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Twist Bioscience Reports 17 Percent Growth of Fiscal Q4 Revenues, to Acquire Abveris

NEW YORK – Twist Bioscience reported on Monday morning that revenues for its fiscal fourth quarter 2021 grew 17 percent year over year. The firm also said it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire antibody discovery firm Abveris for up to $190 million.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, 2021, Twist reported revenues of $38.0 million, compared to $32.4 million in the year-ago period. It beat analysts' average revenue estimate of $37.0 million.

On a conference call following the release of the results, Twist CFO Jim Thorburn said the firm's fourth quarter next-gen sequencing revenues were $21.4 million, synbio revenues $13 million, and biopharma revenues $2.6 million.

"Fiscal 2021 was a transformational year for Twist, as we delivered significant revenue growth by diversifying and expanding our customer base in synbio and next-generation sequencing, as well as introduced new and innovative products," Twist CEO and Cofounder Emily Leproust said in a statement. "We also signed an agreement to acquire Abveris, which will augment our capabilities by adding animal-based discovery. In data storage, we achieved several technical milestones and are now preparing for early-access launch with our 1-micron proof-of-concept chip.”

Abveris, formally known as AbX Biologics, is a privately-held antibody discovery services firm. Twist plans to acquire the firm for $150 million, consisting of shares of Twist common stock and up to $10 million in cash, plus up to $40 million shares of Twist common stock if Abveris achieves an internal revenue target for the calendar year 2022.

"The addition of the Abveris discovery platform is a natural fit with Twist as it will complement and extend our biopharma antibody capabilities into mouse-based discovery and screening," Leproust said in a statement. "There are three key approaches to antibody discovery: synthetic libraries, which is the specialty of Twist; in vivo discovery through animal models; and artificial intelligence models. With the anticipated acquisition of Abveris, Twist will have expertise in each, creating a robust antibody design, discovery, and screening organization to serve both our partners and our internal pipeline."

The company's net loss in fiscal Q4 2021 was $41.2 million, or $.84 per share, compared to a net loss of $24.3 million, or $.54 per share, in fiscal Q4 2020. Analysts had estimated a net loss per share of $.79.

Twist's R&D expenses in Q4 were $19.4 million, up 67 percent from $11.7 million a year ago. SG&A expenses were $38.2 million, up 41 percent from $27.2 million a year ago.

Revenues for fiscal year 2021 were $132.3 million, up 47 percent from $90.1 million in fiscal year 2020, beating the consensus Wall Street estimate of $131.1 million.

Full-year NGS revenues were $72.7 million, up from $44 million; synbio revenues were $53 million, up from $43.8 million; and biopharma revenues were about $7 million, up from $2.4 million.

By end market, revenues from healthcare were $71.2 million in fiscal year 2021, or about 54 percent of all business, up from about $40 million a year ago. Industrial biotech revenues were approximately $34.5 million, revenues from the academic market were $25.3 million, and agricultural revenues were $1.3 million.

Twist said it shipped approximately 372,000 genes in fiscal year 2021, compared to approximately 339,000 genes in fiscal year 2020. The number of customers receiving shipments grew to about 2,900 in the year, up from about 2,200 a year ago.

By region, US revenues were $77.9 million, up from $59.2 million for the prior year; Europe, Middle East, and Africa revenues were $44.1 million, up from $25.8 million; and Asia Pacific revenues were $10.3 million, more than double the $5.1 million in the prior year.  

Net loss for the year was $152.1 million, or $3.15 per share, compared to a net loss of $139.9 million, or $3.57 per share, in fiscal year 2020. Analysts had expected, on average, a loss of $3.15 per share.

Twist's fiscal year 2021 R&D expenses were $69.1 million, up 61 percent from $43.0 million a year ago, driven by higher headcount and external services primarily associated with DNA data storage. Full-year SG&A expenses were $135.9 million, up 32 percent from $103.3 million in fiscal 2020, driven by higher compensation, higher fees associated with an audit, and investment in expanding the firm's footprint.

As of Sept. 30, 2021, the company had $465.8 million in cash and cash equivalents, and $12.0 million in short-term investments.

For fiscal year 2022, Twist expects total revenues in the range of $173 million to $181 million without Abveris and $183 million to $193 million with the company, assuming the close of the deal in fiscal Q1 2022. Synbio revenue, including from Ginkgo Bioworks, is estimated to be in the range of $67 million to $70 million; NGS revenue in the range of $94 million to $96 million; and biopharma revenue in the range of $22 million to $27 million, including Abveris. For fiscal Q1 2022, Twist guided to revenues in the range of $37 million to $39 million. Thorburn said the company anticipates a net loss of $250 million in fiscal year 2022.

In morning trading on the Nasdaq, shares of Twist fell 9 percent to $100.47.

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