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Berkeley Lights Preliminary 2021 Revenues Fall Short of Expectations; Firm Searching for New CEO

NEW YORK – Berkeley Lights said after the close of the market on Wednesday that it expects 2021 revenues to grow more than 30 percent year over year, short of previous estimates.

The firm reported preliminary revenues in the range of $84 million to $84.5 million, compared to $64.3 million in 2020. In November, following the release of its third quarter results, the firm had said it expected 2021 revenues to be at or above $90 million.

William Blair downgraded shares of Berkeley Lights to a Market Perform rating. "The amalgamation of uncertainty is just one step too far for us right now, especially in an environment where even clean growth stories are falling further out of favor," analyst Brian Weinstein wrote in a note to investors. "We believe it is best to downgrade the stock and wait for better clarity on the business model and/or until we have details on a new CEO and any strategic change they may usher in before coming back to the story."

The Emeryville, California-based cell analysis company also announced that it will begin searching for a new chief executive as CEO Eric Hobbs transitions to the role of president of antibody therapeutics. Hobbs will remain CEO and a member of the board of directors until his successor's appointment.

Berkeley Lights had the worst-performing stock in the GenomeWeb Index in 2021. Shares of the firm fell 80 percent over the course of the year, to $18.18 on Dec. 31.

The company said it expects revenue for 2022 to grow approximately 30 percent year over year.

In Thursday morning trading on the Nasdaq, shares of Berkeley Lights were down 35 percent to $10.54.