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Fluidigm Revenues Increase 21 Percent in Q3 as It Files Suit Against NanoString

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Fluidigm reported after the close of the market Wednesday that its third-quarter revenues increased 21 percent year over year driven by strong consumables growth.

The firm also said in a separate announcement Wednesday that it has filed litigation against NanoString Technologies alleging deceptive marketing practices in an advertising campaign for its nCounter gene expression assay.

South San Francisco, Calif.-based Fluidigm reported total revenues of $12.8 million for the three months ended Sept. 30, compared to $10.6 million for the third quarter of 2011. It fell short of the consensus Wall Street estimate of $13.3 million.

Sales of instruments increased 5 percent to $6.7 million from $6.4 million, while sales of consumables jumped 57 percent to $5.9 million from $3.7 million. Revenues from licenses, collaborations, and grants were $180,000 versus $428,000 for Q3 2011.

Fluidigm President and CEO Gajus Worthington cited the firm's participation in the single-cell genomics market as a "major growth driver in Q3 as this market continued to show strength in a tough macro-environment."

During the quarter the firm launched its C1 Single-Cell Auto Prep System, and it has "substantially filled the 25 Early Access Program slots," Worthington said.

"We are really pleased with both the scope and rate of development of the single-cell genomics market," he said on a conference call following the release of the financial results. "By scope, I meant the breadth of applications that are coming to life in single-cell genomics."

He noted the National Institutes of Health's recent announcement that it would provide $90 million for single-cell genomics research efforts. "This is a very strong indicator of growth in the market," said Worthington.

He estimated the overall size of the single-cell genomics market at around $60 million worldwide right now, but growing to over $200 million by 2015, and made up of a blend of technologies, including Fluidigm's products, as well as sequencing and microarray analysis.

"We project an overall total potential Fluidigm installed base of about 700 instruments for single-cell genomics by the end of 2015," which includes the BioMark and BioMark HD systems used for single-cell genomics and the C1 systems, said Worthington. He added that the split between C1 and BioMark in this model is about 60/40.

Fluidigm trimmed its net loss to $4.2 million, or $.18 per share, from $4.5 million, or $.22 per share, year over year. On a non-GAAP basis its net loss for Q3 2012 was $2.6 million, or .12 per share, beating analysts' consensus estimate for a loss of $.21 per share.

The firm's R&D spending increased 24 percent to $4.1 million from $3.3 million, and its SG&A expenses climbed 12 percent to $9.1 million from $8.1 million.

It finished the quarter with $66 million in cash and cash equivalents and $20.1 million in short-term investments.

Fluidigm also said that it has field a suit against NanoString in the federal district court for the Northern District of California alleging "false advertising, unfair competition, and unlawful trade practice in violation of the Lanham Act and corresponding sections of the California Business & Professional Code."

According to Fluidigm, an advertising campaign and corresponding white paper for NanoString's nCounter Single Cell Gene Expression Assay is based on a rigged head-to-head comparison with Fluidigm's BioMark HD System. The firm said the study was "intentionally flawed in both its design and execution," and it alleged that NanoString is intentionally misleading customers.

Fluidigm is demanding NanoString "cease and retract its false and misleading advertising claims, and stop misrepresenting and exaggerating the relative performance of its system."

In Thursday morning trade on the Nasdaq shares of Fluidigm were down 1 percent at $14.99

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