseeable future could:
make it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations;
increase our vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions;
limit our ability to fund future working capital, capital expenditures, research and development and other business opportunities;
increase the volatility of the price of our common stock;
limit our flexibility to react to changes in our business and the industry in which we operate;
place us at a disadvantage to other companies that offer nucleic acid sequencing equipment or consumables; and
limit our ability to borrow additional funds.
In addition, inflationary pressure, including as a result of supply shortages, has adversely impacted and could continue to adversely impact our financial results, and our operating costs may increase. We may not fully offset these cost increases by raising prices for our products and services, which could result in downward pressure on our margins. Further, our customers may choose to reduce their business with us if we increase our pricing.
Any or all of the foregoing may have a material adverse effect on our business, operations, financial condition, and prospects. An impairment in value of our tangible or intangible assets could also be recorded as a result of weaker economic conditions.
We are not cash flow positive and may not have sufficient cash to make required payments under the terms of our debt or fund our long-term planned operations.
Our operations have consumed substantial amounts of cash since inception, and we expect to continue to incur substantial losses and negative cash flow from operations for the foreseeable future. Additional funds may not be available on terms acceptable to us or at all. We have incurred and may further incur additional debt, including the debt incurred through issuance of $900.0 million in aggregate principal amount of 1.50% Convertible Senior Notes due 2028. We may not have sufficient cash to make required payments under the terms of this debt, and should this occur, debt holders have rights senior to common stockholders to make claims on our assets. We may not be able to issue equity securities due to unacceptable terms and conditions to us in the capital markets. To the extent that we intend to raise additional funds through the sale of our common stock, downward fluctuations in our stock price could adversely affect such fundraising efforts. Furthermore, equity financings normally involve shares sold at a discount to the current market price and fundraising through sales of additional shares of common stock or other equity securities will have a dilutive effect on our existing investors. The shares may also be sold at a time when the market price for our common stock is low because we are in need of the funds, which will further dilute existing holders more than if the market price for our common stock was higher.
We believe that our growth will depend, in part, on our ability to fund our commercialization efforts and our efforts to develop new products, including any improvements to our existing products and the continued development and anticipated launch of the Revio HiFi long-read system and the Onso SBB short-read system. To the extent our existing resources are not sufficient, it may require us to delay, or even not allow us to conduct any or all of these activities that we believe would be beneficial for our future growth. We may need to raise additional funds through public or private debt or equity financing or alternative financing arrangements, which may include collaborations or licensing arrangements. If we are unable to raise funds on favorable terms, or at all, we may have to reduce our cash burn rate and may not be able to support our commercialization efforts, launching of new products, or operations, or to increase or maintain the level of our research and development activities.
If we are unable to generate sufficient cash flows or to raise adequate funds to finance our forecasted expenditures, we may have to make significant changes to our operations, including delaying or reducing the scope of, or eliminating some or all of, our development programs. We also may have to reduce sales, marketing, engineering, customer support or other resources devoted to our existing or new products, or we may need to cease operations. Any of these actions could materially
impede our ability to achieve our business objectives and could materially harm our operating results. If our cash, cash equivalents and investments are insufficient to fund our projected operating requirements and we are unable to raise capital, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations and prospects.
We have made acquisitions and, in the future, may continue to acquire businesses, technologies or assets, form joint ventures or make other strategic investments with companies that could adversely affect our operating results, dilute our stockholders’ ownership, or cause us to incur debt or significant expense.
As part of our business strategy, we have acquired and expect to continue to pursue acquisitions of complementary businesses, technologies, or assets. We may also pursue technology license arrangements, strategic alliances or investments that complement our business. In July 2021, we acquired Circulomics, and in September 2021, we acquired Omniome. As of December 31, 2022, we recorded goodwill of $410.0 million and intangible assets of $410.2 million. See Note 2. Business Acquisitions, in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Acquisitions and strategic transactions involve numerous risks, any of which could harm our business and negatively affect our financial condition and results of operations, including:
intense competition for suitable acquisition targets, which could increase prices and adversely affect our ability to consummate deals on favorable or acceptable terms;
failure or material delay in closing a transaction;
transaction-related lawsuits or claims;
difficulties in integrating the technologies, operations, existing contracts, and personnel of an acquired company;
difficulties in retaining key employees or business partners of an acquired company;
difficulties in retaining suppliers, partners, or customers of an acquired company;
challenges with integrating the brand identity of an acquired company with our own;
diversion of financial and management resources from existing operations or alternative acquisition opportunities;
failure to realize the anticipated benefits or synergies of a transaction;
difficulties in developing technology post-acquisition;
failure to identify the problems, liabilities, or other shortcomings or challenges of an acquired company or technology, including issues related to intellectual property, regulatory compliance practices, litigation, revenue recognition or other accounting practices, or employee or user issues;
risks that regulatory bodies may enact new laws or promulgate new regulations that are adverse to an acquired company or business;
risks that regulatory bodies do not approve our acquisitions or business combinations or delay such approvals;
theft of our trade secrets or confidential information that we share with potential acquisition candidates or other potential strategic partners;
risk that an acquired company or investment in new services cannibalizes a portion of our existing business; and
adverse market reaction to an acquisition or other strategic transaction.
To finance any acquisitions or other strategic investments, we may raise additional funds, which could adversely affect our existing stockholders and our business. If the price of our common stock is low or volatile, we may not be able to acquire other companies for stock. In addition, our stockholders may experience substantial dilution as a result of additional securities we may issue for acquisitions. Open market sales of substantial amounts of our common stock issued to stockholders of companies we acquire could also depress our stock price. Additional funds may not be available on terms that are favorable to us, or at all.
If we fail to address the foregoing risks or other problems encountered in connection with past or future acquisitions of businesses, new technologies, services, and other assets and strategic investments, or if we fail to successfully integrate such acquisitions or investments, our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be adversely affected, including potential impairments of goodwill and intangible assets.
If we are unable to successfully develop and timely manufacture our current and future products, including with respect to SMRT Cells, Sequel II/IIe Systems, Revio, Onso, and other SMRT Cell, HiFi, and SBB products under development, and related products, our business may be adversely affected.
In light of the highly complex technologies involved in our products, there can be no assurance that we will be able to manufacture and commercialize our current and future products on a timely basis or continue providing adequate support for our existing products. The commercial success of our products, including the Sequel and Sequel II/IIe Systems, and the Revio and Onso products under development, depends on a number of factors, including performance and reliability of the systems, our anticipating and effectively addressing customer preferences and demands, the success of our sales and marketing efforts, effective forecasting and management of product demand, purchase commitments and inventory levels, effective management of manufacturing and supply costs, and the quality of our products, including consumables such as SMRT Cells and reagents. Should we face delays in or discover unexpected defects during the further development or manufacturing process of instruments or consumables related to our products, including with respect to SMRT Cells, reagents, Sequel II/IIe Systems, Revio, Onso, and other SMRT Cell, HiFi, and SBB products under development, and including any delays or defects in software development or product functionality, the timing and success of the continued rollout and scaling of our products may be significantly impacted, which may materially and negatively impact our revenue and gross margin. The ability of our customers to successfully utilize our products will also depend on our ability to deliver high quality SMRT Cells and reagents. We have designed SMRT Cells and other consumables specifically for the Sequel, Sequel II/IIe, and Revio Systems, and may need to develop in the future, other customized SMRT Cells and consumables for our future products. Our production of the SMRT Cells for the Sequel and Sequel II/IIe Systems has been and may in the future, including with respect to the Revio system, be below desired levels and yields, and we have experienced and may experience in the future manufacturing delays, product or quality defects, SMRT Cell variability, and other issues. For example, the COVID–19 pandemic outbreak has impacted and could result in more pronounced impacts to our manufacturing and our ability to supply products. The performance of our consumables is critical to our customers’ successful utilization of our products, and any defects or performance issues with our consumables would adversely affect our business. All of the foregoing could materially negatively impact our ability to sell our products or result in other material adverse effects on our business, operations, financial condition, operations and prospects.
The development of our products is complex and costly. Problems in the design or quality of our products may have a material and adverse effect on our brand, business, financial condition, and operating results, and could result in us losing our certifications from the International Organization for Standardization (“ISO”). If we were to lose ISO certification, then our customers might choose not to purchase products from us and this could adversely impact our ability to develop products approved for clinical uses. Unanticipated problems with our products could divert substantial resources, which may impair our ability to support our new and existing products and could substantially increase our costs. If we encounter development challenges or discover errors in our products late in our development cycle, including during external beta testing, we may be forced to undertake design and/or production changes, delay product shipments or the scaling of manufacturing or supply. The completion of the production and external testing of our beta systems may also take longer than currently planned, cost more than currently expected and the scientific and technical validation may not be completed on our currently expected timelines or at all. Such testing may also expose fundamental flaws in our products that may cause us to abandon the further development of such products.
If the continued rollout of our current and future products, including with respect to the SMRT Cell, the Sequel II/IIe, Revio, and Onso Systems, is delayed or is not successful or less successful than anticipated, then we may not be able to achieve an acceptable return, if any, on our substantial research and development efforts, and our business may be materially and adversely affected. The expenses or losses associated with delayed or unsuccessful product development or lack of market acceptance of our existing and new products, including the SMRT Cell, Sequel II/IIe Systems, Revio, and Onso, could materially and adversely affect our business, operations, financial condition, and prospects.
Our research and development efforts may not result in the benefits that we anticipate, and our failure to successfully market, sell, and commercialize our current and future products could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We have dedicated significant resources to developing our current products, including sequencing systems and consumables based on our proprietary SMRT sequencing technology and our Sequel and Sequel II/IIe Systems. We are also engaged in substantial and complex research and development efforts, which, if successful, may result in the introduction of new products in the future, including in connection with the SMRT Cell, the Sequel II/IIe Systems and Revio, in addition to Onso and other SBB products currently under development. Our research and development efforts are complex and require us to incur substantial expenses. We may not be able to develop, manufacture and commercialize new products, obtain regulatory approval if necessary, or achieve an acceptable return, if any, on our research and development efforts and expenses or joint research and development efforts with partners. Our joint research and development efforts with partners require significant management attention and operational resources. If we are unable to successfully manage such joint research and development efforts, our future results may be adversely impacted. For example, in January 2021, we entered into a
development agreement with Invitae, which was amended and restated on June 24, 2022 (the “Invitae Development Agreement”), regarding a multi-year collaboration for the development of a production-scale high-throughput sequencing platform. While we anticipate that in connection with the Invitae Development Agreement, we will continue to receive feedback, input and insight from Invitae in connection with our intended development of new high-throughput sequencing systems, such feedback is not contractually required and Invitae has no contractual right to participate in decisions regarding the development program for such new sequencing systems. Invitae is not contractually obligated to reimburse us for development costs under the Invitae Development Agreement. We do not expect to receive any additional revenue under the Invitae Development Agreement apart from potential purchases by Invitae of our instruments and consumables. In consideration of non-refundable Development Costs (as defined in the Invitae Development Agreement) paid by Invitae to us pursuant to the Invitae Development Agreement, we have provided Invitae with credits in connection with Invitae’s anticipated purchase of currently available and in-development sequencing systems (instruments and consumables). In addition, subject to certain conditions, Invitae will be entitled to most favored pricing for our Sequel IIe systems and certain in-development systems, including the Revio system and we may be required to sell instruments to Invitae at below-market prices. Furthermore, we will need to continue to expand our internal capabilities or seek new partnerships or collaborations, or both, in order to successfully develop, market, sell and commercialize our products for and in the markets we seek to reach. If we are unable to do so or are delayed, then this could materially and adversely affect our business, operations, financial condition, and prospects.
We must successfully manage new product introductions and transitions, including with respect to the SMRT Cell, the Sequel II/IIe Systems, and the development of the Revio HiFi long-read sequencing system and the Onso SBB short-read sequencing system, and we may incur significant costs during these transitions and development, and these efforts may not result in the benefits we anticipate.
If our products and services fail to deliver the performance, scalability or results expected by our current and future customers, or are not delivered on a timely basis, our reputation and credibility may suffer, our current and future sales and revenue may be materially harmed and our business may not succeed. For instance, if we are not able to realize the benefits we anticipate from the development and commercialization of the SMRT Cell, Sequel II/IIe Systems, the Revio HiFi long-read sequencing system, and the Onso SBB short-read sequencing system, and any future products that may be developed for research, medical and clinical uses, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, the introduction of future products, including with respect to future long-read and short-read products, and related consumables, has and may in the future lead to our limiting or ceasing development of further enhancements to our existing products as we focus our resources on new products, and has resulted and could in the future result in reduced marketplace acceptance and loss of sales of our existing products, materially adversely affecting our revenue and operating results. The introduction of new products, including the recent announcement of our Revio system, has had and may in the future also have a negative impact on our revenue in the near-term as our current and future customers have delayed or cancelled and may in the future delay or cancel orders of existing products in anticipation of new products and we may also be pressured to decrease prices for our existing products. Our experience in managing product transitions is limited, and we have experienced, and may in the future experience, difficulty in managing or forecasting customer reactions, purchasing decisions or transition requirements with respect to newly launched products. We have incurred and may continue to incur significant costs in completing these transitions, including costs of write-downs of our products, as current or future customers transition to new products. If we do not successfully manage these product transitions, including with respect to the SMRT Cell, Sequel II/IIe Systems, the Revio and Onso Systems, and any future long-read and short-read products, our business, operations, financial condition, and prospects may be materially and adversely affected.
Our business may be adversely affected by health epidemics, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Our business has been and could be further adversely impacted by the effects of COVID-19 or other epidemics or pandemics. Although it is not possible at this time to estimate the impact that health epidemics, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, could have on our business, the continued spread of pandemics and the measures taken by the governments of countries affected could disrupt the supply chain and the manufacture of our products.
Our manufacturing partners and suppliers have been and could continue to be disrupted by conditions related to COVID-19 or other epidemics or pandemics, possibly resulting in disruption to the production of our products. If our manufacturing partners or suppliers are unable or fail to fulfill their obligations to us for any reason, we may not be able to manufacture our products and satisfy customer demand or our obligations under sales agreements in a timely manner, and our business could be harmed as a result. There is significant uncertainty relating to the long-term effect of COVID-19 on our business. Infections may resurge or become more widespread and any ensuing disruptions to business activities or supply chains could have a negative impact on our business, financial condition, and operating results. Because our semiconductor manufacturers are located in a region where immunization rates in certain communities may be low, new and emerging variants of COVID-19 could impact workforce availability at those locations and disrupt supply. For example, the Chinese government may re-impose lockdowns or similar measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 and such measures have had, and may continue to have in the future, a negative impact on manufacturing and/or supply chains, as well as customer demand for our products and demand through certain distributors.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused us to modify our business practices, including limiting certain of our commercial operations and limiting certain employees from working in the office. We have offered, and may plan to continue to offer, a significant percentage of our employees flexibility in the amount of time they work in an office, which could adversely impact the productivity of certain employees and harm our business, including our future operating results. This may also present risks for our strategy and may present operational, cybersecurity, and workplace culture challenges that may adversely affect our business.
Even after the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided, we may continue to experience an adverse impact to our business as a result of its global economic impact, including recessionary effects and inflationary pressures. Specifically, difficult macroeconomic conditions, such as decreases in discretionary capital expenditure spending, changes to the government funding environment, a reduction in or the lapsing of COVID-19-related governmental stimulus measures, increased and prolonged unemployment or a decline in consumer confidence as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as limited or significantly reduced points of access of our products, could have a continuing adverse effect on the demand for some of our products and, consequently, related maintenance and support services. The degree of impact of COVID-19 on our business will depend on several factors, such as the duration and the extent of the pandemic, the risk of waning immunity among persons already vaccinated and an increase in fatigue or skepticism with respect to initial or booster vaccinations, as well as actions taken by governments, businesses, and consumers in response to the pandemic, all of which continue to evolve and remain uncertain at this time.
Significant changes to our leadership team and the resulting management transitions might harm our future operating results.
We have experienced significant changes to our leadership team. Our President and Chief Executive Officer Christian O. Henry was appointed effective September 14, 2020, succeeding Dr. Michael Hunkapiller who retired on December 31, 2020. Our Chief Financial Officer Susan G. Kim was appointed effective September 28, 2020, succeeding Susan K. Barnes who retired on August 7, 2020. Our Chief Operating Officer Mark Van Oene was appointed effective January 8, 2021. Jeff Eidel was appointed Chief Commercial Officer effective August 16, 2022, succeeding Peter Fromen who resigned effective May 20, 2022. Also, our Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer Michele Farmer was appointed effective May 17, 2021, and our Chair of the Board Dr. John F. Milligan was appointed effective September 14, 2020.
Although we believe these leadership transitions are in the best interest of our stakeholders, these transitions may result in the loss of personnel with deep institutional or technical knowledge. Further, the transition could potentially disrupt our operations and relationships with employees, suppliers, partners, and customers due to added costs, operational inefficiencies, decreased employee morale and productivity and increased turnover. We must successfully recruit and integrate our new leadership team members within our organization to achieve our operating objectives; as such, the leadership transition may temporarily affect our business performance and results of operations while the new members of our leadership team become familiar with our business. In addition, our competitors may seek to use this transition and the related potential disruptions to gain a competitive advantage over us. Furthermore, these changes increase our dependency on the other members of our leadership team that remain with us, who are not contractually obligated to remain employed with us and may leave at any time. Any such departure could be particularly disruptive given that we are already experiencing leadership transitions and, to the extent we experience additional management turnover, competition for top management is high such that it may take some time to find a candidate that meets our requirements. Our future operating results depend substantially upon the continued service of our key personnel and in significant part upon our ability to attract and retain qualified management personnel. If we are unable to mitigate these or other similar risks, our business, results of operations and financial condition may be materially and adversely affected.
We depend on the continuing efforts of our senior management team and other key personnel. If we lose members of our senior management team or other key personnel or are unable to successfully retain, recruit and train qualified scientists, engineers, sales personnel and other employees, our ability to maintain, develop and commercialize our products could be harmed and we may be unable to achieve our goals.
Our success depends upon the continuing services of members of our senior management team and scientific and engineering personnel. In particular, our scientists and engineers are critical to our technological and product innovations, and we will need to hire additional qualified personnel. Our industry, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area, is characterized by high demand and intense competition for talent, and the turnover rate has been and may continue to be high. We compete for qualified management and scientific personnel with other life science companies, academic institutions and research institutions, particularly those focusing on genomics. This competition has become exacerbated by the increase in employee resignations in 2021 and continued high rates of employee turnover continuing through 2022 that have been experienced by us and reported by employers nationwide. In addition, we have experienced significant turnover in our senior management team in recent periods. To induce valuable employees to remain at our company, in addition to salary and cash incentives, we have issued stock options and restricted stock units that vest over time. The value to employees of stock options and restricted stock units that vest over time may be significantly affected by movements in our stock price that are beyond our control and may at any time be insufficient to counteract more lucrative offers from other companies. We may face challenges in retaining and recruiting such individuals due to sustained declines in our stock price that could reduce the retention value of equity awards. The loss of qualified employees, or an inability to attract, retain, and motivate employees, could prevent us from pursuing collaborations and materially and adversely affect our support of existing products, product development and launches, business growth prospects, results of operations and financial condition. In addition, we will need to continue to recruit, hire and retain sales personnel to support the commercialization of our existing and new products. Our employees could leave our company with little or no prior notice and would be free to work for a competitor. In addition, changes to U.S. immigration policies, particularly to H-1B and other visa programs, could restrain the flow of technical and professional talent into the U.S. and may inhibit our ability to hire qualified personnel. If one or more of our senior executives or other key personnel were unable or unwilling to continue in their present positions, we may not be able to replace them easily or at all, and other senior management may be required to divert attention from other aspects of the business. In addition, we do not have “key person” life insurance policies covering any member of our management team or other key personnel. Further, our vaccination and return to office protocols related to COVID-19 may also impact the recruitment and retention of key employees. The loss of any of these individuals or any inability to attract or retain qualified personnel, including scientists, engineers, sales personnel and others, could prevent us from pursuing collaborations and materially and adversely affect our support of existing products, product development and introductions, business growth prospects, results of operations and financial condition.
Our success is highly dependent on our ability to further penetrate nucleic acid sequencing applications as well as on the growth and expansion of the demand for our products. If our products fail to achieve and sustain sufficient market acceptance, we will not generate expected revenue and our business may not succeed.
Although nucleic acid sequencing technology is well-established, our SMRT Sequencing technology is relatively new and evolving. We cannot be sure that our current or future products will gain acceptance in the marketplace at levels sufficient to support our costs. Our success depends, in part, on our ability to expand overall demand for nucleic acid sequencing to include new applications that are not practicable with other current technologies and to introduce new products that capture a larger share of growing overall demand for sequencing. To accomplish this, we must successfully commercialize, and continue development of, our proprietary SMRT Sequencing technology for use in a variety of life science and other research applications, including uses by academic, government and clinical laboratories, as well as pharmaceutical, diagnostic, biotechnology, and agriculture companies, among others. However, we may be unsuccessful in these efforts and the sale and commercialization of the SMRT Cell, Sequel II/IIe Systems, and anticipated sale and commercialization of Revio and Onso, and related products may not grow sufficiently to cover our costs.
There can be no assurance that we will be successful in adding new products or securing additional customers for our current and future products, including with respect to the SMRT Cell, Sequel II/IIe Systems, Revio and Onso. If we are unable to successfully develop SBB technology and sell acquired technology products, we may fail to achieve our strategic commercial initiatives in connection with the planned release of new products and anticipated entry into new markets. Our ability to further penetrate existing applications and any new applications depends on a number of factors, including the cost, performance and perceived value associated with our products, as well as customers’ willingness to adopt a different approach to nucleic acid sequencing. Potential customers may have already made significant investments in other sequencing technologies and may be unwilling to invest in new technologies. We are experiencing pricing pressures caused by industry competition and increased demand for lower-priced instruments and lower operational costs. We have limited experience commercializing and selling products outside of the academic and research settings, and we cannot guarantee success in acquiring additional customers. Furthermore, we cannot guarantee that our products will be satisfactory to potential customers or that our products will perform in accordance with customer expectations.
Nucleic acid sequencing applications are new and dynamic, and there can be no assurance that they will develop as quickly as we anticipate, that they will reach their full potential or that our products will be appropriate or competitive for these applications. As a result, we may be required to refocus our marketing efforts, and we may have to make changes to the specifications of our products to enhance our ability to enter particular applications more quickly. We may also need to delay full-scale commercial deployment of new products as we develop them in order to perform quality control and early access user testing. We also need to maintain reliable supply chains for the various components in our new products and consumables to support large-scale commercial production. Even if we are able to implement our technology successfully, we and/or our sales and distribution partners may fail to achieve or sustain market acceptance of our current or future products across the full range of our intended life science and other applications. We need to continue to expand and update our internal capabilities or to collaborate with other partners, or both, in order to successfully expand sales of our products in the applications that we seek to reach, which we may be unable to do at the scale required to support our business.
If the demand for our products grows more slowly than anticipated, if we are unable to successfully scale or otherwise ensure sufficient manufacturing capacity for new products to meet demand, if we are not able to successfully market and sell our products, if competitors develop better or more cost-effective products, if our product launches and commercialization are not successful, or if we are unable to further grow our customer base or do not realize the growth with existing customers that we are expecting, our current and future sales and revenue may be materially and adversely harmed, or we may recognize an impairment loss, and our business may not succeed.
We rely on other companies for the manufacture of certain components and sub-assemblies and intend to outsource additional sub-assemblies in the future, some of which are sole sources. We may not be able to successfully scale the manufacturing process necessary to build and test multiple products on a full commercial basis, which could materially harm our business.
Our products are complex and involve a large number of unique components, many of which require precise manufacturing. The nature of our products requires customized components that are currently available only from a limited number of sources, and in some cases, single sources. We have chosen to source certain critical components from a single source, including suppliers for our SMRT Cells, reagents, and instruments. We cannot assure you that product supplies will not be limited or interrupted, especially with respect to our sole source third-party manufacturing and supply collaborators, or that product supplies will be of satisfactory quality or continue to be available at acceptable prices. In particular, any replacement of our manufacturers could require significant effort and expertise because there may be a limited number of qualified replacements. We may be unable to negotiate binding agreements with our current and future sole source third-party manufacturing and supply collaborators or, in the event that such collaborators’ services become interrupted for any reason, find replacement manufacturers to support our development and commercial activities at commercially reasonable terms. We do not always have arrangements in place for a redundant or second-source supply for our sole source vendors in the event they cease to provide their products or services to us or fail to provide sufficient quantities in a timely manner. If we are required to purchase these components from alternative sources, it could take several months or longer to qualify the alternative sources. If we are unable to source these product components from sole-source third-party manufacturing and supply collaborators for any reason, including in connection with acts of terrorism, hostilities, military conflict and acts of war, including between China and Taiwan, or secure a sufficient supply of these product components on a timely basis, or if these components do not meet our expectations or specifications for quality and functionality, our operations and manufacturing would be materially and adversely affected, we could be unable to meet customer demand and our business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.
The operations of our third-party manufacturing partners and suppliers have been and could continue to be disrupted by conditions unrelated to our business or operations or that are beyond our control, including but not limited to international trade restrictions, inflation, supply chain disruptions, and conditions related to COVID-19 or other epidemics. If our manufacturing partners or suppliers are unable or fail to fulfill their obligations to us for any reason, we may not be able to manufacture our products and satisfy customer demand or our obligations under sales agreements in a timely manner, and our business could be harmed as a result. For example, the global shortage of semiconductors, which has been reported since early 2021, has caused challenges for us in our supply chain and resulted in some cost increases that have and may continue to adversely impact margins. During these periods of shortages or delays, the price of components may increase, or the components may not be available at all. Our suppliers have raised their prices and may continue to raise prices that we may not be able to pass on to our customers, which could adversely affect our business, including our competitive position, market share, revenues, and profit margins in material ways. We may not be able to secure enough components at reasonable prices or of acceptable quality to build new products in a timely manner in the quantities or configurations needed. For example, the Chinese government may re-impose lockdowns or similar measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 and these measures have had, and may continue to have in the future, a negative impact on manufacturing and/or supply chains, in addition to customer demand for our products and demand through certain distributors. If as a result of global economic or political instability, such as the political uncertainty associated with an escalation of the war in Ukraine, potential uncertainty related to Taiwan and its relationship with China, other disease outbreaks, or supply issues, we or our contractors could experience shortages, business disruptions or delays for materials sourced or manufactured in the affected countries, and their ability to supply us with instruments or product components may be affected. From time to time, certain
components of our systems and reagents may reach the end of their life cycles or become obsoleted by our suppliers, and we would have to procure alternative sources for these end-of-life products. If we encounter delays or difficulties in securing the quality and quantity of materials we require for our products, our supply chain would be interrupted, which would adversely affect sales. If any of these events occur, our business and operating results could be harmed. Accordingly, if any of the foregoing occurs, our ability to commercialize our products, revenue and gross margins could suffer until lockdowns from COVID-19 infections are reduced, supply issues or business disruptions are resolved and/or other sources can be developed.
In addition, because our semiconductor suppliers are in regions that may have communities with low vaccination rates, the Omicron variant of COVID-19, or any variants that evolve in the future, could lead to increased infections among workers that could further disrupt the supply chain. Our current manufacturing process is characterized by long lead times between the placement of orders for and delivery of our products. If we do not accurately anticipate our needs or if we receive insufficient components to manufacture our products on a timely basis to meet customer demand, our sales and our gross margin may be adversely affected, and our business could be materially harmed. If we are unable to reduce our manufacturing costs and establish and maintain reliable, high-volume manufacturing suppliers as we scale our operations and expand our product offerings, our business, operations, financial condition, and prospects could be materially and adversely harmed.
We may be unable to consistently manufacture our instruments and consumables, including SMRT Cells and reagents, to the necessary specifications or in quantities necessary to meet demand at an acceptable cost or at an acceptable performance level.
In order to successfully generate revenue from our products, we need to supply our customers with products that meet their expectations for quality and functionality in accordance with established specifications. Our customers have experienced variability in the performance of our products. We have experienced and may continue to experience delays, quality issues or other difficulties leading to customer dissatisfaction with our products. Our production of SMRT Cells and reagents involves a long and complex manufacturing process and has been and may in the future be below desired yields and resulting output levels. We have experienced and may experience in the future manufacturing delays, product defects, variability in the performance of SMRT Cells and other products, inadequate reserves for inventory, or other issues.
There is no assurance that we will be able to manufacture our products so that they consistently achieve the product specifications and quality that our customers expect, including any products developed for clinical uses. Problems in the design or quality of our products, including low manufacturing yields of SMRT Cells, or sub-performing reagent lots may have a material adverse effect on our brand, business, financial condition, and operating results, and could result in us losing our ISO certifications. If we were to lose our ISO certifications, then our customers might choose not to purchase products from us. There is also no assurance that we will be able to increase manufacturing yields and decrease costs, particularly if high rates of inflation continue, or that we will be successful in forecasting customer demand or manufacturing and supply costs, or that product supplies, including reagents or integrated chips, will not be limited or interrupted, or will be of satisfactory quality or continue to be available at acceptable prices. Furthermore, while we are undertaking efforts to increase our manufacturing scale and capability, we may not be able to increase manufacturing to meet anticipated demand or may experience downtime in our manufacturing facilities, including, for example, if we experience increased cases of COVID-19 among our employees, or if our suppliers are unable to meet our increased demand at a time when the supply chain is under duress due to potential dislocations and disruptions in product and employee availability due to COVID-19. An inability to manufacture products and components that consistently meet specifications, in necessary quantities and at commercially acceptable costs, will have a negative impact, and may have a material adverse effect on our business, product development timelines, financial condition and results of operations.
Rapidly changing technology in life sciences and research diagnostics could make our products obsolete unless we continue to develop, manufacture and commercialize new and improved products and pursue new opportunities.
Our industry is characterized by rapid and significant technological changes, frequent new product introductions and enhancements and evolving industry standards. Our future success depends on our ability to continually improve our products, to develop and introduce new products that address the evolving needs of our customers on a timely and cost-effective basis and to pursue new opportunities. These new opportunities may be outside the scope of our proven expertise or in areas where demand is unproven, and new products and services developed by us may not gain market acceptance or may not adequately perform in order to capture market share. Our inability to develop and introduce new products and to gain market acceptance of our existing and new products could harm our future operating results. Unanticipated difficulties or delays in replacing existing products with new products or in commercializing our existing or new products in sufficient quantities and of acceptable quality to meet customer demand, including with respect to the SMRT Cell, Sequel II/IIe Systems, Revio and Onso, could diminish future demand for our products and may materially and adversely harm our future operating results.
The size of the markets for our products, including our Revio and Onso instruments, may be smaller than estimated, and new market opportunities may not develop as quickly as we expect, or at all, limiting our ability to successfully sell our products.
The market for sequencing systems and consumables products is evolving, making it difficult to accurately predict the size of the markets for our current and future products, including our Revio and Onso instruments. Our estimates of the total addressable market for our current and future products are based on a number of internal and third-party estimates and assumptions that may be incorrect, including the assumptions that academic, governmental, corporate, or other sources of funding will continue to be available to life sciences researchers at times and in amounts necessary to allow them to purchase our products. In addition, sales of new products may take time to develop and mature and we cannot be certain that these market opportunities will develop as we expect. While we believe our assumptions and the data underlying our estimates of the total addressable market for our products are reasonable, these assumptions and estimates may not be correct and the conditions supporting our assumptions or estimates, or those underlying the third-party data we have used, may change at any time, thereby reducing the accuracy of our estimates. As a result, our estimates of the total addressable market and growth opportunities for our products may be incorrect.
The future growth of the market for our current and future products depends on many factors beyond our control, including recognition and acceptance of our products by the research and scientific communities, the growth, prevalence and costs of competing products and solutions and the development of robust ecosystems supporting our products and their methodologies. For example, our long-read sequencers, such as Revio, require tools for effective, high quality sample collection and preparation as well as advanced bioinformatic tools to process results; if these tools are unavailable to our customers, whether at a reasonable cost or at all, the market acceptance and growth of our long-read sequencers, like Revio, may be negatively impaired. There can be no assurance that our current or future products will gain traction in the market. If the markets for our current and future products are smaller than estimated or do not develop as we expect, our growth may be limited, and it could materially and adversely affect our business, operations, financial condition and prospects.
Increased market adoption of our products by customers may depend on the availability of sample preparation and informatics tools, some of which may be developed by third parties.
Our commercial success may depend in part upon the development of sample preparation and software and informatics tools by third parties for use with our products. We cannot guarantee that product supplies, including reagents, will not be limited or interrupted, or will be of satisfactory quality or continue to be available at acceptable prices, or that third parties will develop tools that our current and future customers will find useful with our products, or that customers will adopt such third-party tools on a timely basis or at all. A lack of complementary sample preparation and informatics tools, or delayed updates of such tools, may impede the adoption of our products and may materially and adversely impact our business.
We operate in a highly competitive industry and if we are not able to compete effectively, our business and operating results will likely be harmed.
There are a significant number of companies offering nucleic acid sequencing products and/or services, including Illumina, BGI Genomics, Thermo, ONT Ltd., Roche, Bionano, and Qiagen. Other companies recently entering the market include Ultima Genomics, Element Biosciences and Singular Genomics. Many of these companies currently have greater name recognition, more substantial intellectual property portfolios, longer operating histories, significantly greater financial, technical, research and/or other resources, more experience in new product development, larger and more established manufacturing capabilities and marketing, sales, and support functions, and/or more established distribution channels to deliver products to customers than we do. These companies may be able to respond more quickly and effectively than we can to new or changing opportunities, technologies, standards, or customer requirements.
There are also several companies that are in the process of developing or have already developed and commercialized new, competing or potentially competing technologies, products and/or services, including ONT Ltd. and its subsidiaries, against whom we have filed complaints for patent infringement in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware and, previously, with the U.S. International Trade Commission, in the High Court of England and Wales and in the District Court of Mannheim, Germany. ONT Ltd. previously filed claims against us in the High Court of England and Wales and the District Court of Mannheim, Germany, also for patent infringement, and its subsidiary, Oxford Nanopore Technologies, Inc. (“ONT Inc.”), filed counterclaims against us in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware seeking declaratory judgements of non-infringement, invalidity and unenforceability of the asserted patents, as well as antitrust, false advertising and unfair competition counterclaims that were subsequently dismissed by that court. Roche is developing potentially competing sequencing products. Increased competition may result in pricing pressures, which could harm our sales, profitability or market share. Our failure to further enhance our existing products and to introduce new products to compete effectively could materially and adversely affect our business, operations, financial condition, and prospects.
We may be unable to successfully increase sales of our current products or market and sell our future products.
Our ability to achieve profitability depends, in part, on our ability to attract customers for our current and future products including Revio and Onso, and we may be unable to effectively market or sell our products or find appropriate partners to do so. To perform sales, marketing, distribution, and customer support functions successfully, we face a number of risks, including:
our ability to attract, retain and manage qualified sales, marketing, and service personnel necessary to expand market acceptance for our technologies;
the performance and commercial availability expectations of our existing and potential customers with respect to new and existing products;
availability of potential sales and distribution partners to sell our technologies, and our ability to attract and retain such sales and distribution partners;
the time and cost of maintaining and growing a specialized sales, marketing and service force for a particular application, which may be difficult to justify in light of the revenue generated; and
our sales, marketing and service force may be unable to execute successful commercial activities.
We have enlisted and may continue to enlist third parties to assist with sales, distribution and customer support. There is no guarantee that we will be successful in attracting desirable sales and distribution partners, that we will be able to enter into arrangements with such partners on terms favorable to us or that we will be able to retain such partners on a going-forward basis. If our sales and marketing efforts, or those of any of our third-party sales and distribution partners, are not successful, or our products do not perform in accordance with customer expectations, our technologies and products may not gain market acceptance, which could materially and adversely impact our business, operations, financial condition, and prospects.
Large purchases by a limited number of customers represent a significant portion of our revenue, and any loss or delay of expected purchases has resulted, and in the future could result, in material quarter-to-quarter fluctuations of our revenue or otherwise adversely affect our results of operations.
We receive a significant portion of our revenue from a limited number of customers. For example, for the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021, and 2020, one of our customers, who is our primary distributor in China, accounted for approximately 12%, 13%, and 14% of our total revenue, respectively. Many of these customers make large purchases on a purchase-order basis rather than pursuant to long-term contracts. As a consequence of the concentrated nature of our customer base and their purchasing behavior, our quarterly revenue and results of operations have fluctuated, and may fluctuate in the future, from quarter to quarter and are difficult to forecast. For example, the cancellation of orders or acceleration or delay in anticipated product purchases or the acceptance of shipped products by our larger customers has materially affected, and in the future could materially affect, our revenue and results of operations in any quarterly period. We have been, and may in the future be, unable to sustain or increase our revenue from our larger customers, or offset any discontinuation or decrease of purchases by our larger customers with purchases by new or other existing customers. To the extent one or more of our larger customers experience significant financial difficulty, bankruptcy or insolvency, this could have a material adverse effect on our sales and our ability to collect on receivables, which could materially and adversely harm our financial condition and results of operations.
In addition, many of our customers, including some of our larger customers, have negotiated, or may in the future negotiate, volume-based discounts or other more favorable terms from us or our sales and distribution partners, which can and have had a negative effect on our gross margins or revenue.
We expect that such concentrated purchases will continue to contribute materially to our revenue for the foreseeable future and that our results of operations may fluctuate materially as a result of such larger customers’ buying patterns. In addition, we may see consolidation of our customer base. The loss of one of our larger customers, a significant delay or reduction in its purchases, or any volume-based discount or other more favorable terms that we or our sales and distribution partner(s) may agree to provide, in light of the aggregated purchase volume or buying power resulting from such consolidation, has harmed, and in the future could harm, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
Our products are highly complex, have recurring support requirements and could have unknown defects or errors, which may give rise to claims against us or divert application of our resources from other purposes.
Products using our SMRT sequencing technology are highly complex and may develop or contain undetected defects or errors. Our customers have previously experienced reliability issues with our existing products, including the Sequel System and the Sequel II/IIe Systems. In addition, it is possible our customers could experience reliability issues with current or future products, including the Sequel II/IIe, Onso, and Revio Systems. Despite internal and external testing, defects, or errors may arise in our products, which could result in a failure to obtain, maintain, or increase market acceptance of our products,
diversion of development resources, injury to our reputation and increased warranty, service, and maintenance costs. New products, including Revio and Onso, or enhancements to our existing products, including the SMRT Cell and Sequel II/IIe Systems, in particular may contain undetected errors or performance problems that are discovered only after delivery to customers. If our products have reliability or other quality issues or require unexpected levels of support in the future, the market acceptance and utilization of our products may not grow to levels sufficient to support our costs and our reputation and business could be harmed. Low utilization rates of our products could cause our revenue and gross margins to be adversely affected. We provide a warranty for our sequencing instruments and consumables, which is generally limited to replacing, repairing, or at our option, giving credit for any sequencing instrument or consumable with defects in material or workmanship. Service contracts for our sequencing instruments may be separately purchased. Defects or errors in our products may also discourage customers from purchasing our products. The costs incurred in correcting any defects or errors may be substantial and could materially and adversely affect our operating margins. If our service and support costs increase, our business and operations may be materially and adversely affected.
In addition, such defects or errors could lead to the filing of product liability claims against us or against third parties whom we may have an obligation to indemnify against such claims, which could be costly and time-consuming to defend and result in substantial damages. Although we have product liability insurance, any product liability insurance that we have or procure in the future may not protect our business from the financial impact of a product liability claim. Moreover, we may not be able to obtain adequate insurance coverage on acceptable terms. Any insurance that we have or obtain will be subject to deductibles and coverage limits. A product liability claim could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
A significant portion of our sales depends on customers’ spending budgets that may be subject to significant and unexpected variation which could have a negative effect on the demand for our products.
Our instruments represent significant capital expenditures for our customers in research applications. Current and potential customers for our current or future products include academic and government institutions, genome centers, medical research institutions, clinical laboratories, pharmaceutical, agricultural, biotechnology, diagnostic and chemical companies. Their spending budgets can have a significant effect on the demand for our products. Spending budgets are based on a wide variety of factors, including the allocation of available resources to make purchases, funding from government sources which is highly uncertain and subject to change, the spending priorities among various types of research equipment, policies regarding capital expenditures during economically uncertain periods and the impact of COVID-19. Any decrease in capital spending or change in spending priorities of our current and potential customers could significantly reduce the demand for our products. Any delay or reduction in purchases by current or potential customers or our inability to forecast fluctuations in demand could materially and adversely harm our future operating results.
We may not be able to convert our orders in backlog into revenue.
Our backlog represents product orders from our customers that we have confirmed but have not been able to fulfill, and, accordingly, for which we have not yet recognized revenue. We may not receive revenue from these orders, and any order backlog we report may not be indicative of our future revenue.
Many events can cause an order to be delayed or not completed at all, some of which may be out of our control, including the potential impacts from COVID-19 and our suppliers, especially our sole source suppliers, not being able to provide us with products or components. If we delay fulfilling customer orders or if customers reconsider their orders, those customers may seek to cancel or modify their orders with us. Customers may otherwise seek to cancel or delay their orders even if we are prepared to fulfill them. If our orders in backlog do not result in sales, our operating results may suffer.
Our sales cycles are unpredictable and lengthy, which makes it difficult to forecast revenue and may increase the magnitude of quarterly or annual fluctuations in our operating results.
The sales cycles for our sequencing instruments are lengthy because they represent a major capital expenditure and generally require the approval of our customers’ senior management. This may contribute to substantial fluctuations in our quarterly or annual operating results, particularly during periods in which our sales volume is low. Because of these fluctuations, it is likely that in some future quarters our operating results will fall below the expectations of securities analysts or investors. If that happens, the market price of our stock would likely decrease. Past fluctuations in our quarterly and annual operating results have resulted in decreases in our stock price. Such fluctuations also mean that investors may not be able to rely on our operating results in any particular period as an indication of future performance. Sales to existing customers and the establishment of a business relationship with other potential customers is a lengthy process, generally taking several months and sometimes longer. Following the establishment of the relationship, the negotiation of purchase terms can be time-consuming, including as a result of seasonal factors, as discussed below, and a potential customer may require an extended evaluation and testing period. Our sales cycles may also lengthen as we introduce our Revio and Onso instruments and their associated consumables to the market, as our customers may have additional administrative, technical or other requirements associated with transitioning to new products and technologies. In anticipation of product orders, we may incur substantial costs before the sales cycle is complete and before we receive any customer payments. As a result, if a sale is not completed
or is canceled or delayed, we may have incurred substantial expenses, making it more difficult for us to become profitable or otherwise negatively impacting our financial results. Even if our selling efforts are successful, the realization of revenue may be substantially delayed, our ability to forecast our future revenue may be more limited and our revenue may fluctuate significantly from quarter to quarter and year over year. For more information on the impact of these fluctuations on our results and stock price, see “—Our operating results fluctuate from quarter to quarter and year over year, which makes our future results difficult to predict and could negatively impact the market price of our common stock,” below.
Because some of our customers and suppliers are based in China, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected by the political and economic tensions between the United States and China.
We are subject to risks associated with political conflicts between the U.S. and China. A significant portion of our revenue is generated from China. For example, for the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021, and 2020, one of our customers, who is our primary distributor in China, accounted for approximately 12%, 13%, and 14% of our total revenue, respectively. In addition, certain components, some of which are critical components, of our products are manufactured in China. These components are either sourced directly from companies in China or indirectly from third parties that source from companies in China.
Consequently, we are subject to significant risks associated with the trading relationship between the U.S. and China, which is currently characterized by significant uncertainty. Tariffs imposed by the U.S. and China have increased, and may continue to increase, our costs. Additionally, export restrictions imposed by the U.S. may impact our ability to export certain products to customers or distributors in China and restrict our ability to use certain integrated circuits in our products, and it is possible that additional restrictions will be put in place that could impact our ability to provide our products to customers or distributors in China or source components from China. Moreover, the Chinese government may retaliate against U.S. trade restrictions in ways that could impact our business. Given the relatively fluid regulatory environment in China and the United States and uncertainty how the U.S. or foreign governments will act with respect to export controls, tariffs, international trade agreements and policies, there could be additional import, export, tax, or other regulatory changes in the future. Any such changes could directly and adversely impact our financial results and results of operations. For more information, see “—Enhanced trade tariffs, import restrictions, export restrictions, Chinese regulations or other trade barriers may materially harm our business.”
Other risks could include:
interruptions to operations in China as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic or other disease outbreaks and natural catastrophic events, which have in the past and can result in the future in business closures, transportation restrictions, import and export complications and cause shortages in the supply of raw materials or disruptions in manufacturing;
product supply disruptions and increased costs as a result of heightened exposure to changes in the policies of the Chinese government, political unrest or unstable economic conditions in China; and
the nationalization or other expropriation of private enterprises or intellectual property by the Chinese government.
Difficulties in this relationship may require us to take actions adverse to our business to comply with governmental restrictions on business and trade with China.
In addition, our consumable chips are partly manufactured by a company based in Taiwan. Our supply of consumables chips and other critical components may be materially and adversely affected by diplomatic, geopolitical, and other developments affecting the relationship between China and Taiwan. Accordingly, there is a risk that current political tensions between China and Taiwan may lead to circumstances that negatively affect the availability of such consumable chips and other critical components to us, which could limit or prohibit our ability to manufacture consumable chips and other critical components or lead to an increase in our supply costs if we cannot find a similar cost alternative supplier, which could materially and adversely impact our business, operations, prospects, financial condition and results, and results of operations.
Our operating results fluctuate from quarter to quarter and year over year, which makes our future results difficult to predict and could negatively impact the market price of our common stock.
We operate on a December 31st year-end and believe that there are significant seasonal factors which may cause sales of our products, and particularly our sequencing instruments, to vary on a quarterly or yearly basis, contribute to lengthy sales cycles for our sequencing instruments, and increase the magnitude of quarterly or annual fluctuations in our operating results. We believe that this seasonality results from a number of factors, including the procurement and budgeting cycles of many of our customers, especially government-funded customers, which often coincide with government fiscal year ends. For example, the U.S. government’s fiscal year-end occurs in our third quarter and may result in increased sales of our products during this quarter if government-funded customers have unused funds that may be forfeited, or future budgets that may be reduced if funds remain unspent at fiscal year-end. Furthermore, Lunar New Year celebrations, which occur during our first quarter, and may last for a week or longer, resulting in closure of many of our customers’ offices in China and across the Asia-Pacific region have caused, and may in the future cause, decreased sales of our consumables during our first quarter. These factors have contributed, and in the future may contribute, to substantial fluctuations in our quarterly operating results.
Our operating results during any given period can also be impacted by numerous other factors, including the following:
market acceptance for our products;
our ability to attract new customers;
the length of our sales cycles, as discussed above;
our ability to achieve economies of scale and other manufacturing efficiencies at the rate we anticipate;
publications of studies by us, our competitors or third parties;
the timing and success of new product introductions by us or our competitors or other changes in the competitive dynamics of our industry, such as consolidation;
the amount and timing of our costs and expenses;
changes in our pricing policies or those of our competitors;
general economic, industry and market conditions;
the regulatory environment in which we operate;
expenses associated with warranty obligations or unforeseen product quality issues;
the hiring, training, and retention of key employees, including our ability to grow our sales organization;
litigation or other claims against us for intellectual property infringement or otherwise;
our ability to obtain additional financing as necessary;
changes or trends in new technologies and industry standards; and the impact of COVID-19.
Consequently, it is possible that in some quarters our operating results will fall below the expectations of securities analysts or investors. If that happens, the market price of our common stock would likely decrease. These fluctuations, among other factors, also mean that our operating results in any particular period may not be relied upon as an indication of future performance. Seasonal or cyclical variations in our sales have in the past, and may in the future, become more or less pronounced over time, and have in the past materially affected, and may in the future materially affect, our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
Our ability to use net operating losses to offset future taxable income may be subject to substantial limitations, and changes to U.S. tax laws may cause us to make adjustments to our financial statements.
Under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code, a corporation that undergoes an “ownership change” is subject to limitations on its ability to utilize its pre-change net operating losses (“NOLs”) to offset future taxable income. We believe that we have had one or more ownership changes, as a result of which our existing NOLs are currently subject to limitation. Future changes in our stock ownership could result in additional ownership changes, including potentially material changes, under Section 382. Consequently, we may not be able to utilize some or all of our NOLs even if we attain profitability.
Our facilities in California are located near earthquake faults, and the occurrence of an earthquake or other catastrophic disaster could cause damage to our facilities and equipment, which could require us to cease or curtail operations.
Our facilities in California are located near earthquake fault zones and are vulnerable to damage from earthquakes. We are also vulnerable to damage from other types of disasters, including fire, floods, power loss, communications failures and similar events. If any disaster were to occur, our ability to operate our business at our facilities would be seriously, or potentially completely, impaired. In addition, the nature of our activities could cause significant delays in our research programs and commercial activities and make it difficult for us to recover from a disaster. The insurance we maintain may not be adequate to cover our losses resulting from disasters or other business interruptions. Accordingly, an earthquake or other disaster could materially and adversely harm our ability to conduct business.
Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property
Failure to secure patent or other intellectual property protection for our products and improvements to our products may reduce our ability to maintain any technological or competitive advantage over our current and potential competitors.
Our ability to protect and enforce our intellectual property rights is uncertain and depends on complex legal and factual questions. Our ability to establish or maintain a technological or competitive advantage over our competitors may be diminished because of these uncertainties. For example:
we or our licensors might not have been the first to make the inventions covered by each of our pending patent applications or issued patents;
we or our licensors might not have been the first to file patent applications for these inventions;
it is possible that neither our pending patent applications nor the pending patent applications of our licensors will result in issued patents;
the scope of the patent protection we or our licensors obtain may not be sufficiently broad to prevent others from practicing our technologies, developing competing products, designing around our patented technologies or independently developing similar or alternative technologies;
our and our licensors’ patent applications or patents have been, are and may in the future be, subject to interference, opposition or similar administrative proceedings, which could result in those patent applications failing to issue as patents, those patents being held invalid or the scope of those patents being substantially reduced;
our enforcement of patents and proprietary rights in other countries may be problematic or unpredictable;
we may not be able to prevent third parties from practicing our inventions in all countries outside the United States, or from selling or importing products made using our inventions in and into the United States or other jurisdictions;
we or our partners may not adequately protect our trade secrets;
we may not develop additional proprietary technologies that are patentable; or
the patents of others may limit our freedom to operate and prevent us from commercializing our technology in accordance with our plans.
The occurrence of any of these events could impair our ability to operate without infringing upon the proprietary rights of others or prevent us from establishing or maintaining a competitive advantage over our competitors.
Variability in intellectual property laws may adversely affect our intellectual property position.
Intellectual property laws, and patent laws and regulations in particular, have been subject to significant variability either through administrative or legislative changes to such laws or regulations or changes or differences in judicial interpretation, and it is expected that such variability will continue to occur. Additionally, intellectual property laws and regulations differ by country. Variations in the patent laws and regulations or in interpretations of patent laws and regulations in the United States and other countries may diminish the value of our intellectual property and may change the impact of third-party intellectual property on us. Accordingly, we cannot predict the scope of the patents that may be granted to us with certainty, the extent to which we will be able to enforce our patents against third parties or the extent to which third parties may be able to enforce their patents against us.
Some of the intellectual property that is important to our business is owned by other companies or institutions and licensed to us, and changes to the rights we have licensed may adversely impact our business.
We license from third parties some of the intellectual property that is important to our business. If the third parties who license intellectual property to us fail to maintain the intellectual property that we have licensed, or lose rights to that intellectual property, the rights we have licensed may be reduced or eliminated, which would eliminate barriers against our competition. Termination of these licenses or reduction or elimination of our licensed rights may result in our having to negotiate new or reinstated licenses with less favorable terms, or could subject us to claims of intellectual property infringement or contract breach in litigation or other administrative proceedings that could result in damage awards against us and injunctions that could prohibit us from selling our products. In addition, some of our licenses from third parties limit
the field in which we can use the licensed technology. Therefore, in order for us to use such licensed technology in potential future applications that are outside the licensed field of use, we may be required to negotiate new licenses with our licensors or expand our rights under our existing licenses. We cannot be certain that we will be able to obtain such licenses or expanded rights on reasonable terms or at all. In the event a dispute with our licensors were to occur, our licensors may seek to renegotiate the terms of our licenses, increase the royalty rates that we pay to obtain and maintain those licenses, limit the field or scope of the licenses, or terminate the license agreements. In addition, we have limited rights to participate in the prosecution and enforcement of the patents and patent applications that we have licensed. If we fail to meet our obligations under these licenses, or if we have a dispute regarding the terms of the licenses, these third parties could terminate the licenses, which could subject us to claims of intellectual property infringement. As a result, we cannot be certain that these patents and applications will be prosecuted and enforced in a manner consistent with the best interests of our business. Further, because of the rapid pace of technological change in our industry, we may need to rely on key technologies developed or licensed by third parties, and we may not be able to obtain licenses and technologies from these third parties at all or on reasonable terms. The occurrence of these events may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
The measures that we use to protect the security of and enforce our intellectual property and other proprietary rights may not be adequate, which could result in the loss of legal protection for, and thereby diminish the value of, such intellectual property and other rights.
In addition to patents, we also rely upon trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights, and unfair competition laws, as well as license agreements and other contractual provisions, to protect our intellectual property and other proprietary rights. Despite these measures, any of our intellectual property rights could be challenged, invalidated, circumvented, or misappropriated. In addition, we attempt to protect our intellectual property and proprietary information by requiring our employees and consultants to enter into confidentiality and assignment of inventions agreements, and by entering into confidentiality agreements with our third-party development, manufacturing, sales, and distribution partners, who may also acquire, develop and/or commercialize alternative or competing products or provide services to our competitors. For example, Roche had certain access to our trade secrets and other proprietary information pursuant to an agreement we had entered into with Roche, subject to the confidentiality provisions thereof (certain of which provisions survive the termination of the agreement); however, Roche is developing potentially competing sequencing products. There can be no assurance that our measures have provided or will provide adequate protection for our intellectual property and proprietary information. These agreements may be breached, and we may not have adequate remedies for any such breach. In addition, our trade secrets and other proprietary information may be disclosed to others, or others may gain access to or disclose our trade secrets and other proprietary information. Enforcing a claim that a third party illegally obtained and is using our trade secrets is expensive and time consuming, and the outcome is unpredictable. Additionally, others may independently develop proprietary information and techniques that are substantially equivalent to ours. The occurrence of these events may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, or results of operations.
Our intellectual property may be subject to challenges in the United States or foreign jurisdictions that could adversely affect our intellectual property position.
Our pending, issued and granted U.S. and foreign patents and patent applications have been, are and may in the future be, subject to challenges by ONT Ltd., ONT Inc. and Metrichor, Ltd. (“Metrichor” and, together with ONT Ltd. and ONT Inc., “ONT”) in addition to other parties asserting prior invention by others or invalidity on various grounds, through proceedings, such as interferences, reexaminations, or opposition proceedings. Addressing these challenges to our intellectual property has been, and any future challenges can be, costly and distract management’s attention and resources. For example, we previously incurred significant legal expenses to litigate and settle a complaint seeking review of a patent interference decision of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Additionally, ONT previously requested that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office institute inter partes reviews of certain patents that we have asserted against ONT Inc. and ONT Ltd. in litigation proceedings for patent infringement. While none of the inter partes reviews requested by ONT were instituted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, challenges of this nature before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) in the future could result in determinations that our patents or pending patent applications are unpatentable to us, or are invalidated or unenforceable in whole or in part and could require us to expend significant time, funds, and other resources in litigating such challenges. Accordingly, adverse rulings in such proceedings could negatively impact the scope of our intellectual property protection for our products and technology and could materially and adversely affect our business. Similar mechanisms for challenging the validity and enforceability of a patent exist in foreign patent offices and courts and may result in the revocation, cancellation, or amendment of any foreign patents we hold now or in the future. The outcome following legal assertions of invalidity and unenforceability is unpredictable, and prior art could render our patents invalid. If a defendant were to prevail on a legal assertion of invalidity and/or unenforceability, we would lose at least part, and perhaps all, of the patent protection on such products. Such a loss of patent protection would have a material adverse impact on our business.
Some of our technology is subject to “march-in” rights by the U.S. government.
Some of our patented technology was developed with U.S. federal government funding. When new technologies are developed with U.S. government funding, the government obtains certain rights in any resulting patents, including a nonexclusive license authorizing the government to use the invention for non-commercial purposes. These rights may permit the government to disclose our confidential information to third parties and to exercise “march-in” rights to use or allow third parties to use our patented technology. The government can exercise its march-in rights if it determines that such action is necessary to (i) achieve practical application of the U.S. government-funded technology, (ii) alleviate health or safety needs, (iii) meet requirements of federal regulations, or (iv) give preference to U.S. industry. In addition, U.S. government-funded inventions must be reported to the government and such government funding must be disclosed in any resulting patent applications. Furthermore, our rights in such inventions are subject to government license rights and foreign manufacturing restrictions. The U.S. government has generally denied requests to exercise its march-in rights, even to provide access to potentially life-saving medications; however, if the U.S. government were to exercise its march-in rights to our patent technologies funded by the U.S. government, particularly for the benefit of one of more of our competitors, that may have a material adverse effect on our business.
We are involved in legal proceedings to enforce our intellectual property rights.
Our intellectual property rights involve complex factual, scientific, and legal questions. We operate in an industry characterized by significant intellectual property litigation. Even though we may believe that we have a valid patent on a particular technology, other companies have from time to time taken, and may in the future take, actions that we believe violate our patent rights. For example, we were previously involved in legal proceedings with ONT and Harvard University in several United States and European jurisdictions. We have in the past received adverse rulings against us with respect to our complaint with the United States International Trade Commission for one of these proceedings. Legal actions to enforce our patent rights have been, and will continue to be, expensive, and may divert significant management time and resources. Adverse parties from previous legal actions have brought, and they and others may in the future bring, claims against us and/or our intellectual property. Litigation is a significant ongoing expense, recognized in sales, general and administrative expense, with an uncertain outcome, and has been, and may in the future be, a material expense for us. Our enforcement actions may not be successful, have given rise to legal claims against us and could result in some of our intellectual property rights being determined to be invalid or not enforceable. Furthermore, an adverse determination or judgement could lead to an award of damages against us, or the issuance of an injunction against us or our products that could prevent us from selling any products found to be infringing the intellectual property rights of another party.
We have been, are currently, and could in the future be, subject to legal proceedings with third parties who may claim that our products infringe or misappropriate their intellectual property rights.
Our products are based on complex, rapidly developing technologies. We may not be aware of issued or previously filed patent applications that belong to third parties that mature into issued patents that cover some aspect of our products or their use. In addition, because patent litigation is complex and the outcome inherently uncertain, our belief that our products do not infringe third-party patents of which we are aware or that such third-party patents are invalid and unenforceable may be determined to be incorrect. As a result, third parties have claimed, and may in the future claim, that we infringe their patent rights and have filed, and may in the future file lawsuits or engage in other proceedings against us to enforce their patent rights. For example, we are involved in legal proceedings for alleged patent infringement and related matters in the United States with Personal Genomics of Taiwan, Inc. (“PGI”), Take2 Technologies, Ltd., and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In addition, ONT Ltd. and Harvard University have, in the past, filed claims against us in the High Court of England and Wales and the District Court of Mannheim, Germany for patent infringement, and PGI has filed claims against us in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware and in the Wuhan People’s Court in China. We are aware of other issued patents and patent applications owned by third parties that could be construed to read on our products, and related maintenance and support services. Although we do not believe that our products or services infringe any valid issued patents, the third-party owners of these patents and applications may in the future claim that we infringe their patent rights and file lawsuits against us. In addition, as we enter new markets, our competitors and other third parties may claim that our products infringe their intellectual property rights as part of a business strategy to impede our successful entry into those markets. Furthermore, parties making claims against us may be able to obtain injunctive or other relief, which effectively could block our ability to further develop or commercialize products or services and could result in the award of substantial damages against us. Patent litigation between competitors in our industry is common. Additionally, we have certain obligations to many of our customers and suppliers to indemnify and defend them against claims by third parties that our products or their use infringe any intellectual property of these third parties. In defending ourselves against any of these claims, we have in the past incurred, and could in the future incur, to defend ourselves or our customers, substantial costs, and the attention of our management and technical personnel could be diverted. For example, we previously incurred significant legal expenses to litigate and settle a complaint alleging patent infringement. Even if we have an agreement that indemnifies us against such costs, the indemnifying party may be unable to uphold its contractual obligations. To avoid or settle legal claims, it may be necessary or desirable in the future to obtain licenses relating to one or more products or relating to current or future
technologies, which could negatively affect our gross margins. We may not be able to obtain these licenses on commercially reasonable terms, or at all. We may be unable to modify our products so that they do not infringe the intellectual property rights of third parties. In some situations, the results of litigation or settlement of claims may require us to cease allegedly infringing activities which could prevent us from selling some or all of our products. The occurrence of these events may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, or results of operations.
In addition, in the course of our business, we may from time to time have access or be alleged to have access to confidential or proprietary information of others, which, though not patented, may be protected as trade secrets. Others could bring claims against us asserting that we improperly used their confidential or proprietary information, or that we misappropriated their technologies and incorporated those technologies into our products. A determination that we illegally used the confidential or proprietary information or misappropriated technologies of others in our products could result in us paying substantial damage awards or being prevented from further developing or selling some or all of our products, which could materially and adversely affect our business.
We have not yet registered some of our trademarks in all of our potential markets, and failure to secure those registrations could adversely affect our business.
Some of our trademark applications may not be allowed for registration, and our registered trademarks may not be maintained or enforced. In addition, in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and in comparable agencies in many foreign jurisdictions, third parties are given an opportunity to oppose pending trademark applications and to seek to cancel registered trademarks. Opposition or cancellation proceedings may be filed against our trademarks, and our trademarks may not survive such proceedings.
Our use of “open source” software could adversely affect our ability to sell our products and subject us to possible litigation.
A portion of the products or technologies developed and/or distributed by us incorporate “open source” software, and we may incorporate open source software into other products or technologies in the future. Some open source software licenses require that we disclose the source code for any modifications to such open source software that we make and distribute to one or more third parties, and that we license the source code for such modifications to third parties, including our competitors, at no cost. We monitor the use of open source software in our products to avoid uses in a manner that would require us to disclose or grant licenses under our source code that we wish to maintain as proprietary; however, there can be no assurance that such efforts have been or will be successful. In some circumstances, distribution of our software that includes or is linked with open source software could require that we disclose and license some or all of our proprietary source code in that software, which could include permitting the use of such software and source code at no cost to the user. Open source license terms are often ambiguous and there is little legal precedent governing the interpretation of these licenses. Successful claims made by the licensors of open source software that we have violated the terms of these licenses could result in unanticipated obligations, including being subject to significant damages, being enjoined from distributing products that incorporate open source software and being required to make available our proprietary source code pursuant to an open source license, which could substantially help our competitors develop products that are similar to or better than ours or otherwise materially and adversely affect our business.
Risks Related to Regulation
We are, and may become, subject to governmental regulations that may impose burdens on our operations, and the markets for our products may be narrowed.
We are subject, both directly and indirectly, to the adverse impact of government regulation of our operations and markets. For example, export of our instruments may be subject to strict regulatory control in a number of jurisdictions. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the United States and other countries imposed certain economic sanctions and severe export control restrictions against Russia and Belarus as well as certain Russian nationals and individuals and entities with ties to Russia, Belarus, and this conflict. These sanctions and restrictions have continued to increase as the conflict has further escalated and now cover the export of our products to Russia, and the United States and other countries could impose even wider sanctions and export restrictions and take other actions in the future that could further limit our ability to provide products in certain locations. Additionally, new restrictions on the ability to send certain products and technology related to semiconductors, semiconductor manufacturing, and supercomputing to China without an export license discussed above impact our ability to provide products to customers or distributors in China. We have expanded and are continuing to expand the international jurisdictions into which we supply products, which increases the risks surrounding governmental regulations relating to our business. The need to or failure to satisfy export control criteria or to obtain necessary clearances could delay or prevent shipment of products, which could materially and adversely affect our revenue and profitability. Moreover, the life sciences industry, which is expected to continue to be one of the primary markets for our technology, has historically been heavily regulated. There are, for example, laws in several jurisdictions restricting research in genetic engineering, which may narrow our markets. Given the evolving nature of this industry, legislative bodies or regulatory authorities may adopt additional regulations that may adversely affect our market opportunities. Additionally, if
ethical and other concerns surrounding the use of genetic information, diagnostics or therapies become widespread, there may be less demand for our products.
Our business is also directly affected by a wide variety of government regulations applicable to business enterprises generally and to companies operating in the life science industry in particular. Failure to comply with government regulations or obtain or maintain necessary permits and licenses could result in a variety of fines or other censures or an interruption in our business operations which may have a negative impact on our ability to generate revenue and the cost of operating our business. In addition, changes to laws and government regulations could cause a material adverse effect on our business as we will need to adapt our business to comply with such changes. For example, a governmental prohibition on the use of human in vitro diagnostics or other regulations that negatively impact the research and development activities of our customers would adversely impact our commercialization of products on which we have expended significant research and development resources, which would in turn have a material adverse impact on our business and prospects.
Our products could become subject to government regulation as medical devices by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or other domestic and international regulatory agencies even if we do not elect to seek regulatory clearance or approval to market our products for diagnostic purposes, which could increase our costs and impede or delay our commercialization efforts, thereby materially and adversely affecting our business and results of operations.
Our products are currently labeled and promoted as research use only (“RUO”) products, and are not currently designed, or intended to be used, for clinical diagnostic tests or as medical devices. However, in the future, certain of our products or related applications, such as those that may be developed for clinical uses, could be subject to regulation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), or the FDA’s regulatory jurisdiction could be expanded to include our products. Also, even if our products are labeled, promoted, and intended as RUO, the FDA or comparable agencies of other countries could disagree with our conclusion that our products are intended for research use only or deem our sales, marketing and promotional efforts as being inconsistent with the FDA’s guidance on RUO products. For example, our customers may independently elect to use our RUO labeled products in their own laboratory developed tests (“LDTs”) for clinical diagnostic use, which could subject our products to government regulation, and the regulatory clearance or approval and maintenance process for such products may be uncertain, expensive, and time-consuming. Regulatory requirements related to marketing, selling, and distribution of RUO products could change or be uncertain, even if clinical uses of our RUO products by our customers were done without our consent. If the FDA or other regulatory authorities assert that any of our RUO products are subject to regulatory clearance or approval, our business, financial condition, or results of operations could be adversely affected. In the event that we fail to obtain and maintain necessary regulatory clearances or approvals for products that we develop for clinical uses, or if clearances or approvals for future products and indications are delayed or not issued, our commercial operations may be materially harmed. Furthermore, even if we are granted regulatory clearances or approvals, they may include significant limitations on the indicated uses for the product, which may limit the market for the product. We do not have experience in obtaining FDA approvals and no assurance can be given that we will be able to obtain or to maintain such approvals. Furthermore, any approvals that we may obtain can be revoked if safety or efficacy problems develop.
The FDA has historically exercised enforcement discretion in not enforcing the medical device regulations against laboratories developing and offering LDTs. However, in 2014, the FDA issued two draft guidance documents that set forth the FDA’s proposed risk-based framework for regulating LDTs, which are designed, manufactured, and used within a single laboratory. The draft guidance documents provide the anticipated details through which the FDA would propose to establish an LDT oversight framework, including pre-market review for higher-risk LDTs, such as those that have the same intended use as FDA-approved or cleared companion diagnostic tests currently on the market. In 2017, the FDA announced that it would not issue final guidance on the oversight of LDTs, and manufacturers of products used for LDTs, but would seek further public discussion on an appropriate oversight approach, and give Congress an opportunity to develop a legislative solution. More recently, the FDA has issued warning letters to certain genomics labs for illegally marketing genetic tests that claim to predict patients’ responses to specific medications, noting that the FDA has not created a legal “carve-out” for LDTs and retains discretion to take action when appropriate, such as when certain genomic tests raise significant public health concerns.
As manufacturers develop more complex diagnostic tests and diagnostic software, the FDA may increase its regulation of LDTs. Any future legislative or administrative rule making or oversight of LDTs, if and when finalized, may impact the sales of our products and how customers use our products, and may require us to change our business model in order to maintain compliance with these laws. We cannot predict how these various efforts will be resolved, how Congress or the FDA will regulate LDTs in the future, or how that regulatory system will impact our business. Changes to the current regulatory framework, including the imposition of additional or new regulations, including regulation of our products, could arise at any time during the development or marketing of our products, which may negatively affect our ability to obtain or maintain FDA or comparable regulatory approval of our products, if required. Further, sales of devices for diagnostic purposes may subject us to additional healthcare regulation and enforcement by the applicable government agencies. Such laws include, without limitation, state and federal anti-kickback or anti-referral laws, healthcare fraud and abuse laws, false claims laws, privacy
and security laws, Physician Payments Sunshine Act and related transparency and manufacturer reporting laws, and other laws and regulations applicable to medical device manufacturers.
Additionally, in 2013, the FDA issued Final Guidance “Distribution of In Vitro Diagnostic Products Labeled for Research Use Only.” The guidance emphasizes that the FDA will review the totality of the circumstances when it comes to evaluating whether equipment and testing components are properly labeled as RUO. The final guidance states that merely including a labeling statement that the product is for research purposes only will not necessarily render the device exempt from the FDA’s clearance, approval, and other regulatory requirements if the circumstances surrounding the distribution, marketing and promotional practices indicate that the manufacturer knows its products are, or intends for its products to be, used for clinical diagnostic purposes. These circumstances may include written or verbal sales and marketing claims or links to articles regarding a product’s performance in clinical applications and a manufacturer’s provision of technical support for clinical applications.
In August 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS") announced rescission of guidance and other informal issuances of FDA regarding pre-market review of LDT absent notice-and-comment rulemaking, stating that, absent notice-and-comment rulemaking LDTs are not required to obtain FDA pre-market authorization. In November 2021, HHS under the Biden administration issued a statement that withdrew the August 2020 policy announcement stating that HHS does not have a policy on LDTs that is separate from FDA’s longstanding approach.
Legislative and administrative proposals to amend the FDA's oversight of LDTs have been introduced in recent years, including the Verifying Accurate Leading-edge IVCT Development Act of 2021 (the "VALID Act"), which aims to create a new category of medical products separate from medical devices called “in vitro clinical tests,” or IVCTs, and bring all such products within the scope of the FDA’s oversight. To date, Congress has not passed the VALID Act, but may revisit the VALID Act or similar policy riders and enact other FDA programmatic reforms in the future. It is unclear how future legislation by federal and state governments and FDA regulation will impact the industry, including our business and that of our customers.
If the FDA determines our products or related applications should be subject to additional regulation as in vitro diagnostic devices based upon customers’ use of our products for clinical diagnostic or therapeutic decision-making purposes, our ability to market and sell our products could be impeded and our business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition may be adversely affected. In addition, the FDA could consider our products to be misbranded or adulterated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and subject to recall and/or other enforcement action.
To the extent we elect to label and promote any of our products as medical devices, we would be required to obtain prior approval or clearance by the FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authority, which could take significant time and expense and could fail to result in a marketing authorization for the intended uses we believe are commercially attractive. Obtaining marketing authorization in one jurisdiction does not mean that we will be successful in obtaining marketing authorization in other jurisdictions where we conduct business.
If we elect to label and market our products for use as, or in the performance of, clinical diagnostics in the United States, thereby subjecting them to FDA regulation as medical devices, we would be required to obtain pre-market 510(k) clearance or pre-market approval from the FDA, unless an exception applies. It is possible, in the event we elect to submit 510(k) applications for certain of our products, that the FDA would take the position that a more burdensome pre-market application, such as a PMA or a de novo application is required for some of our products. If such applications were required, greater time and investment would be required to obtain FDA approval. Even if the FDA agreed that a 510(k) was appropriate, FDA clearance can be expensive and time consuming. It generally takes a significant amount of time to prepare a 510(k), including conducting appropriate testing on our products, and several months to years for the FDA to review a submission. Notwithstanding the effort and expense, FDA clearance or approval could be denied for some or all of our products for which we choose to market as a medical device or a clinical diagnostic device. Even if we were to seek and obtain regulatory approval or clearance, it may not be for the intended uses we request or that we believe are important or commercially attractive. There can be no assurance that future products for which we may seek pre-market clearance or approval will be approved or cleared by FDA or a comparable foreign regulatory authority on a timely basis, if at all, nor can there be assurance that labeling claims will be consistent with our anticipated claims or adequate to support continued adoption of such products. Compliance with FDA or comparable foreign regulatory authority regulations will require substantial costs, and subject us to heightened scrutiny by regulators and substantial penalties for failure to comply with such requirements or the inability to market our products. The lengthy and unpredictable pre-market clearance or approval process, as well as the unpredictability of the results of any required clinical studies, may result in our failing to obtain regulatory clearance or approval to market such products, which would significantly harm our business, results of operations, reputation, and prospects.
If we sought and received regulatory clearance or approval for certain of our products, we would be subject to ongoing FDA obligations and continued regulatory oversight and review, including the general controls listed above and the FDA’s QSRs for our development and manufacturing operations. In addition, we would be required to obtain a new 510(k) clearance before we could introduce subsequent material modifications or improvements to such products. We could also be subject to
additional FDA post-marketing obligations for such products, any or all of which would increase our costs and divert resources away from other projects. If we sought and received regulatory clearance or approval and are not able to maintain regulatory compliance with applicable laws, we could be prohibited from marketing our products for use as, or in the performance of, clinical diagnostics and/or could be subject to enforcement actions, including warning letters and adverse publicity, fines, injunctions, and civil penalties; recall or seizure of products; operating restrictions; and criminal prosecution.
Further, if we decide to seek regulatory clearance or approval for certain of our products in countries outside of the United States or if a foreign regulatory authority determines that our products are regulated as medical devices, we would be subject to extensive medical device laws and regulations outside of the United States. Sales of such products outside the United States will likely be subject to foreign regulatory requirements, which can vary greatly from country to country. As a result, the time required to obtain clearances or approvals outside the United States may differ from that required to obtain FDA clearance or approval and we may not be able to obtain foreign regulatory approvals on a timely basis or at all. In Europe, we would need to comply with the Medical Device Regulation 2017/745 and In Vitro Diagnostic Regulation 2017/746, which became effective May 26, 2017, with application dates of May 26, 2021 (postponed from 2020) and May 26, 2022, respectively. This will increase the difficulty of regulatory approvals in Europe in the future. In addition, the FDA regulates exports of medical devices. The number and scope of these requirements are increasing. Unlike many of the other companies offering nucleic acid sequencing equipment or consumables, this is an area where we do not have expertise. We, or our other third-party sales and distribution partners, may not be able to obtain regulatory approvals in such countries or may incur significant costs in obtaining or maintaining our foreign regulatory approvals. In addition, the export by us of certain of our products, which have not yet been cleared for domestic commercial distribution, may be subject to FDA or other export restrictions. Failure to comply with these regulatory requirements or obtain and maintain required approvals, clearances and certifications could impair our ability to commercialize our products for diagnostic use outside of the United States. Any action brought against us for violations of these laws or regulations, even if successfully defended, could cause us to incur significant legal expenses and divert our management’s attention from the operation of our business.
Enhanced trade tariffs, import restrictions, export restrictions, Chinese regulations, or other trade barriers may materially harm our business.
We are continuing to expand our international operations as part of our growth strategy and have experienced an increasing concentration of sales in certain regions outside the United States, especially the Asia-Pacific region, as discussed above. There is currently significant uncertainty about the future relationship between the United States and various other countries, most significantly China, with respect to trade policies, treaties, government regulations and tariffs. Starting in September 2018, the U.S. Trade Representative (the “USTR”) enacted various tariffs of 7.5%, 10%, 15%, and 25% on the import of Chinese products, including non-U.S. components and materials that may be used in our products. Additionally, China also has imposed tariffs on imports into China from the United States. These tariffs have and could continue to raise our costs. Furthermore, tariffs, trade restrictions, or trade barriers that have been, and may in the future be, placed on products such as ours by foreign governments, especially China, have raised, and could further raise, amounts paid for some or all of our products, which may result in the loss of customers and our business, and our financial condition and results of operations may be harmed. Further tariffs may be imposed that could cover imports of components and materials used in our products, or our business may be adversely impacted by retaliatory trade measures taken by China or other countries, including restricted access to components or materials used in our products or increased amounts that must be paid for our products, which could materially harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Additionally, the U.S. government recently announced new controls restricting the ability to send certain products and technology related to semiconductors, semiconductor manufacturing, and supercomputing to China without an export license. These new controls also apply to certain hardware containing these specified integrated circuits. In many cases, these licenses are subject to a policy of denial and will not be issued. These controls may impact our ability to export certain products to customers or distributors in China and restrict our ability to use certain integrated circuits in our products. The U.S. government also recently added additional entities in China to restricted party lists impacting the ability of U.S. companies to provide items to these entities. Moreover, in November 2018, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) released an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to control the export of emerging technologies. This notice included “[b]iotechnology, including nanobiology; synthetic biology; genomic and genetic engineering; or neurotech” as possible areas of increased export controls. The Biden Administration has continued to provide updated lists of emerging technologies subject to national security consents, and it continues to include biotechnologies including “[g]enome and protein engineering including design tools” and “[b]iomanufacturing and bioprocessing technologies.” Therefore, it is possible that our ability to export our products to customers or distributors in China may be further restricted in the future.
It is possible that the Chinese government will retaliate in response to existing or future U.S. export controls or trade restrictions in ways that could impact our business. It also is possible that additional restrictions will be put in place that could impact our ability to provide our products to customers or distributors in China or source components from China. The continued threats of tariffs, trade restrictions and trade barriers could have a generally disruptive impact on the global
economy and, therefore, negatively impact our sales. Given the relatively fluid regulatory environment in China and the United States and uncertainty how the U.S. or foreign governments will act with respect to export controls, tariffs, international trade agreements and policies, there could be additional tax or other regulatory changes in the future. Any such changes could directly and adversely impact our financial results and results of operations.
Our international business could expose us to business, regulatory, political, operational, financial, and economic risks associated with doing business outside of the United States.
Engaging in international business inherently involves a number of difficulties and risks, including:
required compliance with existing and changing foreign regulatory requirements and laws that are or may be applicable to our business in the future, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) and other data privacy requirements, labor and employment regulations, anti-competition regulations, the U.K. Bribery Act of 2010 and other anti-corruption laws, regulations relating to the use of certain hazardous substances or chemicals in commercial products, and require the collection, reuse, and recycling of waste from products we manufacture;
required compliance with U.S. laws such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and other U.S. federal laws and trade and economic sanctions and other regulations established by the Office of Foreign Asset Control;
export requirements and import or trade restrictions;
laws and business practices favoring local companies;
restrictions on both inbound and outbound cross-border investment;
foreign currency exchange, longer payment cycles and difficulties in enforcing agreements and collecting receivables through certain foreign legal systems;
changes in social, economic, and political conditions or in laws, regulations and policies governing foreign trade, manufacturing, research and development, and investment both domestically as well as in the other countries and jurisdictions in which we operate and into which we may sell our products including as a result of the separation of the United Kingdom from the European Union (“Brexit”) and ongoing geopolitical tensions related to the political uncertainty and military actions associated with the war in Ukraine, resulting sanctions imposed by the U.S. and other countries, and retaliatory actions taken by Russia in response to such sanctions;
potentially adverse tax consequences, tariffs, customs charges, bureaucratic requirements, and other trade barriers;
difficulties and costs of staffing and managing foreign operations; and
difficulties protecting, maintaining, enforcing, or procuring intellectual property rights and defending against intellectual property claims under the law and judicial systems of other countries.
If one or more of these risks occurs, it could require us to dedicate significant resources to remedy such occurrence, and if we are unsuccessful in finding a solution, our financial results will suffer.
Our operations involve the use of hazardous materials, and we must comply with environmental, health and safety laws, which can be expensive and may adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition.
Our research and development and manufacturing activities involve the use of hazardous materials, including chemicals and biological materials, and some of our products include hazardous materials. Accordingly, we are subject to federal, state, local and foreign laws, regulations, and permits relating to environmental, health and safety matters, including, among others, those governing the use, storage, handling, exposure to and disposal of hazardous materials and wastes, the health and safety of our employees, and the shipment, labeling, collection, recycling, treatment, and disposal of products containing hazardous materials. Liability under environmental laws and regulations can be joint and several and without regard to fault or negligence. For example, under certain circumstances and under certain environmental laws, we could be held liable for costs relating to contamination at our or our predecessors’ past or present facilities and at third-party waste disposal sites. We could also be held liable for damages arising out of human exposure to hazardous materials. There can be no assurance that violations of environmental, health and safety laws will not occur as a result of human error, accident, equipment failure or other causes. The failure to comply with past, present or future laws could result in the imposition of substantial fines and penalties, remediation costs, property damage and personal injury claims, investigations, the suspension of production or product sales, loss of permits or a cessation of operations. Any of these events could harm our business, operating results, and financial condition. We also expect that our operations will be affected by new environmental, health and safety laws and regulations on an ongoing basis, or more stringent enforcement of existing laws and regulations. New laws or changes to existing laws may result in additional costs and may increase penalties associated with violations or require us to change the content of our products or how we manufacture them, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results, and financial condition.
Ethical, legal, privacy, data protection and social concerns or governmental restrictions surrounding the use of genetic information could reduce demand for our technology.
Our products may be used to provide genetic information about humans, agricultural crops and other living organisms. The information obtained from our products could be used in a variety of applications which may have underlying ethical, legal, privacy, data protection and social concerns, including the genetic engineering or modification of agricultural products or testing for genetic predisposition for certain medical conditions. Governmental authorities could, for safety, social or other purposes, call for limits on or regulation of the use of genetic testing, and may consider or adopt such regulations or other restrictions. Such concerns or governmental restrictions could limit the use of our products or be costly and burdensome to comply with, and actual or perceived violations of any such restrictions may lead to the imposition of substantial fines and penalties, remediation costs, claims and litigation, regulatory investigations and proceedings, and other liability, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Regulations related to conflict minerals has caused us to incur, and will continue to cause us to incur, additional expenses and could limit the supply and increase the costs of certain materials used in the manufacture of our products.
We are subject to requirements under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 that require us to conduct diligence and report on whether or not our products contain conflict minerals. The implementation of these requirements could adversely affect the sourcing, availability and pricing of the materials used in the manufacture of components used in our products. Furthermore, the complex nature of our products requires components and materials that may be available only from a limited number of sources and, in some cases, from only a single source. We have incurred, and will continue to incur, additional costs to comply with the disclosure requirements, including costs related to conducting diligence procedures to determine the sources of conflict minerals that may be used or necessary to the production of our products and, if applicable, potential changes to components, processes, or sources of supply as a consequence of such verification activities. We may face reputational harm if we determine that certain of our products contain minerals that are not determined to be conflict free or if we are unable to alter our processes or sources of supply to avoid using such materials. In such circumstances, the reputational harm could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, or results of operations.
Risks Related to Owning Our Common Stock
The price of our common stock has been, is, and may continue to be, highly volatile, and you may be unable to sell your shares at or above the price you paid to acquire them.
The market price of our common stock is highly volatile, and we expect it to continue to be volatile for the foreseeable future in response to many risk factors listed in this section, and others beyond our control, including:
actual or anticipated fluctuations in our financial condition and operating results;
announcements of new products, technological innovations or strategic partnerships by us or our competitors;
announcements by us, our customers, partners, or suppliers relating directly or indirectly to our products, services or technologies;
overall conditions in our industry and market;
addition or loss of significant customers;
changes in laws or regulations applicable to our products;
actual or anticipated changes in our growth rate relative to our competitors;
announcements by us or our competitors of significant acquisitions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures, capital commitments or achievement of significant milestones;
additions or departures of key personnel;
competition from existing products or new products that may emerge;
issuance of new or updated research or reports by securities analysts;
fluctuations in the valuation of companies perceived by investors to be comparable to us;
disputes or other developments related to proprietary rights, including patents, litigation matters or our ability to obtain intellectual property protection for our technologies;
announcement or expectation of additional financing efforts;
sales of our common stock by us or our stockholders;
stock price and volume fluctuations attributable to inconsistent trading volume levels of our shares;
reports, guidance and ratings issued by securities or industry analysts;
operating results below the expectations of securities analysts or investors; and
general economic and market conditions, which could be impacted by various events including COVID-19 or interest rate fluctuations, increases in fuel prices, foreign currency fluctuations, international tariffs, acts of terrorism, hostilities or the perception that hostilities may be imminent, military conflict and acts of war, including further political uncertainty and military actions associated with the war in Ukraine and the related response, including sanctions or other restrictive actions, by the United States and/or other countries.
If any of the forgoing occurs, it would cause our stock price or trading volume to decline. Stock markets in general and the market for companies in our industry in particular have experienced price and volume fluctuations, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and current macroeconomic trends and geopolitical events, and have affected and continue to affect the market prices of equity securities of many companies. These fluctuations often have been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of those companies. These broad market and industry fluctuations, as well as general economic, political and market conditions such as recessions, interest rate changes or international currency fluctuations, may negatively impact the market price of our common stock. You may not realize any return on your investment in us and may lose some or all of your investment. In the past, companies that have experienced volatility in the market price of their stock have been subject to securities class action litigation. We have been a party to this type of litigation in the past and may be the target of this type of litigation again in the future. Securities litigation against us could result in substantial costs and divert our management’s attention from other business concerns, which could seriously harm our business.
Sales of substantial amounts of our common stock in the public markets, or the perception that such sales might occur, could reduce the market price that our common stock might otherwise attain and may dilute your voting power and your ownership interest in us.
Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public market, or the perception that such sales could occur, could adversely affect the market price of our common stock and may make it more difficult for existing stockholders to sell their common stock at a time and price that they deem appropriate and may dilute their voting power and ownership interest in us.
In addition, if our existing stockholders sell, or indicate an intent to sell, a large number of shares of our common stock in the public market, it could cause our stock price to fall. We may also issue shares of common stock or securities convertible into our common stock in connection with a financing, acquisition, our equity incentive plans, or otherwise. Any such issuances would result in dilution to our existing stockholders and the market price of our common stock may be adversely affected.
In September 2021, in connection with the closing of the Omniome Merger, we completed a private placement of an aggregate of 11,214,953 shares of our common stock, at a price of $26.75 per share, for aggregate gross proceeds of approximately $300 million (the “Private Placement”) and registered the Private Placement shares for resale on a registration statement on Form S-3. The Private Placement Investors may sell any or all of their shares pursuant to the registration statement from time to time.
On January 27, 2023, we issued and sold an aggregate of 20,125,000 shares of our common stock at a purchase price of $10.00 per share pursuant to an automatic shelf registration statement filed on Form S-3 (File No. 333-249999) with the Securities and Exchange Commission, resulting in aggregate gross proceeds of approximately $201.3 million. The investors may sell any or all of their shares from time to time.
Concentration of ownership by our principal stockholders may result in control by such stockholders of the composition of our board of directors.
Our existing principal stockholders, executive officers, directors, and their affiliates beneficially own a significant number of our outstanding shares of common stock. In addition, such parties may acquire additional control by purchasing stock that we issue in connection with our future fundraising efforts. These parties may now and in the future be able to exercise a significant level of control over all matters requiring stockholder approval, including the election of directors. This control could have the effect of delaying or preventing a change of control of our company or changes in management and will make the approval of certain transactions difficult or impossible without the support of these stockholders.
Anti-takeover provisions in our charter documents and under Delaware law could make an acquisition of us, which may be beneficial to our stockholders, more difficult and may prevent attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management and limit the market price of our common stock.
Provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws may have the effect of delaying or preventing a change of control or changes in our management. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws include provisions that:
authorize our board of directors to issue, without further action by the stockholders, up to 50,000,000 shares of undesignated preferred stock and up to approximately 1,000,000,000 shares of authorized but unissued shares of common stock;
require that any action to be taken by our stockholders be effected at a duly called annual or special meeting and not by written consent;
specify that special meetings of our stockholders can be called only by our board of directors, the Chair of the Board, the Chief Executive Officer or the President;
establish advance notice procedures for stockholder approvals to be brought before an annual meeting of our stockholders, including proposed nominations of persons for election to our board of directors;
establish that our board of directors is divided into three classes, Class I, Class II and Class III, with each class serving staggered terms;
provide that our directors may be removed only for cause; and
provide that vacancies on our board of directors may be filled only by a majority of directors then in office, even though less than a quorum.
These provisions may frustrate or prevent any attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management by making it more difficult for stockholders to replace members of our board of directors, which is responsible for appointing the members of our management. In addition, because we are incorporated in Delaware, we are governed by the provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, which limits the ability of stockholders owning in excess of 15% of our outstanding voting stock to merge or combine with us.
Our amended and restated bylaws designate a state or federal court located within the State of Delaware as the exclusive forum for certain stockholder litigation matters, and also provide that the federal district courts will be the exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, each of which could limit our stockholders’ ability to choose the judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers, stockholders, or employees.
Our amended and restated bylaws provide that unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware (or, if the Court of Chancery does not have jurisdiction, another State court in Delaware or the federal district court for the District of Delaware) will, to the fullest extent permitted by law, be the sole and exclusive forum for: (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf; (ii) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our current or former directors, stockholders, officers, or other employees to us or our stockholders; (iii) any action arising pursuant to any provision of the Delaware General Corporation Law; (iv) any action to interpret, apply, enforce or determine the validity of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation or our amended and restated bylaws; or (v) any action asserting a claim governed by the internal affairs doctrine, except as to each of (i) through (v) above, for any claim as to which such court determines that there is an indispensable party not subject to the jurisdiction of such court.
Section 22 of the Securities Act creates concurrent jurisdiction for federal and state courts over all such Securities Act actions. Accordingly, both state and federal courts have jurisdiction to entertain such claims. To prevent having to litigate claims in multiple jurisdictions and the threat of inconsistent or contrary rulings by different courts, among other considerations, our amended and restated bylaws also provide that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the federal district courts of the United States of America will be the exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act including, without limitation and for the avoidance of doubt, any auditor, underwriter, expert, control person or other defendant.
Any person or entity purchasing, holding or otherwise acquiring any interest in any of our securities shall be deemed to have notice of and consented to the foregoing bylaw provisions. Although we believe these exclusive forum provisions benefit us by providing increased consistency in the application of Delaware law and federal securities laws in the types of lawsuits to which each applies, the exclusive forum provisions may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum of its choosing for disputes with us or any of our directors, stockholders, officers or other employees, which may discourage lawsuits with respect to such claims against us and our current and former directors, stockholders, officers or other employees. In addition, a stockholder that is unable to bring a claim in the judicial forum of its choosing may be required to incur additional costs in the pursuit of actions which are subject to the exclusive forum provisions described above. Our stockholders will not be deemed to have waived our compliance with the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder as a result of our exclusive forum provisions. Further, in the event a court finds either exclusive forum provision contained in our bylaws to be unenforceable or inapplicable in an action, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such action in other jurisdictions, which could harm our results of operations.
Our large number of authorized but unissued shares of common stock may potentially dilute existing stockholders’ stockholdings.
We have a significant number of authorized but unissued shares of common stock. Our board of directors may issue shares of common stock from this authorized but unissued pool from time to time without stockholder approval, resulting in the dilution of our existing stockholders.
We do not intend to pay dividends for the foreseeable future.
We have never declared or paid any dividends on our common stock and do not intend to pay any dividends in the foreseeable future. We anticipate that we will retain all of our future earnings for use in the operation of our business and for general corporate purposes. Any determination to pay dividends in the future will be at the discretion of our board of directors. Accordingly, investors must rely on sales of their common stock after price appreciation, which may never occur, as the only way to realize any future gains on their investments.
Risks Related to Our Notes
We may not have the ability to raise the funds necessary to settle conversions of the Notes in cash or to repurchase the Notes upon a fundamental change, and our future debt may contain limitations on our ability to pay cash upon conversion or repurchase of the Notes.
In February 2021, we issued $900.0 million in aggregate principal amount of 1.50% Convertible Senior Notes due 2028, which we refer to as the Notes. The Notes will mature on February 15, 2028, subject to earlier conversion, redemption or repurchase, including upon a fundamental change. Holders of the Notes will have the right to require us to repurchase all or a portion of their Notes upon the occurrence of a fundamental change before the maturity date at a repurchase price equal to 100% of the principal amount of the Notes to be repurchased, plus unpaid interest to, but excluding, the maturity date. In addition, upon conversion of the Notes, unless we elect to deliver solely shares of our common stock to settle such conversion (other than paying cash in lieu of delivering any fractional share), we will be required to settle a portion or all of our conversion obligation in cash in respect of the Notes being converted. Moreover, we will be required to repay the Notes in cash at their maturity unless earlier converted, redeemed, or repurchased. However, we may not have enough available cash or be able to obtain financing at the time we are required to make repurchases of Notes surrendered therefor or pay cash with respect to Notes being converted or at their maturity.
In addition, our ability to repurchase Notes or to pay cash upon conversions of Notes or at their maturity may be limited by law, regulatory authority or agreements governing our future indebtedness. Our failure to repurchase Notes at a time when the repurchase is required by the indenture or to pay cash upon conversions of Notes or at their maturity as required by the indenture would constitute a default under the indenture. A default under the indenture or the fundamental change itself could also lead to a default under agreements governing our future indebtedness. Moreover, the occurrence of a fundamental change under the indenture could constitute an event of default under any such agreement. If the payment of the related indebtedness were to be accelerated after any applicable notice or grace periods, we may not have sufficient funds to repay the indebtedness or to pay cash amounts due upon conversion, upon required repurchase or at maturity of the Notes.
If the Notes are converted, it may adversely affect our financial condition and operating results.
Holders of the Notes are entitled to convert their Notes at any time at their option. If one or more holders elect to convert their Notes, unless we elect to satisfy our conversion obligation by delivering solely shares of our common stock (other than paying cash in lieu of delivering any fractional share), we would be required to settle a portion or all of our conversion obligation in cash, which could adversely affect our liquidity.
General Risk Factors
Unfavorable global economic or political conditions could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
General conditions in the global economy and in the global financial markets could adversely affect our results of operations, including the potential effects from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as discussed above, and the overall demand for nucleic acid sequencing products may be particularly vulnerable to unfavorable economic conditions. A global financial crisis, inflation or a global or regional political disruption, as well as acts of terrorism, hostilities, military conflict and acts of war, including any further political uncertainty and military actions associated with the war in Ukraine and the related response, could cause extreme volatility in the capital and credit markets. A severe or prolonged economic downturn or political disruption could result in a variety of risks to our business, including weakened demand for our products and our ability to raise additional capital when needed on acceptable terms, if at all. A weak or declining economy or political disruption could also strain our manufacturers or suppliers, possibly resulting in supply disruption, or cause our customers to delay making payments for our product and services. An impairment in value of our tangible or intangible assets could also be recorded as a result of weaker economic conditions. Any of the foregoing could harm our business and we cannot anticipate all of the ways in which the political or economic climate and financial market conditions could adversely impact our business.
Delivery of our products could be delayed or disrupted by factors beyond our control, and we could lose customers as a result.
We rely on third-party carriers for the timely delivery of our products. As a result, we are subject to carrier disruptions and increased costs that are beyond our control. Any failure to deliver products to our customers in a safe and timely manner may damage our reputation and brand and could cause us to lose customers. If our relationship with any of these third-party carriers is terminated or impaired or if any of these carriers are unable to deliver our products, the delivery of our products by our customers may be delayed, which could harm our business and financial results. The failure to deliver our products in a safe and timely manner may harm our relationship with our customers, increase our costs and otherwise disrupt our operations.
Doing business internationally creates operational and financial risks for our business.
We currently conduct operations in various countries and jurisdictions, and continue to expand to new international jurisdictions as part of our growth strategy and have experienced an increasing concentration of sales in certain regions outside the U.S. We sell directly and through distribution partners throughout Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, Mexico, Brazil, and South Africa and have a significant portion of our sales and customer support personnel in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. As a result, we or our distribution partners may be subject to additional regulations and increased diversion of management time and efforts. Conducting and launching operations on an international scale requires close coordination of activities across multiple jurisdictions and time zones and consumes significant management resources. If we fail to coordinate and manage these activities effectively, our business, financial condition or results of operations could be materially and adversely affected and failure to comply with laws and regulations applicable to business operations in foreign jurisdictions may also subject us to significant liabilities and other penalties. International operations entail a variety of other risks, including, without limitation:
limits to travel as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic or other epidemics;
challenges in staffing and managing foreign operations;
potentially longer sales cycles and more time required to engage and educate customers on the benefits of our platform outside of the United States;
the potential need for localized software and documentation;
reduced protection for intellectual property rights in some countries and practical difficulties of enforcing intellectual property and contract rights abroad;
defending against intellectual property claims in other countries;
restrictions on both inbound and outbound cross-border investment, including enhanced oversight by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”) and substantial restrictions on investment from China;
U.S. and foreign government trade restrictions, including those which may impose restrictions on the importation, exportation, re-exportation, sale, shipment or other transfer of programming, technology, components, and/or services to foreign persons;
changes in diplomatic and trade relationships, including new tariffs, trade protection measures, import or export licensing requirements, trade embargoes, sanctions, and other trade barriers;
tariffs imposed by the U.S. on goods from other countries and tariffs imposed by other countries on U.S. goods, including the tariffs by the U.S. government on various imports from China, Canada, Mexico, and the European Union (“E.U.”) and by the governments of these jurisdictions on certain U.S. goods, and any other possible tariffs that may be imposed on products such as ours, the scope and duration of which, if implemented, remains uncertain;
deterioration of political relations between the U.S. and Russia, China, Japan, Korea, Canada, the United Kingdom (“U.K.”), and the E.U., which could have a material adverse effect on our sales and operations in these countries;
changes in social, political, and economic conditions or in laws, regulations and policies governing foreign trade, manufacturing, development, and investment both domestically as well as in the other countries and jurisdictions into which we sell our products, including as a result of the withdrawal of the U.K. from the E.U.;
difficulties in obtaining export licenses or in overcoming other trade barriers and restrictions resulting in delivery delays;
fluctuations in currency exchange rates and the related effect on our results of operations;
increased financial accounting and reporting burdens and complexities;
disruptions to global trade due to disease outbreaks or conflicts;
potential increases on tariffs or restrictions on trade generally; and
significant taxes or other burdens of complying with a variety of foreign laws and regulations, including laws and regulations relating to privacy and data protection such as the E.U. General Data Protection Regulation which took effect in the E.U. in 2018.
In conducting our international operations, we are subject to U.S. laws relating to our international activities, such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, as well as foreign laws relating to our activities in other countries, such as the United Kingdom Bribery Act of 2010. Additionally, the inclusion of one of our foreign customers on any U.S. Government sanctioned persons list, including but not limited to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s List of Denied Persons and the U.S. Department of Treasury’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List, could be material to our earnings. Failure to comply with these laws may subject us to claims or financial and/or other penalties in the United States and/or foreign countries that could materially and adversely impact our operations or financial condition. These risks have become increasingly prevalent as we have expanded our sales into countries that are generally recognized as having a higher risk of corruption.
We face risks related to the current global economic environment, which could delay or prevent our customers from purchasing our products, which could in turn harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations. The state of the global economy continues to be uncertain. The current global economic conditions and uncertain credit markets and concerns regarding the availability of credit pose a risk that could impact customer demand for our products, as well as our ability to manage normal commercial relationships with our customers, suppliers, and creditors, including financial institutions. If the current global economic environment deteriorates, our business could be negatively affected.
Moreover, changes in the value of the relevant currencies may affect the cost of certain items required in our operations. Changes in currency exchange rates may also affect the relative prices at which we are able to sell products in the same market. Our revenue from international customers may be negatively impacted as increases in the U.S. dollar relative to our international customers’ local currencies could make our products more expensive, impacting our ability to compete or as a result of financial or other instability in such locations which could result in decreased sales of our products. Our costs of materials from international suppliers may also increase as the value of the U.S. dollar decreases relative to their local currency. Foreign policies and actions regarding currency valuation could result in actions by the United States and other countries to offset the effects of such fluctuations. Such actions may materially and adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations.
Violations of complex foreign and U.S. laws and regulations could result in fines and penalties, criminal sanctions against us, our officers, or our employees, prohibitions on the conduct of our business and on our ability to offer our products and services in one or more countries, and could also materially affect our brand, our international growth efforts, our ability to attract and retain employees, our business, and our operating results. Even if we implement policies or procedures designed to ensure compliance with these laws and regulations, there can be no assurance that our distribution partners, our employees, contractors, or agents will not violate our policies and subject us to potential claims or penalties.
If we fail to maintain proper and effective internal controls, our ability to produce accurate financial statements on a timely basis could be impaired, which would adversely affect our business and our stock price.
Ensuring that we have adequate internal financial and accounting controls and procedures in place to produce accurate financial statements on a timely basis is a costly and time-consuming effort that needs to be evaluated frequently. We may in the future discover areas of our internal financial and accounting controls and procedures that need improvement. Operating as a public company requires sufficient resources within the accounting and finance functions in order to produce timely financial information, ensure the level of segregation of duties, and maintain adequate internal control over financial reporting customary for a U.S. public company.
Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of our financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Our management does not expect that our internal control over financial reporting will prevent or detect all errors and all fraud. A control system, no matter how well designed and operated, can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurance that the control system’s objectives will be met. Because of the inherent limitations in all control systems, no evaluation of controls can provide absolute assurance that misstatements due to error or fraud will not occur or that all control issues and instances of fraud, if any, within our company will have been detected.
Pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, we perform periodic evaluations of our internal control over financial reporting. While we have in the past performed this evaluation and concluded that our internal control over financial reporting was operating effectively, there can be no assurance that in the future material weaknesses or significant deficiencies will not exist or otherwise be discovered. In addition, if we are unable to produce accurate financial statements on a timely basis, investors could lose confidence in the reliability of our financial statements, which could cause the market price of our common stock to decline and make it more difficult for us to finance our operations and growth.
Our business could be negatively impacted by changes in the United States political environment.
There is significant ongoing uncertainty with respect to potential legislation, regulation and government policy at the federal level, as well as the state and local levels. Any such changes could significantly impact our business as well as the markets in which we compete. Specific legislative and regulatory proposals discussed during election campaigns and more recently that might materially impact us include, but are not limited to, changes to spending priorities and potential reductions in research funding. Uncertainty about U.S. government funding has posed, and may continue to pose, a risk as customers may choose to postpone or reduce spending in response to actual or anticipated restraints on funding. To the extent changes in the political environment have a negative impact on us or on our markets, our business, results of operation and financial condition could be materially and adversely impacted in the future.
Disruption of critical information technology systems or material breaches in the security of our systems could harm our business, customer relations and financial condition.
Information technology (“IT”) helps us to operate efficiently, interface with customers, maintain financial accuracy and efficiently and accurately produce our financial statements. IT systems are used extensively in virtually all aspects of our business, including sales forecast, order fulfillment and billing, customer service, logistics, and management of data from running samples on our products. Our success depends, in part, on the continued and uninterrupted performance of our IT systems. Our IT systems may be vulnerable to damage from a variety of sources, including telecommunications or network failures, power loss, natural disasters, human acts, computer viruses, ransomware, computer denial-of-service attacks, unauthorized access to customer or employee data or company trade secrets, and other attempts to harm our systems. Furthermore, there may be a heightened risk of potential cybersecurity incidents and security breaches to which we could be vulnerable by state-sponsored or affiliated actors or others in connection with the political uncertainty and military actions associated with the war in Ukraine. Certain of our systems are not redundant, and our disaster recovery planning is not sufficient for every eventuality. Despite any precautions we may take, such problems could result in, among other consequences, disruption of our operations, which could harm our reputation and financial results.
If we do not allocate and effectively manage the resources necessary to build and sustain the proper IT infrastructure, we could be subject to transaction errors, processing inefficiencies, loss of customers, business disruptions or loss of or damage to intellectual property. If our data management systems do not effectively collect, store, process and report relevant data for the operation of our business, whether due to equipment malfunction or constraints, software deficiencies or human error, our ability to effectively plan, forecast and execute our business plan and comply with applicable laws and regulations will be impaired, perhaps materially. Any such impairment could materially and adversely affect our reputation, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and the timeliness with which we report our internal and external operating results.
Security breaches and other disruptions could compromise our information and expose us to liability, which would cause our business and reputation to suffer.
In the ordinary course of our business, we collect and store sensitive data, including intellectual property, our proprietary business information and that of our customers, suppliers and business partners, and personally identifiable information of our customers and employees, in our data centers and on our networks. The secure processing, maintenance and transmission of this information is critical to our operations. Despite our security measures, our IT infrastructure may be vulnerable to attacks by hackers, computer viruses, malicious codes, ransomware, unauthorized access attempts, and cyber- or phishing-attacks, or breached or otherwise disrupted due to employee error, malfeasance, faulty password management or other disruptions. Third parties may attempt to fraudulently induce employees or other persons into disclosing usernames, passwords or other sensitive information, which may in turn be used to access our IT systems, commit identity theft or carry out other unauthorized or illegal activities. Any such breach or incident could compromise our systems and networks and the information stored or otherwise processed there could be accessed, publicly disclosed, lost, stolen or otherwise processed in an unauthorized manner. We engage third-party vendors and service providers to store and otherwise process some of our data, including sensitive and personal information. Our vendors and service providers may also be the targets of the risks described above, including cyberattacks, malicious software, ransomware, phishing schemes, and fraud. Our ability to monitor our vendors and service providers’ data security is limited, and, in any event, third parties may be able to circumvent those security measures, resulting in the unauthorized access to, misuse, disclosure, loss or destruction of our data, including sensitive and personal information, and disruption of our or third-party service providers’ systems. We and our third-party service providers may face difficulties in identifying, or promptly responding to, potential security breaches and other instances of unauthorized access to, or disclosure or other loss or unavailability of, information. Any hacking or other attack on our or our third-party service providers’ or vendors’ systems, and any unauthorized access to, or disclosure or other loss of, information suffered by us or our third-party service providers or vendors, or the perception that any of these have occurred, could result in legal claims or proceedings, loss of intellectual property, liability under laws that protect the privacy of personal information, negative publicity, disruption of our operations and damage to our reputation, which could divert our management’s attention from the operation of our business and materially and adversely affect our business, revenues and competitive position. Moreover, we may need to increase our efforts to train our personnel to detect and defend against cyber- or phishing-attacks, which are becoming more sophisticated and frequent, and we may need to implement additional
protective measures to reduce the risk of potential security breaches and security incidents, which could cause us to incur significant additional expenses. Retaliatory acts by Russia in response to Western sanctions or otherwise in connection with the war in Ukraine could include cyber attacks that could disrupt the economy generally or that may either directly or indirectly impact our operations specifically.
In addition, our insurance may be insufficient to cover our losses resulting from cyber-attacks, breaches, or other interruptions, and any incidents may result in loss of, or increased costs of, such insurance. The successful assertion of one or more large claims against us that exceed available insurance coverage, the occurrence of changes in our insurance policies, including premium increases or the imposition of large deductible or co-insurance requirements, or denials of coverage, could have a material adverse effect on our business, including our financial condition, results of operations and reputation.
We are currently subject to, and may in the future become subject to additional, U.S. federal and state laws and regulations imposing obligations on how we collect, store and process personal information. Our actual or perceived failure to comply with such obligations could harm our business. Ensuring compliance with such laws could also impair our efforts to maintain and expand our future customer base, and thereby decrease our revenue.
In the ordinary course of our business, we currently, and in the future will, collect, store, transfer, use or process sensitive data, including personally identifiable information of employees, and intellectual property and proprietary business information owned or controlled by ourselves and other parties. The secure processing, storage, maintenance, and transmission of this critical information are vital to our operations and business strategy. We are, and may increasingly become, subject to various laws and regulations, as well as contractual obligations, relating to data privacy and security in the jurisdictions in which we operate. The regulatory environment related to data privacy and security is increasingly rigorous, with new and constantly changing requirements applicable to our business, and enforcement practices are likely to remain uncertain for the foreseeable future. These laws and regulations may be interpreted and applied differently over time and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and it is possible that they will be interpreted and applied in ways that may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
In the United States, various federal and state regulators, including governmental agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission, have adopted, or are considering adopting, laws and regulations concerning personal information and data security. Certain state laws may be more stringent or broader in scope, or offer greater individual rights, with respect to personal information than federal, international or other state laws, and such laws may differ from each other, all of which may complicate compliance efforts. For example, the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”), which increases privacy rights for California residents and imposes obligations on companies that process their personal information, came into effect on January 1, 2020. Among other things, the CCPA requires covered companies to provide new disclosures to California consumers and provide such consumers new data protection and privacy rights, including the ability to opt-out of certain sales of personal information. The CCPA provides for civil penalties for violations, as well as a private right of action for certain data breaches that result in the loss of personal information. This private right of action may increase the likelihood of, and risks associated with, data breach litigation. In November 2020, California also passed the California Privacy Rights Act, or (“CPRA”), which significantly expands the CCPA as of January 1, 2023, including by introducing additional obligations such as data minimization and storage limitations and granting additional rights to consumers, among others. The enactment of the CCPA has prompted similar legislative developments in other states, such as Virginia, which in March 2021 enacted a Consumer Data Protection Act that is effective as of January 1, 2023, and Colorado, which in June 2021 enacted a Colorado Privacy Act that is effective as of July 1, 2023, Utah, which in March 2022 enacted a Utah Consumer Privacy Act that is effective as of July 1, 2023, and Connecticut, which in May 2022 enacted a similar law, An Act Concerning Personal Data Privacy and Online Monitoring, that is effective as of July 1, 2023. Similar laws are being considered by other state legislatures. In addition, laws in all 50 U.S. states require businesses to provide notice to consumers whose personal information has been disclosed as a result of a data breach. State laws are changing rapidly and there is discussion in the U.S. Congress of a new comprehensive federal data privacy law to which we would become subject if it is enacted. These and future laws and regulations may increase our compliance costs and potential liability.
Furthermore, regulations promulgated pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”), establish privacy and security standards that limit the use and disclosure of individually identifiable health information (known as “protected health information”) and require the implementation of administrative, physical and technological safeguards to protect the privacy of protected health information and ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of electronic protected health information. Determining whether protected health information has been handled in compliance with applicable privacy standards and our contractual obligations can require complex factual and statistical analyses and may be subject to changing interpretation. Although we take measures to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access, use or disclosure, our information technology and infrastructure may be vulnerable to attacks by hackers or viruses or breached due to employee error, malfeasance or other malicious or inadvertent disruptions. Any such breach or interruption could compromise our networks and the information stored there could be accessed by unauthorized parties, manipulated, publicly disclosed, lost or stolen. Any such access, breach or other loss of information could result in legal claims or
proceedings, and liability under federal or state laws that protect the privacy of personal information, such as the HIPAA, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (“HITECH”), and regulatory penalties. Notice of breaches must be made to affected individuals, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and for extensive breaches, notice may need to be made to the media or State Attorneys General. Such a notice could harm our reputation and our ability to compete.
While we have in place formal policies and procedures related to the storage, collection, and processing of information, and have conducted data privacy audits, we continue to evaluate our compliance needs, including the need to conduct additional internal and external data privacy audits or adopt additional policies and procedures, to ensure our compliance with all applicable data protection laws and regulations. Additionally, we do not currently have policies and procedures in place for assessing our third-party vendors’ compliance with applicable data protection laws and regulations. All of these evolving compliance and operational requirements impose significant costs, such as costs related to organizational changes, implementing additional protection technologies, training employees and engaging consultants, which are likely to increase over time. In addition, such requirements may require us to modify our data processing practices and policies, distract management or divert resources from other initiatives and projects, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Any failure or perceived failure by us or our third-party vendors, collaborators, contractors and consultants to comply with any applicable federal, state or similar foreign laws and regulations relating to data privacy and security, could result in damage to our reputation, as well as proceedings or litigation by governmental agencies or other third parties, including class action privacy litigation in certain jurisdictions, which would subject us to significant fines, sanctions, awards, penalties or judgments, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
Increased scrutiny of our environmental, social or governance responsibilities may result in additional costs and risks, and may adversely impact our reputation, employee retention, and willingness of customers and suppliers to do business with us.
Investor advocacy groups, institutional investors, investment funds, proxy advisory services, stockholders, and customers are increasingly focused on environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) practices of companies. Additionally, public interest and legislative pressure related to public companies’ ESG practices continues to grow. If our ESG practices fail to meet regulatory requirements or investor or other industry stakeholders' evolving expectations and standards for responsible corporate citizenship in areas including environmental stewardship, support for local communities, Board of Director and employee diversity, human capital management, employee health and safety practices, product quality, supply chain management, corporate governance and transparency, and employing ESG strategies in our operations, our brand, reputation and employee retention may be negatively impacted and customers and suppliers may be unwilling to do business with us. In addition, as we work to align our ESG practices with industry standards, we will likely continue to expand our disclosures in these areas and doing so may result in additional costs and require additional resources to monitor, report, and comply with our various ESG practices. If we fail to adopt ESG standards or practices as quickly as stakeholders desire, report on our ESG efforts or practices accurately, or satisfy the expectations of stakeholders, our reputation, business, financial performance, and growth may be adversely impacted.
ITEM 1B.UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
Our corporate headquarters, research and development facilities, and manufacturing and distribution centers are located in Menlo Park, California, where we lease approximately 180,200 square feet under a lease expiring on October 31, 2027. We operate additional research, development, and support functions in San Diego, where we lease approximately 73,500 square feet under a lease expiring on September 30, 2027. Additionally, our European headquarters is located in London, where we lease approximately 7,300 square feet under a lease expiring November 30, 2026. Including these leases, we lease approximately 275,000 square feet globally.
We believe that our existing facilities, together with suitable additional or alternative space available on commercially reasonable terms, will be sufficient to meet our needs.
ITEM 3.LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
U.S. District Court Proceedings
On September 26, 2019, Personal Genomics of Taiwan, Inc. (“PGI”) filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware against us for patent infringement (C.A. No. 19-cv-1810) (the “PGI District Court matter”). The matter from this complaint is based on PGI’s U.S. Patent No. 7,767,441 (the “‘441 Patent”). We plan to vigorously defend in this matter. On November 20, 2019, we filed our answer to the complaint, denying infringement and seeking a declaratory judgement of invalidity of the ‘441 Patent.
On June 22, 2020, we filed a petition requesting institution of an inter-partes review ("IPR") to the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (the “Board”) at the United States Patent Office requesting the Board to find a set of claims in the ‘441 Patent invalid. On June 27, 2020, we filed a second petition requesting institution of an IPR requesting the Board to find another set of claims in the ‘441 Patent invalid. The two petitions (the “PacBio IPR Petitions”) requesting IPRs assert that all of the claims relevant to the PGI complaint are invalid. On January 19, 2021, the Board ordered that both PacBio IPR Petitions be instituted on all grounds presented. On January 18, 2022, the Board issued decisions on the two IPRs. In one IPR, all challenged claims were found unpatentable, including PGI’s core device claims. In the second IPR, the Board did not find the disputed claims unpatentable. We are appealing the decision in the second IPR to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
On August 19, 2020, the court ordered a stay of the PGI District Court matter based on a joint stipulation by the parties pending a final written decision on the IPRs. Following the final decision on the IPRs described above, on February 2, 2022, the judge ordered that the PGI District Court matter be reopened. However, in a subsequent order dated September 15, 2022, the judge stayed the PGI District Court matter pending a final decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit regarding the appeal described above. We plan to vigorously defend against the remaining claims.
In December 2022, Take2 Technologies, Ltd. and the Chinese University of Hong Kong filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for Delaware against us alleging infringement of U.S. Patent No. 11,091,794 (the “’794 Patent”) (C.A. No. 22- cv-01595). The complaint alleges that our Sequel® II systems, Sequel IIe Systems, and Revio™ Systems that operate version 11.0 or later of the SMRT® Link software, infringe the ‘794 Patent. The complaint seeks unspecified monetary damages and an order enjoining us from infringing the ’794 Patent. We filed a motion to dismiss on February 14, 2023. We believe the infringement allegations in the complaint lack merit and we intend to vigorously defend in this matter.
Proceedings in China
On May 12, 2020, PGI filed a complaint in the Wuhan Intermediate People’s Court in China alleging infringement of one or more claims of China patent No. CN101743321B (the “CN321 Patent”), which is related to the ‘441 Patent. On November 23, 2020 we filed an Invalidation Petition at the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) demonstrating the invalidity of the claims in the CN321 Patent on grounds of insufficient disclosure, and the lack of support, essential technical features, clarity, novelty, and inventiveness. A hearing in the invalidation proceeding at the CNIPA was held on April 29, 2021. On September 2, 2021, the CNIPA issued its decision on the Invalidation Petition and determined that all claims (1-61) of the CN321 patent were invalid. On December 1, 2021, PGI filed an appeal with the Beijing IP Court, contesting the CNIPA decision. We filed a petition with the Wuhan Intermediate People’s court requesting dismissal of the infringement action based on the CNIPA invalidation decision, and PGI filed a petition to withdraw its complaint. The Wuhan Intermediate People’s court granted PGI’s petition and dismissed the infringement action in May 2022.
From time to time, we may also be involved in a variety of other claims, lawsuits, investigations, and proceedings relating to securities laws, product liability, patent infringement, contract disputes, employment, and other matters that arise in the normal course of our business. In addition, third parties may, from time to time, assert claims against us in the form of letters and other communications.
We record a provision for contingent losses when it is both probable that a liability has been incurred and the amount of the loss can be reasonably estimated. We currently do not believe that the ultimate outcome of any of the matters described above is probable or reasonably estimable, or that these matters will have a material adverse effect on our business; however, the results of litigation and claims are inherently unpredictable. Regardless of the outcome, litigation can have an adverse impact on us because of litigation and settlement costs, diversion of management resources, and other factors.
ITEM 4.MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
ITEM 5.MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Our common stock is traded on The Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “PACB.”
Holders of Record
As of January 31, 2023, there were approximately 58 stockholders of record of our common stock, although we believe that there are a significantly larger number of beneficial owners of our common stock.
We have never declared or paid any cash dividend on our common stock and have no present plans to do so. We intend to retain earnings for use in the operation and expansion of our business.
The performance graph included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K shall not be deemed “filed” for purposes of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), or incorporated by reference into any filing of Pacific Biosciences under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Exchange Act, except as shall be expressly set forth by specific reference in such filing.
The following graph shows a comparison from December 31, 2017 through December 31, 2022 of the cumulative total return for our common stock, the Nasdaq Composite Index and the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index. Such returns are based on historical results and are not intended to suggest future performance. Data for The Nasdaq Composite Index and the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index assume reinvestment of dividends.
Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities
ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations together with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Some of the information contained in this discussion and analysis or set forth elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including information with respect to our plans and strategy for our business and related financing, includes forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. You should read the “Risk Factors” section of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for a discussion of important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results described in or implied by the forward-looking statements contained in the following discussion and analysis.
Our Management’s Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) is organized in the following sections:
Overview and Outlook
Results of Operations
Liquidity and Capital Resources
Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosure of Market Risk
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
Off Balance Sheet Arrangements
Overview and Outlook
We are a premier life science technology company that is designing, developing, and manufacturing advanced sequencing solutions that enable scientists and clinical researchers to improve their understanding of the genome and ultimately, resolve genetically complex problems.
Our products and technology under development stem from two highly differentiated core technologies focused on accuracy, quality, and completeness, which include our existing HiFi long-read sequencing technology and our emerging Sequencing by Binding (SBB®) short-read sequencing technology. Our products address solutions across a broad set of research applications including human genomics, plant and animal sciences, infectious disease and microbiology, oncology, and other emerging applications.
Our focus is on providing our customers with advanced sequencing technologies with higher throughput and improved workflows that we believe will enable dramatic advancements in routine healthcare.
Our customers include academic and governmental research institutions, commercial testing and service laboratories, genome centers, public health labs, hospitals and clinical research institutes, contract research organizations (CROs), pharmaceutical companies, and agricultural companies.
As of December 31, 2022, our commercial team is comprised of approximately 195 employees, including 57 quota-carrying representatives, many with advanced degrees in biology and significant experience in the genomics industry.
2022 was a productive year for us as we set out to transform the company, scale the business, and drive adoption for our advanced sequencing technologies.
Our 2023 strategic objectives are to:
Drive rapid adoption of RevioTM by converting existing Sequel II/IIe customers and attracting new PacBio customers
Demonstrate Onso’s extraordinary level of accuracy in the field and show how it can transform research in needle-in-haystack applications
Progress development of ultra-high-throughput and bench top long-read sequencers and next generation SBB short-read sequencer
Leverage current infrastructure to drive toward positive cash flow
Expand partnerships across ecosystem and workflow to drive customer adoption of SBB short-read sequencing and HiFi long-read sequencing
We will continue to leverage our commercial organization and make significant improvements in the efficiency and usability of our products to seek to reach a broader customer base. We believe the commercial investments we have recently made will further help drive growth in our business.
To increase the adoption of HiFi sequencing, we have various development programs in progress to expand our product portfolio as well as increase the throughput and improve the usability of our existing sequencing technologies. We continue to focus on programs to accelerate new platform launches in the near to mid-term as well as increase applications for our technologies. In October 2022, we announced Revio, our new HiFi long-read sequencing system. We began taking orders in the fourth quarter of 2022 and expect to commence commercial Revio shipments in March 2023. To address the oncology research markets with a highly differentiated alternative to existing third-party short-read sequencing products already on the market, we are also progressing development of OnsoTM, our SBB short-read platform. We began taking orders in January 2023 and remain on track for commercial shipment in the second quarter of 2023.
We continue to believe that with the capabilities of our HiFi chemistry and SMRT technology, we can be a market leader in whole-genome clinical sequencing. Leading institutions have adopted our products to study rare and inherited disease. We believe the market opportunity for clinical sequencing is significant and could drive substantial revenue growth for the company. We plan to continue to pursue partner collaborations where the technologies being developed or applications being considered extend beyond whole-genome clinical sequencing. Collaborative arrangements add to the awareness of our products and service offerings and may drive new applications for use of our technology.
Broader macroeconomic dynamics including rising inflation, global supply chain constraints, volatile capital markets, competition, and lockdown restrictions associated with COVID-19 have adversely impacted our customers and lengthened customer sales cycles. Additionally, lock downs in China have led to lower than previously anticipated revenue in the Asia-Pacific region as customers had difficulty accessing labs and lower sample volumes from which to sequence. We expect some headwinds from a strengthening U.S. dollar, which impacts our revenue denominated in EUR and GBP but also impacts purchasing power of our customers in Asia as a stronger U.S. dollar makes buying our products more expensive.
Ongoing global supply chain constraints and rising inflation are also increasing our costs; as a result, we expect these costs to impact gross margins and cash flow. Due to the rising costs from global supply chain constraints and rising inflation, we are moderating our hiring with the aim of reducing our operating expense growth in 2023. We will continue to prioritize investments to develop and commercialize our new products, prioritizing opportunities that will generate a return over the near to mid-term.
The degree of further adverse impacts of COVID-19 on our business will depend on several factors, such as the duration and the extent of the pandemic, as well as actions taken by governments, businesses, and consumers in response to the pandemic, all of which continue to evolve and remain uncertain at this time.
The COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to control its spread have significantly curtailed the movement of people, goods, and services worldwide, including in the regions in which we sell our products and services and conduct our business operations. We have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and expect to continue to be impacted by COVID-19 for the foreseeable future. Due to the uncertain scope and duration of the pandemic, we cannot reasonably estimate the future impact to our operations and financial results.
The spread of COVID-19 caused us to modify our business practices, including limiting some of our commercial operations and limiting certain employees from working in the office. Starting in April 2022, we invited employees located near our reopened offices to return to the office.
See the Risk Factors section for further discussion of the possible impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business.