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Fluidigm Q1 Revenues Soar 19 Percent

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Fluidigm reported after the close of the market on Thursday that its first quarter revenues grew 19 percent year over year on strong demand for the company's Helios and Hyperion imaging mass cytometry systems.

For the three months ended March 31, 2019, Fluidigm tallied $30.1 million in revenues, up from $25.3 million a year ago and besting analysts' consensus estimate of $29.2 million.

Instrument revenues, comprising about 43 percent of total revenues, jumped 71 percent year over year to $12.8 million from $7.5 million. Consumables revenues, about 43 percent of total revenues, fell 8 percent to $12.0 million from $13.0 million. Service revenues, meanwhile, rose 10 percent to $5.3 million from $4.8 million.

Fluidigm said that mass cytometry revenues more than doubled year over year to $18.8 million from $9.0 million a year ago, while microfluidics-related revenues fell 30 percent to $11.4 million from $16.3 million in the prior year period.

"Demand for Helios and Hyperion Imaging Systems was exceptional," Fluidigm President and CEO Chris Linthwaite said in a statement. "In addition, the quarter featured new product innovation and movement to a stronger balance sheet."

Linthwaite noted that most of Fluidigm's instrument placements in the quarter were to new customers.

"We believe this may signal an expanding market opportunity as interest in spatial relationships in the tumor microenvironment stimulates new research in immuno-oncology," he said. "We have seen growth of this type of research in imaging mass cytometry globally, including, notably over the last couple of quarters, in Japan."

Separately today, the company announced that the Group for Innovative Cancer Treatment Division of the National Cancer Center in Japan expanded its clinical research in colorectal cancer using the Hyperion Imaging System to study regulatory T cell proliferation in tumor tissue with the goal of discovering a novel target for immunotherapy. 

During the quarter, Fluidigm also launched its Maxpar Direct Immune Profiling Assay, "empowering pushbutton characterization of key elements of the human immune response with mass cytometry," Linthwaite said.

In a conference call following release of the company's earnings, Linthwaite acknowledged that the company saw a net decline in consumables growth year over year and sequentially primarily due to two factors.

"Microfluidics consumables declined on a year-over-year basis," Linthwaite said. "This was partially due to a large order that we called out last year, as well as timing of some service and OEM customer orders." Mass cytometry consumables, meanwhile, grew double digits year over year basis, "delivering growth above our 2018 pull-through ranges, but lower than our recently raised pull-through guidance," Linthwaite said, adding that the company doesn't expect the consumables hiccup to change the company's long-term growth trajectory.

Fluidigm reported a Q1 net loss of $25.5 million, or $.44 per share, compared to a net loss of $13.2 million, or $.34 per share, a year ago. Net loss was higher in Q1 2019 primarily due to a loss of $9.0 million associated with the extinguishment of $150 million principal value of convertible debt, as well as higher employee-related and business development expenses, the company said.

On an adjusted basis, Q1 loss per share was $.14, less than analysts' estimate of a loss per share of $.25.

Fluidigm spent $8.4 million on R&D in Q1 2019, up 15 percent from $7.3 million a year ago. Its SG&A expenses rose 21 percent to $22.8 million from $18.8 million in the prior-year period.

Fluidigm finished the quarter with $65.6 million in cash and cash equivalents and $9.5 million in short-term investments.

The company said that it expects $28 million to $31 million in Q2 revenues.