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Fluidigm Q1 Revenues Drop 12 Percent

This article has been updated from a previous version to include comments made during Fluidigm's earnings call.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Fluidigm said Thursday after the close of the market that its first quarter revenues decreased 12 percent year over year.

For the three months ended March 31, the South San Francisco, California-based single-cell biology firm brought in revenues of $25.5 million compared to $29.0 million in the first quarter of 2016. Total revenues edged out the consensus Wall Street estimate of $25.0 million.

Its product revenue fell 16 percent to $21.3 million from $25.4 million, with genomics product revenue tumbling 38 percent and mass cytometry revenue growing 39 percent.

Instrument revenue decreased 22 percent to $10.7 million due primarily to decreased revenue from single-cell genomics instruments and tempered by increased revenue from mass cytometry systems. Consumables revenue decreased 9 percent to $10.6 million due to lower revenue from genomics products, and partially offset by increased revenue from mass cytometry reagents.

Service revenue grew 18 percent to $4.2 million, while license revenue was $59,000.

Separately today, Fluidigm announced that the UK's Medical Research Council Consortium for Mass Cytometry has acquired seven of the company's Helios mass cytometry systems. Supported by the MRC's Clinical Research Infrastructure Initiative, the MRC Consortium for Mass Cytometry includes researchers from the universities of Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Cambridge, Birmingham, and Oxford, and University College London. 

"While the results are not impressive when compared to the prior-year period, they are noteworthy in light of the expectations we set in our [fourth quarter and full-year 2016] call and represent two sequential quarters of improved business performance," Fluidigm President and CEO Chris Linthwaite said on a conference call following release of the firm's financial results.

"Importantly, we are making meaningful progress on our initiatives and working diligently to reshape our business," Linthwaite added. "We are confident that the changes we are making position Fluidigm for sustainable long-term growth. In particular, we are excited about the enthusiasm for our broadening mass cytometry portfolio as evidenced by our new system placements and growth in consumables."

During the call Linthwaite also addressed the company's single-cell genomics business, which largely comprises the firm's C1 single-cell sample prep system and related consumables. Linthwaite said single-cell genomics represents a $120 million market but sales for the firm in that market segment were down 70 percent year over year in Q1. 

"During the first quarter of last year, two things happened that significantly altered the contribution of our C1 product line progressively over the course of the year  the doublet issue we observed with our C1 IFCs and the announcement of new competition."

These issues did not heavily affect the company in Q1 2016, "but they hit us hard in the second half of the year as the competitive dynamics eroded our ability to place new units," Linthwaite said. "To be clear, the C1 has significant value in select applications, and we continue to install newer systems. Furthermore, our C1 customers and the approximately 365 active systems that serve them are very important to us, and we are committed to supporting their work, including the delivery of improvements in the core technology. However, after our strategic review, we believe there is more opportunity in other markets, and therefore, we'll continue to shift primary business focus to these areas."

Fluidigm's net loss for the quarter was $17.2 million, or $.59 per share, compared to a loss of $19.9 million, or $.69 per share, in 2016. On an adjusted basis, Fluidigm's loss per share was $.33, bettering analysts' consensus estimate of a loss per share of $.73.

The firm's R&D spending fell 18 percent to $8.5 million from $10.4 million, while its SG&A spending dropped 11 percent to $22.6 million from $25.5 million.

The firm ended the quarter with $44.1 million in cash and cash equivalents, and $6.2 million in short-term investments.

Fluidigm provided second-quarter revenue guidance of between $22 million and $24 million.

In early-morning trading on Nasdaq Fluidigm's stock was up about 13 percent at $5.69.