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Fluidigm Q3 Revenues Fall 9 Percent on Mass Cytometry Weakness

NEW YORK – Fluidigm reported after the close of the market on Tuesday that its third quarter revenues fell 9 percent year over year primarily on mass cytometry sales weakness.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, 2019, the South San Francisco, California-based life science research tools firm logged $26.4 million in revenues compared to $29.0 million a year ago and well short of analysts' consensus estimate of $28.7 million.

Fluidigm's instruments revenue declined 34 percent to $9.2 million from $13.9 million a year ago, while its consumables revenue increased 11 percent to $11.5 million from $10.4 million.

By market, mass cytometry revenue decreased 13 percent to $15.6 million from $17.9 million in the prior-year period, while microfluidics revenue decreased 2 percent to $10.9 million from $11.1 million a year ago.

"Total revenue in the third quarter declined primarily due to mass cytometry instrument sales in the Americas, partially offset by growth in mass cytometry and microfluidics consumables," Fluidigm President and CEO Chris Linthwaite said in a statement. "Double-digit recurring revenue growth from consumables and service, as well as disciplined financial management, were highlights for the quarter."

In a conference call recapping Q3 earnings, Linthwaite elaborated that the company is "deeply disappointed" in the revenue results, which fell $500,000 below the company's previously stated guidance range of $27 million to $30 million.

"We made excellent progress in consumables and services growth, but … mass cytometry unit placements in the Americas fell short of our projections," Linthwaite said. "Though we did not achieve our expectations for the period, we remain optimistic and encouraged by the broad market interest in our solutions."

Linthwaite also said that during the quarter Fluidigm observed that within certain academic submarkets, "some prospects are taking significantly longer to secure funding for equipment purchasing as belt tightening slows the release of grants, institutional money, and other capital sources in our price category. In some instances, sponsoring investigators are asking for more help from us to develop return investment models for their management. These are issues that we can address, and this extended sales cycle is primarily impacting previously unpenetrated accounts."

During the quarter Fluidigm launched several new products that it believes will generate recurring revenue in the future. These include the automated Advanta RNA-Seq NGS Library Prep Kit for the company's Juno microfluidic system; Maxpar labeling kits for seven new metals, expanding multiplexed cell analysis using CyTOF technology; three imaging mass cytometry panel kits for immuno-oncology research; and advanced CyTOF software.

Fluidigm shaved its Q3 net loss to $12.9 million, or $.19 per share, from $14.8 million, or $.38 per share, in the year-ago quarter. On an adjusted basis, loss per share was $.09, besting the Wall Street estimate of a $.20 loss per share.

Fluidigm's R&D spending in Q3 dropped 4 percent to $7.1 million from $7.4 million, while its SG&A expenses rose 3 percent to $20.7 million from $20.0 million.

Fluidigm finished the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $25.9 million and short-term investments of $36.9 million.

The company provided fourth quarter revenue guidance of $29 million to $32 million, below analysts' average expectation of $33.4 million.

As of the close of the Nasdaq market on Wednesday, shares of Fluidigm's stock had dropped by more than 50 percent to $2.51 from Tuesday's close of $5.11.