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10x Genomics Pushes Xenium In Situ Platform Launch Forward, Delays Other Product Releases


NEW YORK – 10x Genomics is intensifying its efforts to bring the Xenium in situ analysis platform to market and now plans to ship it by the end of the year.

"The in situ opportunity has materialized faster than we initially anticipated. Based on our progress and the robust interest from our customers, we believe we can access this opportunity earlier than we previously planned," 10x cofounder and CEO Serge Saxonov said on a conference call to discuss the firm's fourth quarter and full-year 2021 financial results.

"We've been making a lot of significant progress on the development side throughout 2021," he said. "And kind of recently, we saw a path to a faster launch, and we decided to take it."

Previously, the firm had planned to offer early access this year, with full commercial launch in 2023. But pulling the Xenium launch forward will come at the cost of delaying other product releases, some announced as recently as last month.

A year ago, 10x officials said they would launch CytAssist, a tissue sample preparation station for the Visium spatial analysis platform, as well as a higher-resolution Visium HD product in the first half of 2022.

At last month's JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, Saxonov announced a new fixed RNA profiling kit for the Chromium X instrument that would launch midyear as well as antibody and T-cell receptor discovery platforms, BEAM-ab and BEAM-T, respectively, that would launch in 2022.

CytAssist and Visium HD are now slated to launch in the second half of the year. Saxonov counted the fixed RNA profiling kit among the products to be delayed, but also said it would launch exclusively on the Chromium X in "mid-2022."

In an email, 10x said it expects to launch the BEAM products "in the back half of 2022."

The announcements come as the company missed Wall Street's estimates on the top and bottom lines for both the fourth quarter and full-year 2021 periods and issued full-year 2022 revenue guidance in the range of $600 million to $630 million, well below the analysts' average estimate of $679.9 million. On the call, 10x officials attributed the recently lagging performance to the spread of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, which began in the fourth quarter of 2021 and continued through January.

Investors had been "bracing for a shortfall," Cowen's Dan Brennan wrote in an analyst note, but the "actual results and discussion were worse." The company will need to "deliver strong/better than expected results to restore confidence," he wrote, but suggested that "investors taking advantage of price weakness will be well served with time."

"When combined with the impact from Omicron in the first quarter, these [product launch] changes result in an expected slower rate of growth this year, particularly in the first half," 10x CFO Justin McAnear said. "These product launch decisions are made from a perspective that extends well into the future. And from that perspective, we believe these changes will drive more revenue overall and set us up to accelerate growth into 2023 and beyond."

Saxonov suggested that there are "a significant number of customers" who are interested in spatial analysis but who are waiting for Visium HD to jump in.

"We see a lot of demand there, and that is, to some extent, putting some pressure on the current Visium demand," he said. "There are definitely customers who are fine using Visium at the current resolution … But the HD is looming out there as well. For a lot of customers, it is the thing that they want."

During the Q&A portion of the call, Saxonov noted that 10x's Chromium X — a higher throughput instrument launched in July 2021 — and high-throughput kits have been doing better than expected, while its low-throughput kit has had "very limited traction," and the CellPlex multiplexing kit "has been doing reasonably well with certain segments of customers, but not all across the board."

10x officials noted that the company will be adding employees to increase Visium adoption and prepare for the Xenium launch.