Document

As confidentially submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 16, 2021.
This draft Registration Statement has not been publicly filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and all information herein remains strictly confidential.
Registration No. 333-   
 
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM S‑1
REGISTRATION STATEMENT
Under
The Securities Act of 1933
CODEX DNA, INC.
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware382645-1216839
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
(Primary Standard Industrial
Classification Code Number)
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification Number)
9535 Waples Street, Suite 100
San Diego, CA 92121-2993
(858) 228-4115
(Address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of Registrant’s principal executive offices)
Todd R. Nelson
President and Chief Executive Officer
Codex DNA, Inc.
9535 Waples Street, Suite 100
San Diego, CA 92121
(858) 228-4115
(Name, address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of agent for service)
Philip H. Oettinger
Martin J. Waters
Robert F. Kornegay
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, P.C.
12235 El Camino Real
San Diego, CA 92130
(858) 350-2300

Donald J. Murray
Brian K. Rosenzweig
Matthew T. Gehl
Covington & Burling LLP
The New York Times Building
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, New York 10018
(212) 841-1000
Approximate date of commencement of proposed sale to the public: As soon as practicable after the effective date of this Registration Statement.
If any of the securities being registered on this form are to be offered on a delayed or continuous basis pursuant to Rule 415 under the Securities Act of 1933, check the following box. ☐
If this form is filed to register additional securities for an offering pursuant to Rule 462(b) under the Securities Act, please check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering. ☐
If this form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(c) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering. ☐
If this form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(d) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer ☐Accelerated filer ☐
Non-accelerated filer ☒Smaller reporting company ☒
Emerging growth company ☒
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act. ☐
CALCULATION OF REGISTRATION FEE
Title of Each Class of Securities to be Registered
Proposed Maximum Aggregate Offering Price (1)(2)
Amount of Registration Fee
Common Stock, $0.0001 par value per share
$$
(1)Includes offering price of any additional shares of common stock that the underwriters have the option to purchase.
(2)Estimated solely for the purpose of calculating the registration fee pursuant to Rule 457(o) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.
The Registrant hereby amends this Registration Statement on such date or dates as may be necessary to delay its effective date until the Registrant shall file a further amendment which specifically states that this Registration Statement shall thereafter become effective in accordance with Section 8(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or until the Registration Statement shall become effective on such date as the Commission, acting pursuant to said Section 8(a), may determine.



The information contained in this preliminary prospectus is not complete and may be changed. We may not sell these securities until the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is declared effective. This preliminary prospectus is not an offer to sell these securities and is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted.
SUBJECT TO COMPLETION, DATED                , 2021
PRELIMINARY PROSPECTUS
               Shares
https://cdn.kscope.io/77b783aa598f21bee4ada3d6b0dedd23-logo11.jpg
Common Stock
We are offering                shares of our common stock. This is our initial public offering, and no public market currently exists for our common stock. We expect the initial public offering price to be between $          and $          per share.
We intend to apply to list our common stock on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “DNAY.”
We are an “emerging growth company” and “smaller reporting company” as defined under the federal securities laws and, as such, have elected to comply with certain reduced reporting requirements.
Investing in our common stock involves a high degree of risk. See the section titled “Risk Factors” beginning on page 13.
Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved of these securities or passed upon the accuracy or adequacy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.
PER SHARETOTAL
Public Offering Price$$
Underwriting Discounts and Commissions(1)
$$
Proceeds to Codex DNA, Inc., before expenses$$
______________
(1)See the section titled “Underwriting” for a description of the compensation payable to the underwriters.
Delivery of the shares of common stock is expected to be made on or about                , 2021. We have granted the underwriters an option for a period of 30 days to purchase an additional            shares of our common stock. If the underwriters exercise the option in full, the total underwriting discounts and commissions payable by us will be $                , and the total proceeds to us, before expenses, will be $                .
Jefferies CowenKeyBanc Capital Markets
Prospectus dated                , 2021



TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
Through and including       , 2021 (the 25th day after the date of this prospectus), all dealers effecting transactions in these securities, whether or not participating in this offering, may be required to deliver a prospectus. This is in addition to a dealer’s obligation to deliver a prospectus when acting as an underwriter and with respect to an unsold allotment or subscription.
Neither we nor the underwriters have authorized anyone to provide you any information or make any representations other than that contained in this prospectus or in any free writing prospectus prepared by or on behalf of us or to which we have referred you. We and the underwriters take no responsibility for, and can provide no assurance as to the reliability of, any other information that others may give you. We and the underwriters are not making an offer to sell these securities in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted. You should assume that the information appearing in this prospectus is accurate only as of the date on the front cover of this prospectus. Our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may have changed since that date.
For investors outside of the United States: we have not, and the underwriters have not, done anything that would permit this offering or possession or distribution of this prospectus in any jurisdiction where action for that purpose is required, other than the United States. Persons outside of the United States who come into possession of this prospectus must inform themselves about, and observe any restrictions relating to, the offering of the shares of common stock and the distribution of this prospectus outside of the United States.
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PROSPECTUS SUMMARY
This summary highlights selected information contained elsewhere in this prospectus and is qualified in its entirety by the more detailed information and financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus. This summary does not contain all of the information you should consider before investing in our common stock. You should carefully read this entire prospectus, including the information under the sections titled “Risk Factors,” “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this prospectus before making an investment decision. Unless the context requires otherwise, references in this prospectus to “we,” “us,” “our,” “our company,” “Codex,” “Codex DNA,” or “the Company” refer to Codex DNA, Inc. and its subsidiaries.
Overview
We are a leading synthetic biology company focused on enabling researchers to rapidly, accurately and reproducibly build or “write” high-quality synthetic DNA and mRNA that is ready to use in many downstream synthetic biology enabled markets. Our synthetic biology solution addresses the bottlenecks across the multi-step process of building DNA and mRNA, as well as the significant limitations of existing solutions that prevent the rapid building of virtually error-free DNA and mRNA at a useable scale. A key part of our solution is our BioXp system, an end-to-end automated workstation that fits on the benchtop and is broadly accessible due to its ease-of-use and hands-free automation. We believe our BioXp system can democratize synthetic biology by simplifying the process of building DNA and mRNA, thereby accelerating the discovery, development and production of novel high-value products, including antibody-based biologics, mRNA-based vaccines and therapeutics and precision medicines.
We developed our synthetic biology solution to address the significant unmet need in the market for an approach that can automate, integrate, optimize and standardize the process for building synthetic DNA and mRNA. We commercially launched our current synthetic biology solution in September 2019, which now includes the BioXp 3250 system, BioXp kits with associated cloud-based application scripts, and benchtop reagent kits. Since the introduction of our solution through March 1, 2021, we have launched seven BioXp kits, three benchtop reagent kits, and several other synthetic biology products, including 10 SARS-CoV-2 full-length genomes and RNA controls as well as our Vmax X2 cells. We have placed approximately 150 BioXp systems globally. We target customers in the fields of personalized medicine, biologics drug discovery, vaccine development, genome editing and cell and gene therapy. As of March 1, 2021, our customer base was composed of over 300 customers and included 17 of the 25 largest biopharmaceutical companies in the world ranked by 2020 revenue. Our customer base also includes leading academic research institutions, government institutions, contract research organizations (CROs) and synthetic biology companies.
Background on Synthetic Biology
Synthetic biology is a well-established and rapidly expanding field of science that involves the engineering of biological components such as genes, mRNA, proteins, viruses and living cells starting from a digital DNA sequence, enabling the construction of those macromolecules and organisms with new and improved biological functions. The application of synthetic biology is constantly expanding, and new end markets are emerging, driven by continued innovation, a growing understanding of biology and access to novel research tools. For example, in healthcare, synthetic biology is being used to discover, develop and produce novel DNA-, mRNA-, and protein-based therapeutics and vaccines (e.g., antibody-based biologics, mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines and personalized cancer therapeutics). In agriculture, synthetic biology is being utilized to improve crop yields and create novel food sources (e.g., plant-based meat products). Similarly, in technology, synthetic biology may lead to the ability to store and retrieve digital data using DNA. Finally, in consumer markets, synthetic biology is being employed in a variety of applications. For example, synthetic biology is used to construct clothes from renewable, bio-based sources, to develop biofuels and renewable energy from engineered microbes, and to produce plastics from biodegradable polymers.
Synthetic biology is enabled by numerous technologies that facilitate the design-build-test paradigm of new or modified biological components. Any inefficiency across these three phases can create a bottleneck hindering the rapid iteration within product development. In the build phase, the process of writing synthetic DNA or mRNA for an improved biological function is characterized by multiple, complex processes that involve numerous time-consuming and technical steps, including DNA synthesis, DNA assembly, DNA cloning, and DNA scale-up in E. coli with
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multiple DNA purification steps in between. If the final product is mRNA, the process continues with additional technical steps including mRNA synthesis, mRNA modifications at each end and multiple mRNA purification steps.
In its January 2020 report, BCC Research estimated that the global synthetic biology market was $5.3 billion in 2019 and projected that market to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29%, reaching an estimated market size of $18.9 billion by 2024.
Key Limitations in Writing Synthetic DNA and mRNA
Despite these substantial advancements, including the accumulation of a large number of functional discoveries resulting from the wide-spread adoption of DNA sequencing instruments, the profound potential of synthetic biology has been hampered by the complexity within, and among, the multi-step process of writing synthetic DNA and mRNA, as well as significant limitations of existing solutions that prevent the rapid building of virtually error-free DNA and mRNA at a useable scale. Both limitations ultimately affect speed and quality of product delivery.
Currently, the process of writing synthetic DNA or mRNA for an improved biological function is carried out in laboratories by highly skilled researchers using multiple kits, each designed to perform one or more of the technical steps. Depending on the length and complexity of the desired synthetic DNA or mRNA product, the process may involve hundreds of manual steps, require numerous different kits and take days, weeks or months to complete. As an alternative solution, many, but not all, of these steps can be outsourced to a molecular biology CRO for completion, shifting those challenges from the end user to the CRO. However, outsourcing poses additional limitations, including lack of workflow control, unpredictable timelines and security issues.
Whether experiments are performed in-house or through a CRO, existing solutions for building synthetic DNA and mRNA have deficiencies. For example:
low fidelity of DNA and mRNA fragments reducing overall yields of usable material;
inability to construct stretches of DNA and mRNA sequence that have particular features;
inability to construct DNA and mRNA sequences above a certain size; and
inability to produce the end product in sufficient quantities for downstream applications.
These limitations produce bottlenecks across the build phase, which have significantly hindered the ability of the synthetic biology paradigm to deliver on its full potential. This inefficiency has created a significant unmet need in the market for an approach that can automate, integrate, optimize and standardize the process, and thereby enhance the speed, predictability and reproducibility of the design-build-test paradigm.
The Codex DNA Solution
Our synthetic biology solution, which leverages our industry-standard Gibson Assembly method, is aimed at addressing the bottlenecks across the build phase in order to accelerate the design-build-test paradigm. Key to our solution is our BioXp system, an end-to-end automated system for synthetic biology that fits on the benchtop and is broadly accessible due to its ease-of-use and hands-free automation. We have developed and commercialized the current version of the BioXp system, the BioXp 3250 system. We believe our BioXp system can democratize synthetic biology by making the build phase broadly accessible in terms of simplicity, accelerating applications and workflows, and greatly facilitating development of novel high-value products across a wide range of synthetic biology enabled markets. Our BioXp system empowers users to rapidly, accurately and reproducibly create high quality synthetic DNA and mRNA that is ready for use in many downstream synthetic biology workflows.
Our synthetic biology solution is comprised of:
The BioXp system: the first and only commercially available push-button, walkaway, end-to-end automated workstation, which requires only a few minutes of set up time, that empowers researchers to translate a digital DNA sequence to endpoint-ready synthetic DNA and mRNA in 8 to 24 hours using a benchtop instrument that is run by sophisticated onboard software;
The BioXp portal: a user-friendly online portal that offers an intuitive guided workflow and design tools for building new DNA sequences and assembling them into vector(s) of choice using Gibson Assembly on the BioXp system;
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The BioXp kits: contain all the necessary building blocks and reagents, including our proprietary Gibson Assembly branded reagents, for specific synthetic biology workflow applications;
Cloud-based scripts: product-specific and pre-validated scripts that optimize and simplify the use of the BioXp kits on the BioXp system (e.g., the BioXp system automatically scans barcodes from reagent plates to download scripts, enabling hands-free operation); and
Benchtop reagents: contain all the reagents necessary to proceed with a specific synthetic biology workflow on the benchtop using products generated on the BioXp system, providing additional flexibility to the customer and furthering our end-to-end solution.
Our solution is designed to offer the following benefits:
Consolidation of the build phase within a single end-to-end automated system: We provide researchers all the hardware, software, materials and methodologies required to rapidly and accurately design and build large quantities of synthetic DNA and mRNA, with BioXp kits for synthetically produced protein under development. Our BioXp system reduces the turnaround time for such workflows to days or hours. Moreover, researchers no longer require multiple vendors to complete such workflows, eliminating related bottlenecks and security concerns.
Increased speed and scale: Our BioXp system has the capacity to parallel process as many as 32 samples at once within an 8 to 24 hour period, depending on the BioXp kit being used. It also has the capacity to generate high quality and diverse libraries with short lead times, allowing innovation to be maintained in-house.
Capacity to construct a wide array of product formats: Our BioXp system was designed such that future applications would not require hardware upgrades but only software upgrades that could be installed remotely. This has facilitated new product development efforts to enhance current product specifications and to develop new kits that extend beyond the production of synthetic DNA. For example, since the BioXp system was launched, new scripts have been developed to produce larger gene products, cell-free amplification of cloned DNA, and production of synthetic mRNA. Likewise, new scripts are currently being developed to enhance the mRNA product offering and develop protein synthesis BioXp kits. This capability provides substantial time-to-product and workflow control advantages for customers and gives them the flexibility to select the workflows that meet their unique needs.
Ability to construct larger and more complex DNA and mRNA sequences: Our BioXp system uses proprietary protocols developed for robust DNA synthesis, assembly, and cloning enabling the construction of genes, mRNA, and clones across a wide range of sizes and complexity.
Industry-leading quality and performance: Our BioXp system uses a proprietary two-step error correction process to generate virtually error-free synthetic genes every time.
Enhanced productivity: Our BioXp system creates finished, biologically-active products in as few as eight hours. In addition, it includes protocols for the cell-free amplification of cloned DNA, obviating the need to use E. coli, reducing the time to product by days or even weeks. Altogether, this could represent at least a 20-fold productivity increase through accelerated iterations of the design-build-test paradigm. Ultimately, product development cycles are accelerated because the desired biological results are identified more quickly.
Protection of proprietary vectors: Our BioXp system permits our customers to maintain their proprietary vectors on site, protecting their intellectual property throughout their entire development lifecycle.
Our Growth Strategy
Our goal is to establish our solution, including our BioXp family of systems, as the industry standard for building synthetic DNA, mRNA and protein, and to democratize synthetic biology, thus accelerating its applications and workflows across a wide range of industries. To achieve this objective, we intend to:
drive new customer adoption of our BioXp systems;
maximize the utilization of BioXp system by developing additional BioXp kits for our customers’ workflows;
continue to expand into other attractive markets for synthetic biology that are currently under-served;
develop and commercialize new, disruptive BioXp systems to further increase utilization, expand breadth of applications, and accelerate product development cycles;
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continue to innovate across our synthetic biology product portfolio;
establish strategic partnerships leveraging our core competencies and validating our technology; and
continue to attract leading scientists to work at our company.
Our Products
We have developed and commercialized products that include BioXp systems, BioXp kits for generating a wide array of synthetic DNA and mRNA formats, and benchtop reagents that complement the automated synthetic biology workflow applications and workflow solutions.
Our BioXp 3250 system was launched in September 2020, replacing a legacy BioXp 3200 system. We believe that it is the world’s only fully automated benchtop instrument that enables numerous synthetic biology workflows by providing a turn-key, end-to-end solution for generating synthetic DNA and mRNA starting from DNA sequence. Through a combination of increased throughput and scale and reduced hands-on time, we estimate that the BioXp 3250 system offers the potential to significantly enhance productivity several fold, accelerating the development of critical new products in enabled markets. The BioXp 3250 system accelerates the design-build-test phases of the customer’s product development cycle by enabling rapid, automated synthesis of genes, clones, variant libraries and mRNA. Unlike traditional approaches that can take days, weeks or months, the BioXp 3250 system achieves these workflows in a single run, which can be completed in 8 to 24 hours.
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Our BioXp kits contain all the requisite Gibson Assembly branded reagents and allow our BioXp system to perform the steps required to produce various DNA and mRNA products designed for a range of synthetic biology applications. BioXp kits are designed to be backwards compatible with legacy systems and forward compatible with systems under development. Since the introduction of our solution through March 1, 2021, we have launched seven BioXp kits.
We also offer benchtop reagents that are synergistic with our BioXp system and BioXp kits to accelerate the build phase of the design-build-test synthetic biology paradigm. Since the introduction of our solution through March 1, 2021, we have launched three benchtop reagent kits.
As part of our continuing effort to improve the processes of synthetic biology, we are currently developing next-generation BioXp systems and BioXp kits with an aim to radically transform rapid demand-response workflows in synthetic biology by consolidating supply chains and enabling global distributed manufacturing for both discovery and clinical applications. Our ultimate goal is to build what we describe as the Digital-to-Biological Converter (DBC). The DBC’s approach would begin not with oligonucleotides, which can take days to procure, but with DNA sequence
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data. The system we envision would take data and produce synthetic genes, or even convert those automatically into mRNA or protein. This would enable the “sequence-in, vaccines-out” concept that could replace the months-long manufacturing processes required today with a process that can be carried out in 24 to 48 hours.
Our Biofoundry Services
We use our BioXp 3250 system, BioXp kits and benchtop reagents to perform biofoundry services for customers. Typically, these customers have not yet purchased our BioXp system or they have custom requirements. We apply sophisticated security protocols to these services designed to protect our customers’ intellectual property rights, which is a key concern for customers. These services enable a customer to order and receive any of the BioXp system endpoint-ready products, such as genes, clones, cell-free amplified DNA and variant libraries. Importantly, our biofoundry services are strategically used in a consultative partner approach through our pilot program, allowing customers to see specific proof points prior to purchasing a BioXp system.
Workflow Solutions for Synthetic Biology Enabled Markets
Our current and future BioXp systems are intended to address the needs of the synthetic biology customer across discovery and pre-clinical development by providing an unmatched capability to synthesize high-quality DNA and mRNA in 8 to 24 hours. With future system releases and extensions, we plan to address the continuum of research needs across the central dogma of molecular biology by enabling cell-free production of high-quality synthetic DNA, mRNA and protein for the discovery, development and manufacturing of enabled products across a wide range of markets. The graphic below demonstrates our solution for DNA and mRNA enabled workflows.
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*Future product offering
Risks Associated with Our Business
Our business is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties that you should consider before investing in our company. These risks are described more fully in the section titled “Risk Factors” in this prospectus. These risks include, but are not limited to, the following:
we are an early-stage synthetic biology technology company with a history of net losses, which we expect to continue, and we may not be able to generate meaningful revenues or achieve and sustain profitability in the future;
we have a limited operating history, which may make it difficult to evaluate the prospects for our future viability and predict our future performance;
our operating results may fluctuate significantly in the future, which makes our future operating results difficult to predict and could cause our operating results to fall below expectations or any guidance we may provide;
we may not be able to achieve or maintain satisfactory pricing and margins for our products;
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the size of the markets for our products may be smaller than estimated, and new market opportunities may not develop as quickly as we expect, or at all, thus limiting our ability to successfully meet our anticipated revenue projections;
we have limited experience in sales and marketing of our products;
we may need to raise additional capital to fund our operations, which may be unavailable to us or, even if consummated, may cause dilution or place significant restrictions on our ability to operate;
we rely on a single contract manufacturer to manufacture and supply our instruments and single source suppliers for certain components of our instruments and raw materials. If this manufacturer or these suppliers should fail or not perform satisfactorily, our ability to commercialize and supply our products would be adversely affected; and
if we are unable to obtain and maintain sufficient intellectual property protection for our products and technology, or if the scope of the intellectual property protection obtained is not sufficiently broad, our competitors could develop and commercialize products similar or identical to ours, and our ability to successfully commercialize our products and build a strong brand identity may be impaired.
Corporate Information
We were formed in Delaware as a corporation on March 24, 2011 under the name Synthetic Genomics Solutions, Inc., as a wholly owned subsidiary of Synthetic Genomics, Inc. (SGI). On February 26, 2013, we changed our name to SGI-DNA, Inc., and on March 31, 2020 we changed our name to Codex DNA, Inc. Our principal executive offices are located at 9535 Waples Street, Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92121-2993. Our telephone number at that address is (858) 228-4115. Our website address is www.codexdna.com. Information contained on our website is not incorporated by reference into this prospectus and should not be considered part of this prospectus.
We use the Codex DNA logo, BioXp, Gibson Assembly, RapidAMP, Vmax and other marks as trademarks in the United States and other countries. This prospectus contains references to our trademarks and service marks and to those belonging to other entities. Solely for convenience, trademarks and trade names referred to in this prospectus, including logos, artwork and other visual displays, may appear without the TM or ® symbol, but such references are not intended to indicate in any way that we will not assert, to the fullest extent possible under applicable law, our rights or the rights of the applicable licensor to these trademarks and trade names. We do not intend our use or display of other entities’ trade names, trademarks or service marks to imply a relationship with, or endorsement or sponsorship of us by, any other entity.
Implications of Being an Emerging Growth Company and a Smaller Reporting Company
We are an “emerging growth company” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, as amended (the JOBS Act). We will remain an emerging growth company until the earliest to occur of: (i) the last day of the fiscal year in which we have more than $1.07 billion in total annual gross revenue; (ii) the date we qualify as a “large accelerated filer” under the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC) with at least $700 million of equity securities held by non-affiliates; (iii) the date on which we have issued more than $1.0 billion in non-convertible debt securities during the prior three-year period; and (iv) the last day of the fiscal year ending after the fifth anniversary of our initial public offering.
An emerging growth company may take advantage of relief from certain reporting requirements and other burdens that are otherwise applicable generally to public companies. These provisions include:
presenting only two years of audited financial statements and only two years of selected financial data;
an exemption from compliance with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as amended (the Sarbanes-Oxley Act);
reduced disclosure about our executive compensation arrangements in our periodic reports, proxy statements, and registration statements; and
exemptions from the requirements of holding non-binding advisory votes on executive compensation or golden parachute arrangements.
As a result of this status, we have taken advantage of reduced reporting requirements in this prospectus and may elect to take advantage of other reduced reporting requirements in our future filings with the SEC. In particular, in this prospectus, we have provided only two periods of audited financial statements (the period March 8, 2019
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through December 31, 2019 and the year ended December 31, 2020), with correspondingly reduced “Selected Financial Data” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Conditions and Results of Operations” disclosure, and have not included all of the executive compensation related information that would be required if we were not an emerging growth company.
In addition, the JOBS Act provides that an emerging growth company can take advantage of an extended transition period for complying with new or revised accounting standards, delaying the adoption of these accounting standards until they would apply to private companies. We have elected to avail ourselves of this exemption from new or revised accounting standards, and, therefore, we will not be subject to the same new or revised accounting standards at the same time as other public companies that are not emerging growth companies or those that have opted out of using such extended transition period, which may make comparison of our financial statements with such other public companies more difficult. We may take advantage of these reporting exemptions until we no longer qualify as an emerging growth company, or, with respect to adoption of certain new or revised accounting standards, until we irrevocably elect to opt out of using the extended transition period. As a result, our financial statements may not be comparable to companies that comply with new or revised accounting standards as of public company effective dates.
We are also a “smaller reporting company” as defined in the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the Exchange Act). We may continue to be a smaller reporting company even after we are no longer an emerging growth company. We may take advantage of certain of the scaled disclosures available to smaller reporting companies and will be able to take advantage of these scaled disclosures for so long as our voting and non-voting common stock held by non-affiliates is less than $250 million measured on the last business day of our second fiscal quarter, or our annual revenue is less than $100 million during the most recently completed fiscal year for which audited financial statements are available and our voting and non-voting common stock held by non-affiliates is less than $700 million.
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THE OFFERING
The following summary contains basic information about the offering and our common stock and is not intended to be complete. It does not contain all the information that may be important to you. For a more complete description of our common stock, see “Description of Capital Stock.”
IssuerCodex DNA, Inc.
Common stock offered by us
          shares.
Option to purchase additional shares
We have granted the underwriters an option for a period of 30 days to purchase up to additional shares of our common stock.
Common stock to be outstanding
immediately after this offering
shares (or           shares if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares in full).
Use of proceeds
We estimate that the net proceeds from this offering will be approximately $           million, or $           million if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares of common stock, assuming an initial public offering price of           per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.

We currently intend to use the net proceeds from this offering, together with our existing cash and available borrowings for general corporate purposes, including working capital, and funding our research and development and sales and marketing activities. We may use a portion of the net proceeds to repay debt or expand our current business through strategic acquisitions or in-licenses of complimentary companies or technologies; however, we currently do not have any agreements or commitments to complete any such transactions and are not involved in negotiations regarding such transactions.

See the section titled “Use of Proceeds” for more information.
Risk factors
See the section titled “Risk Factors” on page 13 for a discussion of factors you should carefully consider before deciding to invest in shares of our common stock.
Proposed Nasdaq Global Market (Nasdaq) trading symbol
“DNAY”
The number of shares of our common stock to be outstanding after this offering is based on the           shares of our common stock outstanding as of December 31, 2020 (after giving effect to the automatic conversion of all of our outstanding convertible preferred stock and the automatic exercise of all of our outstanding warrants issued to SGI into an aggregate of           shares of common stock immediately prior to the completion of this offering), and excludes:
                 shares of common stock issuable upon the exercise of options granted under our 2019 Stock Plan, as amended (the 2019 Plan), outstanding as of December 31, 2020 with a weighted-average exercise price of $             per share;
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                 shares of common stock issuable upon the exercise of options granted under our 2021 Equity Incentive Plan (the 2021 Plan), after December 31, 2020 with a weighted-average exercise price of $             per share;
                 shares of common stock issuable upon the exercise of warrants to purchase shares issued after December 31, 2020 with an exercise price of $             per share; and
                 shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under our equity compensation plans, consisting of:
                 shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2021 Plan, as of                , 2021, which shares will be added to the shares to be reserved for future issuance under our 2021 Stock Incentive Plan (the 2021 SIP);
                 shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2021 SIP, which will become effective in connection with this offering, as well as any automatic increases in the number of shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under this plan; and
                 shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2021 Employee Stock Purchase Plan (the ESPP), which will become effective in connection with this offering, as well as any automatic increases in the number of shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under this plan.
Unless otherwise indicated, this prospectus assumes or gives effect to the following:
no exercise of outstanding options;
no exercise by the underwriters of their option to purchase additional shares of common stock from us in this offering;
the automatic conversion of all outstanding shares of our convertible preferred stock as of December 31, 2020, into an aggregate of                 shares of our common stock immediately prior to the completion of this offering;
the automatic exercise of all outstanding warrants issued to SGI into an aggregate of           shares of our common stock immediately prior to the completion of this offering; and
the filing and effectiveness of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and the adoption of our amended and restated bylaws, each of which will occur immediately prior to the completion of this offering.
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SUMMARY CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL DATA
The following tables set forth our summary consolidated financial data for the periods indicated. Pursuant to the authority of the SEC under Rules 3-06 and 3-13 of Regulation S-X under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the Securities Act), we have substituted audited consolidated financial statements for the period from March 8, 2019 through December 31, 2019 in place of audited consolidated financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019. We have derived the consolidated statement of operations data for the period from March 8, 2019 through December 31, 2019 and the year ended December 31, 2020, and the consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2020, from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus. Because of the different length of time for which financial information is presented in the period ended December 31, 2019 compared to that presented for the year ended December 31, 2020, our financial results for those periods are not comparable. Moreover, our historical results are not necessarily indicative of the results that should be expected for any future period. You should read the following summary consolidated financial data together with the more detailed information contained in “Selected Consolidated Financial Data,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” and our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this prospectus.
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Period from March 8, 2019 (Inception) to December 31, 2019Year Ended December 31, 2020
Statement of Operations and Comprehensive Loss Data (in thousands):
Revenue:
Product sales$3,555 $5,131 
Royalties1,250 1,445 
4,805 6,576 
Cost of revenue2,677 2,951 
Gross profit2,128 3,625 
Operating expenses:
Research and development 3,318 8,925 
Sales and marketing1,878 6,931 
General and administrative3,908 4,130 
Total operating expenses9,104 19,986 
Loss from operations(6,976)(16,361)
Other income (expense):
Interest expense(1,490)(690)
Change in fair value of derivative liabilities62 (880)
Other income (expense), net102 (74)
Loss before provision for income taxes(8,302)(18,005)
Provision for income taxes— (5)
Net loss and comprehensive loss(8,302)(18,010)
Net loss attributable to common stockholders$(8,302)$(18,010)
Net loss per share attributable to common
stockholders—basic and diluted
$(0.55)$(1.20)
Weighted average common stock outstanding—basic and diluted15,000,000 15,004,616 
Pro forma net loss per share attributable to common
stockholders—basic and diluted (unaudited)(1)
$(0.29)
Pro forma weighted average common stock outstanding—basic and
diluted (unaudited)(1)
60,242,616 
_______________
(1)The unaudited pro forma basic and diluted weighted-average shares of common stock outstanding used in the calculation of unaudited pro forma basic and diluted net loss per share attributable to common stockholders for the year ended December 31, 2020 have been prepared to give effect to (i) the automatic conversion of all outstanding shares of our convertible preferred stock into common stock immediately prior to the closing of this offering and (ii) the automatic exercise of all outstanding warrants issued to SGI into an aggregate of                    shares of our common stock immediately prior to the closing of this offering, as if this offering had occurred on the later of the beginning of each period or the issuance date of the convertible preferred stock or warrants issued to SGI.
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As of December 31, 2020
Actual
Pro Forma(1)
Pro Forma as Adjusted(2)(3)
Balance Sheet Data (in thousands):
Cash$13,463 
Working capital(4)
11,556 
Total assets26,863 
Long-term debt, net of discount, including current portion4,686 
Derivative liabilities1,533 
Convertible preferred stock38,914 
Total stockholders' equity (deficit)(25,459)
_______________
(1)The pro forma column in the balance sheet data table above reflects (i) the automatic conversion of all shares of our convertible preferred stock into               shares of common stock and (ii) the automatic exercise of all outstanding warrants issued to SGI into an aggregate of               shares of our common stock immediately prior to the completion of this offering, as if such conversion and exercise had occurred on December 31, 2020.
(2)The pro forma as adjusted column in the balance sheet data table above gives effect to (i) the pro forma adjustments set forth above and (ii) the receipt of $               million in net proceeds from the sale and issuance by us of shares of our common stock in this offering, based upon the assumed initial public offering price of $               per share, which is the midpoint of the estimated offering price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.
(3)Each $1.00 increase or decrease in the assumed initial public offering price of $               per share, which is the midpoint of the estimated offering price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase or decrease, as applicable, the amount of our pro forma as adjusted cash, working capital, total assets and total stockholders’ equity (deficit) by $               , assuming that the number of shares of common stock offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same, after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions payable by us. An increase or decrease of 1.0 million shares in the number of shares of common stock offered by us would increase or decrease, as applicable, the amount of our pro forma as adjusted cash, working capital, total assets and total stockholders’ equity (deficit) by $               assuming the assumed initial public offering price remains the same, and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions payable by us.
(4)We define working capital as current assets less current liabilities. See our financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus for further details regarding our current assets and current liabilities.
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RISK FACTORS
Investing in our common stock involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the risks described below, as well as the other information in this prospectus, including our consolidated financial statements and the related notes and the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in this prospectus, before deciding whether to invest in our common stock. The occurrence of any of the events or developments described below could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. In such an event, the market price of our common stock could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial also may impair our business operations and the market price of our common stock.
Risks Related to Our Business
We are an early-stage synthetic biology technology company with a history of net losses, which we expect to continue, and we may not be able to generate meaningful revenues or achieve and sustain profitability in the future.
We are an early-stage synthetic biology technology company, and we have incurred significant losses since beginning to operate as a stand-alone entity from Synthetic Genomics, Inc. (SGI) in March 2019, and expect to continue incurring losses in the future. We incurred net losses of $8.3 million for the period from March 8, 2019 through December 31, 2019 and $18.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. As of December 31, 2020, we had an accumulated deficit of $26.3 million. These losses and accumulated deficit were primarily due to the substantial investments we have made to develop, commercialize and market our technology and products. Over the next several years, we expect to continue to devote a significant portion of our resources towards the continued development and commercialization of our synthetic biology products. These efforts may prove more costly than we currently anticipate. In addition, as a public company, we will incur significant legal, accounting, administrative, insurance and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company. Accordingly, we cannot assure you that we will achieve profitability in the future or that, if we do become profitable, we will remain profitable.
We have a limited operating history, which may make it difficult to evaluate the prospects for our future viability and predict our future performance.
Our prospects must be considered in light of the uncertainties, risks, expenses, and difficulties frequently encountered by companies in their early stages of operations. For example, our management team has had a limited time working together and many of our key employees are new to our company. Predictions about our future success or viability are highly uncertain and may not be as accurate as they could be if we had a longer operating history or a longer history of successfully developing and commercializing products.
In addition, as a business with a limited operating history, we may encounter unforeseen expenses, difficulties, complications, delays and other known and unknown obstacles. We have encountered in the past, and will encounter in the future, risks and uncertainties frequently experienced by growing companies with limited operating histories in emerging and rapidly changing industries. If our assumptions regarding these risks and uncertainties, which we use to plan and operate our business, are incorrect or change, or if we do not address these risks successfully, our results of operations could differ materially from our expectations, and our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.
Our operating results may fluctuate significantly in the future, which makes our future operating results difficult to predict and could cause our operating results to fall below expectations or any guidance we may provide.
Our quarterly and annual operating results may fluctuate significantly, which makes it difficult for us to predict our future operating results. These fluctuations may occur due to a variety of factors, many of which are outside of our control, including, but not limited to:
the level of demand for our commercialized products, which may vary significantly from period to period;
our ability to drive adoption of our products in our target markets and our ability to expand into any future target markets, including internationally;
the prices at which we will be able to sell our products;
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the volume and mix of our sales between our BioXp systems, BioXp kits, benchtop reagents, other products and biofoundry services, or changes in the manufacturing or sales costs related to our products;
the length of time of the sales cycle for purchases of, or royalties on, our products, including lead time needed to procure critical raw materials from suppliers and finished goods from our third-party contract suppliers and manufacturers;
the extent to which we succeed in developing and commercializing new products;
potential shortages, or increases in costs, of our product components or raw materials, or other disruptions to our supply chain;
the timing and cost of, and level of investment in, research and development and commercialization activities relating to our products, which may change from time to time;
our ability to successfully manage relationships with customers, third-party distributors and suppliers of our products;
the timing and amount of expenditures that we may incur to develop, commercialize or acquire additional products and technologies;
changes in governmental funding sources;
cyclical changes to the research and development budgets within the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and industrial segments of synthetic biology;
seasonal spending patterns of our customers;
the expenses needed to attract and retain skilled personnel;
future accounting pronouncements or changes in our accounting policies;
the outcome of any litigation or governmental investigations involving us, our industry or both;
higher than anticipated service, replacement and warranty costs;
the costs associated with being a public company;
changes in the regulatory environment;
the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, investment in synthetic biology and research industries, our business operations, and resources and operations of our customers, suppliers, and distributors; and
general industry, economic and market conditions and other factors, including factors unrelated to our operating performance or the operating performance of our competitors.
The cumulative effects of the factors discussed above could result in large fluctuations and unpredictability in our quarterly and annual operating results. As a result, comparing our operating results on a period-to-period basis may not be meaningful. Investors should not rely on our past results as an indication of our future performance.
This variability and unpredictability could also result in our failing to meet the expectations of industry or financial analysts or investors for any period of time. If our operating results fall below the expectations of analysts or investors or below any guidance we may provide, or if the guidance we provide is below the expectations of analysts or investors, it could cause the market price of our common stock to decline.
We may not be able to achieve or maintain satisfactory pricing and margins for our products.
The synthetic biology industry has a history of price competition, and we can give no assurance that we will be able to achieve satisfactory prices for our products or maintain prices at the levels we have historically achieved. If we are forced to lower the price we charge for our products, our gross margins will decrease, which will adversely affect our ability to invest in and grow our business. We believe that we will continue to be subject to significant pricing pressure, which may limit our ability to maintain or increase our prices.
Our cost of goods is dependent upon the pricing we are able to negotiate with our suppliers of raw materials, instruments and components. In particular, we have experienced price increases for certain raw materials, such as oligonucleotides, and expect these raw materials to continue to be in high demand. We do not have long term supply contracts for any of our raw materials. If our costs increase and we are unable to offset such increases with a proportionate increase in our prices, our margins would erode, which would harm our business and results of operations.
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We may need to raise additional capital to fund our operations, which may be unavailable to us or, even if consummated, may cause dilution or place significant restrictions on our ability to operate.
Based on our current plans, we believe that our current cash, available borrowings, the net proceeds from this offering and anticipated cash flow from operations will be sufficient to meet our anticipated cash requirements for at least twelve months from the date of this prospectus. As a result, we have disclosed that there is substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern. If our available cash resources, net proceeds from this offering and anticipated cash flow from operations are insufficient to satisfy our liquidity requirements, including because of lower demand for our products or the realization of other risks described in this prospectus, we may be required to raise additional capital prior to such time through issuances of equity or convertible debt securities, or seek debt financing or other form of third-party funding. Following the offering, we believe our cash and additional borrowings available under our Loan and Security Agreement with Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), dated as of March 4, 2021 (the 2021 Loan Facility), will be sufficient to meet our capital requirements and fund our operations for at least the next 12 months following this offering. However, we have based these estimates on assumptions that may prove to be incorrect, and we could spend our available financial resources much faster than we currently expect.
We may seek to raise additional capital in the future to expand our business, to pursue strategic investments, to take advantage of financing opportunities or for other reasons, including:
increasing our sales and marketing and other commercialization efforts to drive market adoption of our products;
funding development and marketing efforts of our current or any future products;
expanding our technologies into additional markets;
acquiring, licensing or investing in technologies and other intellectual property rights;
acquiring or investing in complementary businesses or assets; and
financing capital expenditures and general and administrative expenses.
Our present and future funding requirements will depend on many factors, including:
our rate of progress in increasing penetration of our target markets with current and new products, and the cost of the sales and marketing activities associated with establishing adoption of our products;
our rate of progress in, and cost of research and development activities associated with, products in research and development; and
the effect of competing technological and market developments.
If we are unable to obtain adequate financing or financing on terms satisfactory to us when needed, our ability to continue to pursue our business objectives and to respond to business opportunities, challenges, or unforeseen circumstances could be significantly limited, and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
The various ways we could raise additional capital carry potential risks. If we raise funds by issuing equity securities, dilution to our stockholders would result. If we raise funds by issuing debt securities, those debt securities would have rights, preferences and privileges senior to those of holders of our common stock. The terms of debt securities issued or borrowings pursuant to a credit agreement could impose significant restrictions on our operations. If we raise funds through collaborations or licensing arrangements, we might be required to relinquish significant rights to our technologies or products or grant licenses on terms that are not favorable to us.
Our Loan and Security Agreement with Silicon Valley Bank contains restrictive covenants that limit our operations.
Pursuant to the terms of the 2021 Loan Facility, we have borrowed $15.0 million and may become eligible to borrow up to an additional $5.0 million, at SVB’s sole option. If we are not in compliance with the financial covenants of the 2021 Loan Facility, it is unlikely that SVB will offer to extend the additional $5.0 million of debt financing. The 2021 Loan Facility contains various restrictive covenants, including, among other things, a minimum revenue covenant, and restrictions on our ability to merge or consolidate with any other entity, dispose of all or substantially all of our assets, dissolve or liquidate, incur liens or pay dividends. These restrictions may restrict our current and future operations, particularly our ability to respond to certain changes in our business or industry or take future actions.
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See the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources” for additional information.
Our ability to meet these restrictive covenants can be impacted by events beyond our control. Our 2021 Loan Facility provides that our breach or failure to satisfy certain covenants constitutes an event of default. Upon the occurrence of an event of default, our lenders could elect to declare all amounts outstanding under the 2021 Loan Facility to be immediately due and payable. If the outstanding debt under the 2021 Loan Facility was to be accelerated, we may not have sufficient cash on hand to repay it, which would have an immediate adverse effect on our business and operating results. This could potentially cause us to cease operations and result in a complete loss of your investment in our common stock.
We depend on our key personnel and other highly qualified personnel, and if we are unable to recruit, train and retain our personnel, we may not achieve our goals.
Our future success depends upon our ability to recruit, train, retain and motivate key personnel. Our senior management team, including Todd R. Nelson, Ph.D., our Chief Executive Officer; Daniel Gibson, Ph.D., our Chief Technology Officer; Timothy E. Cloutier, our Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations; and Laurence Warden, our Vice President of Engineering and Instrumentation, is critical to our vision, strategic direction, product development and commercialization efforts. We have entered into at-will employment agreements with each of Dr. Nelson, Dr. Gibson, Dr. Cloutier and Mr. Warden, and such agreements may be terminated by either party at any time without cause. The departure of one or more of our executives officers, senior management team members or other key employees could be disruptive to our business unless we are able to hire qualified successors. We do not maintain “key man” life insurance on our senior management team.
Our continued growth depends, in part, on attracting, retaining and motivating qualified personnel, including highly trained sales personnel with the necessary scientific background and ability to understand our systems at a technical level to effectively identify and sell to potential new customers. New hires require significant training and, in most cases, take significant time before they achieve full productivity. Our failure to successfully integrate these key personnel into our business could adversely affect our business. In addition, competition for qualified personnel is intense, particularly in the San Diego area, where our operations are headquartered. We compete for qualified scientific and information technology personnel with other life science and information technology companies as well as academic institutions and research institutions.
We do not maintain fixed-term employment contracts with any of our employees. As a result, our employees could leave our company with little or no prior notice and would be free to work for a competitor. Due to the complex and technical nature of our products and technology and the dynamic market in which we compete, any failure to attract, train, retain and motivate qualified personnel could materially harm our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.
If we do not sustain or successfully manage our anticipated growth, our business and prospects will be harmed.
Our anticipated growth will place significant strains on our management, operational and manufacturing systems and processes, sales and marketing team, financial systems and internal controls and other aspects of our business. As of March 1, 2021, we had 84 employees in the United States and seven full-time employees internationally. We expect that we will need to hire additional accounting, finance and other personnel in connection with our becoming, and our efforts to comply with the requirements of being, a public company. Once public, our management and other personnel will need to devote a substantial amount of time towards maintaining compliance with these requirements and effectively manage these growth activities. We may face challenges integrating, developing and motivating our rapidly growing employee base. To effectively manage our growth, we must continue to improve our operational and manufacturing systems and processes, our financial systems and internal controls and other aspects of our business and continue to effectively expand, train and manage our personnel. Our ability to successfully manage our expected growth is uncertain given the fact that we have only been in operation as a stand-alone company since March 2019. As our organization continues to grow, we will be required to implement more complex organizational management structures, and we may find it increasingly difficult to maintain the benefits of our corporate culture, including our ability to quickly develop and launch new and innovative products. If we do not successfully manage our anticipated growth, our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects will be harmed.
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A significant portion of our revenue in the near term will be generated from the sale of our current products.
While we anticipate that a substantial contributor to our growth will come from new product introductions, we expect that we will generate in the near term, a significant portion of our revenue from the sale of our BioXp systems and the increased sale of BioXp kits and benchtop reagents to our current customers. There can be no assurance that our current customers will increase their BioXp kit and benchtop reagent purchases. There can also be no assurance that we will be able to design other products that will meet the expectations of our customers or that any of our future products will become commercially viable. As technologies change in the future for synthetic biology research tools, we will be expected to upgrade or adapt our products in order to maintain the latest technology.
While concentrating our research and development and commercialization efforts on our synthetic biology solution, we may forego other opportunities that may provide greater revenue or be more profitable. If our research and product development efforts do not result in additional commercially viable products within the anticipated timelines, or at all, our business and results of operations will be adversely affected. Any delay or failure by us to develop and release our new products or product enhancements would have a substantial adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
If we fail to introduce compelling new products, our revenues and our prospects could be harmed.
Our ability to attract new customers and increase revenue from existing customers will depend in large part on our ability to introduce compelling new products and pursue new market opportunities that develop as a result of technological and scientific advances. The success of any enhancement to our existing commercialized products or introduction of new products depends on several factors, including timely completion and delivery, cost-effective development and manufacturing, competitive pricing, adequate quality testing, integration with existing technologies, appropriately timed and staged introduction and overall market acceptance. Any new product that we develop may not be introduced in a timely or cost-effective manner, may contain defects, errors, vulnerabilities or bugs, or may not achieve the market acceptance necessary to generate significant revenue.
The typical development cycle of new synthetic biology products can be lengthy and complicated, and may require new scientific discoveries or advancements, considerable resources and complex technology and engineering. Such developments may involve external suppliers and service providers, making the management of development projects complex and subject to risks and uncertainties regarding timing, timely delivery of required components or services and satisfactory technical performance of such components or assembled products. If we do not achieve the required technical specifications or successfully manage new product development processes, or if development work is not performed according to schedule, then the development of such new technologies or products may be adversely impacted.
In addition, there is extensive competition in the synthetic biology industry, which is characterized by rapid and significant technological changes, frequent new product introductions and enhancements and evolving industry demands and standards. Our future success will depend on our ability to maintain a competitive position, including technologically superior and less expensive products compared to those of our competitors. Technological development by others may result in our technologies, as well as products developed using our technologies, becoming obsolete. If we are unable to successfully develop new products, compete with alternative products, or otherwise gain and maintain market acceptance, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be harmed.
Rapidly changing technology in synthetic biology could make the products we are developing obsolete unless we continue to develop and manufacture new and improved products and pursue new market opportunities.
Our industry is characterized by rapid and significant technological changes, frequent new product introductions and enhancements and evolving industry standards. The preferences and needs of our customers may change over time. Our future success will depend on our ability to continually improve the products we are developing, to develop and introduce new products that address the evolving needs of our customers on a timely and cost-effective basis, and to pursue new market opportunities that develop as a result of technological and scientific advances. These new market opportunities may be outside the scope of our proven expertise or in areas which have unproven market demand, and the utility and value of new products developed by us may not be accepted in the markets served by the new products. Our inability to gain market acceptance of new products could harm our future operating results. Our future success also depends on our ability to manufacture these new and improved products to meet customer
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demand in a timely and cost-effective manner, including our ability to resolve manufacturing issues that may arise as we commence production of these complex products. Unanticipated difficulties or delays in replacing existing products with new products we introduce or in manufacturing improved or new products in sufficient quantities to meet customer demand could diminish future demand for our products and harm our future operating results.
We may acquire other companies or technologies, which could divert our management’s attention, result in additional dilution to our stockholders, disrupt our operations and harm our operating results.
We may in the future seek to acquire or invest in businesses, applications or technologies that we believe could complement or expand our current or future products, enhance our technical capabilities or otherwise offer growth opportunities. The pursuit of potential acquisitions may divert the attention of management and cause us to incur various costs and expenses in identifying, investigating and pursuing suitable acquisitions, whether or not they are consummated. We may not be able to identify desirable acquisition targets or be successful in entering into an agreement with any particular target or obtain the expected benefits of any acquisition or investment.
To date, the growth of our operations has been organic, and we have limited experience in acquiring other businesses or technologies. We may not be able to successfully integrate acquired personnel, operations and technologies, or effectively manage the combined business following an acquisition. Acquisitions could also result in dilutive issuances of equity securities, the use of our available cash, or the incurrence of debt, which could harm our operating results. In addition, if an acquired business fails to meet our expectations, our operating results, business and financial condition may suffer.
If we experience a significant disruption in our information technology systems or breaches of data security, our business could be adversely affected.
We rely, or will rely, on information technology systems to keep financial records, facilitate our research and development initiatives, manage our manufacturing operations, maintain quality control, fulfill customer orders, maintain corporate records, communicate with staff and external parties and operate other critical functions. Our information technology systems and those of our vendors and partners are potentially vulnerable to disruption due to breakdown, malicious intrusion and computer viruses or other disruptive events, including, but not limited to, natural disasters and catastrophes. Cyberattacks and other malicious internet-based activity continue to increase and cloud-based platform providers of services have been and are expected to continue to be targeted. Methods of attacks on information technology systems and data security breaches change frequently, are increasingly complex and sophisticated, including social engineering and phishing scams, and can originate from a wide variety of sources. In addition to traditional computer “hackers,” malicious code, such as viruses and worms, employee theft or misuse, denial-of-service attacks and sophisticated nation-state and nation-state supported actors now engage in attacks, including advanced persistent threat intrusions. Despite our efforts to create security barriers to such threats, it is virtually impossible for us to entirely mitigate these risks. In addition, we have not finalized our information technology and data security procedures and therefore, our information technology systems may be more susceptible to cybersecurity attacks than if such security procedures were finalized. Despite any of our current or future efforts to protect against cybersecurity attacks and data security breaches, there is no guarantee that our efforts are adequate to safeguard against all such attacks and breaches. Moreover, it is possible that we may not be able to anticipate, detect, appropriately react and respond to, or implement effective preventative measures against, all cybersecurity incidents.
If our security measures, or those of our vendors and partners, are compromised due to any cybersecurity attacks or data security breaches, including as a result of third-party action, employee or customer error, malfeasance, stolen or fraudulently obtained log-in credentials or otherwise, our reputation could be damaged, our business and reputation may be harmed, we could become subject to litigation and we could incur significant liability. If we were to experience a prolonged system disruption in our information technology systems or those of certain of our vendors and partners, it could negatively impact our ability to serve our customers, which could adversely impact our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. If operations at our facilities were disrupted, it may cause a material disruption in our business if we are not capable of restoring functionality on an acceptable timeframe. In addition, our information technology systems, and those of our vendors and partners, are potentially vulnerable to data security breaches, whether by internal bad actors, such as employees or other third parties with legitimate access to our or our third-party providers’ systems, or external bad actors, which could lead to the exposure of personal data, sensitive data and confidential information to unauthorized persons. Any such data
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security breaches could lead to the loss of trade secrets or other intellectual property, or could lead to the exposure of personal information, including sensitive personal information, of our employees, customers and others, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation, financial condition and results of operations.
In addition, any such access, disclosure or other loss or unauthorized use of information or data could result in legal claims or proceedings, regulatory investigations or actions, and other types of liability under laws that protect the privacy and security of personal information, including federal, state and foreign data protection and privacy regulations, violations of which could result in significant penalties and fines. Additionally, a new privacy law, the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), was approved by California voters in the election on November 3, 2020. The CPRA will modify the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) significantly, potentially resulting in further uncertainty and requiring us to incur additional costs and expenses in an effort to comply. In addition, U.S. and international laws and regulations that have been applied to protect user privacy (including laws regarding unfair and deceptive practices in the U.S. and GDPR in the E.U.) may be subject to evolving interpretations or applications. Furthermore, defending a suit, regardless of its merit, could be costly, divert management’s attention and harm our reputation. In addition, although we seek to detect and investigate all data security incidents, security breaches and other incidents of unauthorized access to our information technology systems and data can be difficult to detect and any delay in identifying such breaches or incidents may lead to increased harm and legal exposure of the type described above. Moreover, there could be public announcements regarding any cybersecurity incidents and any steps we take to respond to or remediate such incidents, and if securities analysts or investors perceive these announcements to be negative, it could, among other things, have a material adverse effect on the price of our common stock.
The cost of protecting against, investigating, mitigating and responding to potential breaches of our information technology systems and data security breaches and complying with applicable breach notification obligations to individuals, regulators, partners and others can be significant. As cybersecurity incidents continue to evolve, we may be required to expend significant additional resources to continue to modify or enhance our protective measures or to investigate and remediate any information security vulnerabilities. The inability to implement, maintain and upgrade adequate safeguards could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. While we currently maintain cybersecurity insurance, our insurance policies may not be adequate to compensate us for the potential costs and other losses arising from such disruptions, failures or security breaches. In addition, such insurance may not be available to us in the future on economically reasonable terms, or at all, or that any insurer will not deny coverage as to any future claim. The successful assertion of one or more large claims against us that exceed available insurance coverage, or the occurrence of changes in our insurance policies, including premium increases or the imposition of large deductible or co-insurance requirements, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
A customer may unintentionally misuse our products or a bad actor may intentionally use our products with intent to create harm and, in either case, third parties may seek to hold us liable for the resulting harm.
All orders for our products that we receive are processed through a security filter. We verify that the shipping addresses of our customers are valid, screen the customer versus known agent lists and comply in all material respects with the know your customer rules. Despite these precautions it is possible that one of our customers may unintentionally misuse our products or a bad actor may attempt to misuse our products to create harm. If misuse of our products were to occur, the terms and conditions of our invoices may be insufficient to protect us from liability. Any indemnification that our customers are required to provide to us may be insufficient to cover the costs and damages resulting from the misuse of our products. Further, the product liability insurance we provide may specifically exclude bad acts of our customers from coverage or coverage limits may be insufficient to protect us from the amount of the liability we could incur. Any unintentional or intentional misuse of our products could result in liability or require us to expend costs to defend ourselves, may not be covered by insurance and may have a material and adverse effect on our business or results of operations.
Our recurring losses from operations have raised substantial doubt regarding our ability to continue as a going concern.
As shown in the financial statements included in this prospectus, we have had recurring losses from operations and, as a result, our independent registered public accounting firm has expressed substantial doubt concerning our ability to continue as a going concern and has included an explanatory paragraph in its report on our financial statement as of and for the year ended December 31, 2020 with respect to this uncertainty. Future reports on our
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financial statements may also include an explanatory paragraph with respect to our ability to continue as a going concern. We have incurred significant losses since our inception and have never generated profit, and it is possible we will never generate profit. There is no assurance that other financing will be available when needed to allow us to continue as a going concern. The perception that we may not be able to continue as a going concern may cause others to choose not to deal with us due to concerns about our ability to meet our contractual obligations. If we are unable to continue as a going concern, you could lose all or part of your investment.
Risks Related to Supply, Manufacturing and Distribution of Our Products
We rely on a single contract manufacturer to manufacture and supply our instruments and single source suppliers for certain components of our instruments and raw materials. If this manufacturer or these suppliers should fail or not perform satisfactorily, our ability to commercialize and supply our products would be adversely affected.
We do not own or operate, and currently do not plan to own or operate, facilities for manufacturing our BioXp systems. We rely and expect to continue to rely on third parties for the production and packaging of our instruments. We rely on a single contract manufacturer, D&K Engineering, Inc. (D&K), located in San Diego, to manufacture and supply our BioXp systems. Since our contract with D&K does not commit it to carry inventory or make available any particular quantities of instruments outside of accepted purchase orders, D&K may give other customers’ needs higher priority than ours, and we may not be able to obtain adequate supplies in a timely manner or on commercially reasonable terms. We do not have a long-term supply agreement with D&K. Instead, we typically issue non-cancellable purchase orders for our BioXp systems on a six-month rolling basis and we currently maintain less than 30 days of inventory of BioXp systems. Our purchase orders with D&K are terminable without cause upon sixty days’ notice in writing to the other party.
Our reliance on a third party for the manufacture of our instruments increases the risk that we will not have sufficient quantities of our instruments or will not be able to obtain such quantities at an acceptable cost or quality, which could delay, prevent or impair commercialization of our instruments. In the event it becomes necessary to utilize a different contract manufacturer for our BioXp systems, we would experience additional costs, delays and difficulties as a result of having to identify and enter into an agreement with a new manufacturer. We would also have to prepare such new manufacturer to meet the technical and logistical requirements associated with manufacturing our instruments, and our business could suffer as a result.
In addition, certain of the components used in our instruments are sourced from limited or single-source suppliers. If we were to lose such suppliers, there can be no assurance that we will be able to identify or enter into agreements with alternative suppliers on a timely basis on acceptable terms, if at all. An interruption in our ability to sell and deliver instruments to customers could occur if we encounter delays or difficulties in securing these components, or if the quality of the components supplied do not meet our specifications, or if we cannot then obtain an acceptable substitute. If any of these events occur, our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects could be harmed.
We also rely on third parties for certain components of our BioXp kits and benchtop reagents, including the nucleotides we use in our BioXp kits, which are primarily sourced from Integrated DNA Technologies, Inc. (IDT), a division of Danaher Corporation. While we have a validation plan for second sources for these components and raw materials, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to source these materials at similar quantities and on similar terms if our preferred supplier were to become unable or unwilling to fulfill our requirements.
Our reliance on third party manufacturers subjects us to risks associated with their businesses and operations. This dependence on others may harm our ability to develop and commercialize our products on a timely and competitive basis. Any such failure may result in decreased product sales and lower product revenue, which would harm our business. For example, even if we have agreements with third parties, they may not perform their obligations to us and they may be unable or unwilling to establish or increase production capacity commensurate with our needs. Disputes may also arise between us and our suppliers that result in the delay or termination of commercialization or that result in costly litigation or arbitration that diverts management’s attention and resources. Also, third party manufacturers are subject to their own operational and financial risks that are outside of our control, and potentially their control also, that may cause them to suffer liquidity or operational problems and that could interfere with their business operations. For example, our suppliers have also been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and some of our raw materials and components originate in China. We have also experienced supply delays for critical hardware,
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instrumentation and supplies that we use for product development, as these other components and supplies are otherwise diverted to COVID-19-related testing and other uses.
We have limited experience producing and supplying our products. We may be unable to consistently manufacture or source our products to the necessary specifications or in quantities necessary to meet demand on a timely basis and at acceptable performance and cost levels.
Our BioXp systems, BioXp kits and benchtop reagents comprise an integrated solution with many different components that work together. As such, a quality defect in a single component can compromise the performance of the entire system. In order to successfully generate revenue from this product line, we need to supply our customers with products that meet their expectations for quality and functionality in accordance with established specifications on a timely basis. Our instruments are manufactured by D&K using complex processes, sophisticated equipment and strict adherence to specifications and quality systems procedures. Given the complexity of this instrumentation, individual units may occasionally require additional installation and service prior to becoming available for customer use.
As we continue to scale commercially and develop new products, and as our products incorporate increasingly sophisticated technology, it will become more difficult to ensure our products are produced in the necessary quantities while maintaining quality. There is no assurance that we or our third-party manufacturers will be able to continue to manufacture our products so that our technology consistently achieves the product specifications and produces results with acceptable quality. In addition, our BioXp kits and benchtop reagents have a limited shelf life, after which their performance is not ensured and many of our products must be shipped and stored at controlled temperatures. Shipment of BioXp kits and benchtop reagents that exceed their shelf life or shipment of defective products to customers may result in recalls and warranty replacements, which would increase our costs and may damage our reputation, and depending upon current inventory levels and the availability and lead time for additional inventory, could lead to availability issues. Any future design issues, unforeseen manufacturing problems, such as contamination of our or our manufacturers’ facilities, equipment malfunctions, aging components, quality issues with components and materials sourced from third-party suppliers, or failures to strictly follow procedures or meet specifications, may have a material adverse effect on our brand, business, reputation, results of operations and financial condition and could result in us or our third-party manufacturers losing International Organization for Standardization (ISO) or quality management certifications. If our third-party manufacturers fail to maintain ISO quality management certifications, our customers might choose not to purchase products from us.
In addition, as we scale our commercial operations, we will also need to make corresponding improvements to other operational functions, such as our customer support, service and billing systems, compliance programs and internal quality assurance programs. We cannot assure you that any increases in scale, related improvements and quality assurance will be successfully implemented or that appropriate personnel will be available. As we develop additional products, we may need to bring new equipment on-line, implement new systems, technology, controls and procedures and hire personnel with different qualifications.
An inability to manufacture products and components that consistently meet specifications, in necessary quantities, at commercially acceptable costs and without significant delays, may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.
We must continue to secure and maintain sufficient and stable supplies of components and raw materials.
Certain disruptions in supply of, and changes in the competitive environment for, components and raw materials integral to the manufacturing of our products may adversely affect our profitability. We use a broad range of materials and supplies in our products. A significant disruption in the supply of these materials could decrease production and shipping levels, materially increase our operating costs and materially and adversely affect our revenues and profit margins. Shortages of materials or interruptions in transportation systems, labor strikes, work stoppages, war, acts of terrorism or other interruptions to or difficulties in the employment of labor or transportation in the markets in which we purchase materials, components and supplies for the production of our products, in each case, may adversely affect our ability to maintain production of our products and achieve profitability. Unforeseen discontinuation or unavailability of certain components, such as enzymes or nucleotides, each of which we currently primarily source from single supplier, could cause backorders as we modify our product specifications to accommodate replacement components. If we were to experience a significant or prolonged shortage of critical components from any of our suppliers and could not procure the components from other sources, we would be
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unable to manufacture our products and ship them to our customers in a timely fashion, or at all, which would adversely affect our sales, margins and customer relations.
Our products could have defects or errors, giving rise to claims against us, adversely affecting market adoption and negatively impacting our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Our products utilize novel and complex technology related to writing synthetic DNA and mRNA and may develop or contain undetected defects or errors. We cannot assure you that material performance problems, defects, or errors will not arise, and as we commercialize our products, these risks may increase. We provide warranties at the point of sale that our products will meet performance expectations and will be free from defects. We also provide extended warranties at an additional cost to the customer. The costs incurred in correcting any defects or errors may be substantial and could adversely affect our operating margins.
In manufacturing our products, we depend upon third parties for the supply of our instruments and various components, many of which require a significant degree of technical expertise to produce. If our suppliers fail to make our products or their components to specification or provide defective products to us, and our quality control tests and procedures fail to detect such errors or defects, or if we or our suppliers use defective materials or workmanship in the manufacturing process, the reliability and performance of our products will be compromised.
If our products contain defects, we may experience:
a failure to achieve market acceptance for our products;
loss of customer orders and delay in order fulfillment;
damage to our reputation;
increased warranty and customer service and support costs due to product repair or replacement;
product recalls or replacements;
inability to attract new customers;
diversion of resources from our manufacturing and research and development departments into our service department; and
legal claims against us, including product liability claims, which could be costly and time consuming to defend and result in substantial damages.
If we become subject to product liability claims, we may be required to pay damages that exceed our insurance coverage.
Our business exposes us to potential product liability claims that are inherent in the production, marketing and sale of biotechnological and genetic products. Although we believe that we are reasonably insured against these risks, and we generally have limited indemnity protections in our supplier agreements, there can be no assurance that our current insurance is adequate or that we will be able to maintain insurance in amounts or scope sufficient to provide us with adequate coverage against all potential liabilities. Any product liability claim in excess of our insurance coverage, claim that is outside of or exceeds our indemnity protections in our supplier agreements, or recall of one of our products, would have to be paid out of our cash reserves.
Shipping is a critical part of our business. Any changes in our shipping arrangements or damages or losses sustained during shipping could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
We currently rely on commercial carriers for our shipping. If we are not able to negotiate acceptable pricing and other terms with these carriers, or if they experience performance problems or other difficulties, it could negatively impact our operating results and our customers’ experience. If a product is damaged in transit, it may result in a substantial delay in the fulfillment of the customer’s order, and depending on the type and extent of the damage and whether the incident is covered by insurance, it may result in a substantial financial loss to us. If our products are not delivered in a timely fashion or are damaged or lost during the delivery process, our customers could become dissatisfied and cease using our products or services, which would adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
Our business depends on our ability to quickly and reliably deliver our products and in particular, our BioXp kits and benchtop reagents, to our customers. Certain of these products are perishable and must be kept below certain
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temperatures and, therefore, we ship these products on dry ice and only ship such products on certain days of the week to reach customers without spoilage. Disruptions in the delivery of these products, whether due to labor disruptions, bad weather, natural disasters, terrorist acts or threats or for other reasons could result in our customers receiving products that are not fit for use, and if used, could result in inaccurate results or ruined experiments. While we work with customers to replace any products that are impacted by delivery disruptions, our reputation and our business may be adversely impacted even if we replace products free of charge. In addition, if we are unable to continue to obtain expedited delivery services on commercially reasonable terms, our operating results may be adversely affected.
In addition, should our commercial carriers encounter difficulties in delivering our products to customers, particularly at the end of any financial quarter, it could adversely impact our ability to recognize revenue for those products in that period and accordingly adversely affect our financial results for that period.
Risks Related to Our Sales, Marketing and Customer Support
We have limited experience in sales and marketing of our products.
We have limited experience in sales and marketing our products. Our ability to achieve profitability depends on our being able to attract customers for our products. To meet our sales objectives, we must expand our sales, marketing, distribution and customer service and support capabilities with personnel with the appropriate technical expertise. In undertaking expansion efforts, we will face a number of risks relating to:
our ability to attract, retain and manage the sales, marketing and customer service and support personnel necessary to commercialize and gain market acceptance for our technology;
the time and cost of maintaining specialized sales, marketing and customer service and support personnel; and
the relative success of our sales, marketing and customer service and support personnel.
We currently enlist, and may in the future seek to enlist one or more third parties to assist with sales, distribution and customer service and support. There is no guarantee that we will be successful in attracting effective sales and distribution partners or that we will be able to enter into such arrangements on favorable terms. If our sales and marketing efforts, or those of any third-party sales and distribution partners, are not successful, our products may not gain market acceptance, which could materially impact our business operations.
A substantial proportion of our sales are through distributors, and we do not control their efforts to sell our products. If our relationships with these third-party distributors deteriorate, or if these third-party distributors fail to sell our products or engage in activities that harm our reputation, our financial results may be negatively affected.
Our current sales model includes direct sales in North America and parts of Europe, and relationships with third party distributors in other parts of Europe and various countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific regions. We believe that our reliance on distributors improves the economics of our business, as we do not carry the high fixed costs of a direct sales force in many of the countries in which our products are sold. If we are unable to maintain or enter into such distribution arrangements on acceptable terms, or at all, we may not be able to successfully commercialize our products in certain countries.
Furthermore, distributors can choose the level of effort that they apply to selling our products relative to others in their portfolio. The selection, training, and compensation of distributors’ sales personnel are within their control rather than our own and may vary significantly in quality from distributor to distributor. They may experience their own financial difficulties, or distribution relationships may be terminated or allowed to expire, which could increase the cost of or impede commercialization of our products in applicable countries. Disputes may also arise between us and our distributors that result in the delay or termination of commercialization or that result in costly litigation or arbitration that diverts management’s attention and resources. Distributors may not properly maintain or defend our intellectual property rights or may use our proprietary information in such a way as to invite litigation that could jeopardize or invalidate our proprietary information or expose us to potential litigation. Distributors could move forward with competing products developed either independently or in collaboration with others, including our competitors.
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In addition, although our contract terms require our distributors to comply with all applicable laws regarding the sale of our products, including regulatory labelling, protection of personal data, U.S. export regulations and the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), we may not be able to ensure proper compliance. If our distributors fail to effectively market and sell our products in full compliance with applicable laws and regulations, our results of operations and business may suffer.
The size of the markets for our products may be smaller than estimated, and new market opportunities may not develop as quickly as we expect, or at all, thus limiting our ability to successfully meet our anticipated revenue projections.
The market for synthetic biology technologies and products is evolving, making it difficult to predict with any accuracy the size of the markets for our current and future products, including our BioXp systems, BioXp kits and benchtop reagents. Our estimates of the total addressable market for our current and future products are based on a number of internal and third-party estimates and assumptions. In particular, our estimates are based on our expectations that researchers in the market for certain synthetic biology research tools and technologies will view our products as competitive alternatives to, or better options than, existing tools and technologies. We also expect researchers will recognize the ability of our products to complement, enhance and enable new applications of their current tools and technologies. Underlying each of these expectations are a number of estimates and assumptions that may be incorrect, including the assumptions that government or other sources of funding will continue to be available to synthetic biology researchers at times and in amounts necessary to allow them to purchase our products and that researchers have an unmet need for performing synthetic biology applications. As a result, the sizes of the annual total addressable market for new markets and new products are even more difficult to predict. The synthetic biology market may develop more slowly or differently than we expect. While we believe our assumptions and the data underlying our estimates of the total addressable market for our products are reasonable, these assumptions and estimates may not be correct and the conditions supporting our assumptions or estimates, or those underlying the third-party data we have used, may change over time, thereby reducing the accuracy of our estimates. As a result, our estimates of the total addressable market for our products may be incorrect.
The future growth of the market for our current and future products depends on many factors beyond our control. For example, in 2020, 11% of our revenue was from products specifically targeting research and development efforts related to COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutic products. As effective COVID-19 vaccines or treatments are developed, approved and rolled out to protect against and treat the COVID-19 virus, demand for these products and biofoundry services may be impacted and the size of our market opportunity for such products may be impacted.
We expect that our products will be subject to the market forces and adoption curves common to other new technologies. The market for synthetic biology technologies and products is in its early stages of development. Sales of new products into new market opportunities may take years to develop and mature and we cannot be certain that these market opportunities will develop as we expect. If the markets for our current and future products are smaller than estimated or do not develop as we expect, our growth may be limited and our business, financial condition and operational results of operations could be adversely affected.
Our success depends on broad scientific and market acceptance of our products, which we may fail to achieve.
Our ability to achieve and maintain scientific and commercial market acceptance of our products will depend on a number of factors. If widespread adoption of our products takes longer than anticipated, we will continue to experience operating losses.
The success of life sciences products is due, in large part, to recognition and acceptance by the scientific community, their adoption of these products in the applicable field of research and the growth, prevalence and costs of competing products. Such recognition and acceptance of our products may not occur in the near term, or at all. Our product offerings are innovative. New synthetic biology technology, including our own, may not be adopted until the consistency and accuracy of such technology has been proven.
Other factors in achieving commercial market acceptance of our products include:
our ability to market and increase awareness of the capabilities of our products;
our customers’ willingness to adopt new products and workflows;
whether early adopters and key opinion leaders (KOLs) publish research involving the use of our products;
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our products’ ease-of-use and whether it reliably provides advantages over alternative technologies;
the rate of adoption of our products and services by academic institutions, laboratories, biopharmaceutical companies and others;
the prices we charge for our products;
our ability to develop new products and workflows;
whether competitors commercialize products that perform similar functions as our products; and
the impact of our investments in product innovation and commercial growth.
We cannot assure you that we will be successful in addressing each of these criteria or other criteria that might affect the market acceptance of any products we commercialize. If we are unsuccessful in achieving and maintaining scientific and market acceptance of our products, our business, financial condition and results of operations would be adversely affected.
The synthetic biology technology market is highly competitive. If we fail to compete effectively, our business and results of operation will suffer.
We face significant competition in the synthetic biology technology market. We currently compete with synthetic biology technology companies and the companies that are supplying components, products and services that serve customers engaged in synthetic biology research. These companies include Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.; Danaher Corporation; CureVac N.V.; GENEWIZ Group, which was acquired by Brooks Automation, Inc.; GenScript Biotech Corporation; DNA Script SAS; Integrated DNA Technologies, Inc.; Molecular Assemblies, Inc.; Nuclera Nucleics Ltd; Nutcracker Therapeutics, Inc.; Twist Bioscience Corporation and others.
Some of our current competitors are large, publicly-traded companies, or are divisions of large publicly-traded companies, and may enjoy a number of competitive advantages over us, including:
greater name and brand recognition;
greater financial and human resources;
broader product lines;
larger sales forces and more established distributor networks;
substantial intellectual property portfolios;
larger and more established customer bases and relationships; and
better established, larger scale and lower cost manufacturing capabilities.
We cannot assure investors that our products will compete favorably or that we will be successful in the face of increasing competition from products and technologies introduced by our existing or future competitors or companies entering our markets. In addition, we cannot assure investors that our competitors do not have or will not develop products or technologies that currently or in the future will enable them to produce competitive products with greater capabilities or at lower costs than ours. Any failure to compete effectively could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.
Our revenue, results of operations and cash flows would be adversely affected by the loss of a significant customer.
We have derived, and we may continue to derive, a significant portion of our revenues from a limited number of large customers. We estimate that our twenty largest customers accounted for 85% and 60% of our revenue for the period March 8, 2019 through December 31, 2019 and the year ended December 31, 2020, respectively. The loss of key customers, or the reduction in the amount of product ordered by them may adversely affect our revenue, results of operations, cash flows and reputation in the marketplace.
We generally do not have long-term contracts with our customers requiring them to purchase any specified quantities of products from us.
We generally do not have long-term contracts with our customers requiring them to purchase any specified quantities of products from us. Without such contracts, our customers are not obligated to order our products. We cannot accurately predict our customers’ decisions to reduce or cease purchasing our products. Additionally, even where we enter into contracts with our customers, there is no guarantee that such agreements will be negotiated on
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terms that are commercially favorable to us in the long term. If many of our customers were to substantially reduce their purchase volume or cease ordering products from us, this could materially and adversely affect our financial performance.
Our business will depend significantly on research and development spending by the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and industrial agricultural customers, as well as academic institutions and other research institutions. Any reduction in spending could limit demand for our products and adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.
We expect that substantially all of our sales revenue in the near term will be generated from sales to pharmaceutical, biotechnology and industrial agricultural customers, as well as academic institutions and other research institutions. Much of these customers’ funding is dependent on annual research and development budgets and in the case of academic and other research institutions will be, in turn, provided by various state, federal and international government agencies. As a result, the demand for our products will depend upon the research and development budgets of these customers, which are impacted by factors beyond our control, such as:
research and development budgets within the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, agricultural and other industries;
government funding of research and development;
changes to programs that provide funding to research laboratories and institutions, including changes in the amount of funds allocated to different areas of research or changes that have the effect of increasing the length of the funding process;
macroeconomic conditions and the political climate;
potential changes in the regulatory environment;
differences in budgetary cycles, especially government- or grant-funded customers, whose cycles often coincide with government fiscal year ends;
market-driven pressures to consolidate operations and reduce costs; and
scientific and market acceptance of relatively new synthetic biology products.
In addition, various state, federal and international agencies that provide grants and other funding may be subject to stringent budgetary constraints that could result in spending reductions, reduced grant making, reduced allocations or budget cutbacks, which could jeopardize the ability of funding organizations or the organizations to whom they provide funding, to purchase our products. For example, congressional appropriations to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), have generally increased year-over-year for the last 19 years, and reached a new high in 2020, but the NIH also experiences occasional year-over-year decreases in appropriations, including as recently as 2013. In addition, funding for life science research has increased more slowly during the past several years compared to previous years and has actually declined in some countries. There is no guarantee that NIH appropriations will not decrease in the future, and a decrease may be more likely under the current administration, whose annual budget proposals have repeatedly decreased NIH appropriations. A decrease in the amount of, or delay in the approval of, appropriations to NIH or other similar United States or international organizations, such as the Medical Research Council in the United Kingdom, could result in fewer grants benefiting synthetic biology research. These reductions or delays could also result in a decrease in the aggregate amount of grants awarded for synthetic biology research or the redirection of existing funding to other projects or priorities, any of which in turn could cause our customers and potential customers to reduce or delay purchases of our products. Our operating results may fluctuate substantially due to any such reductions and delays. Any decrease in our customers’ budgets or expenditures, or in the size, scope or frequency of their capital or operating expenditures, could materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.
Our success depends on our ability to service and support our products directly or in collaboration with our strategic partners.
To the extent that we or our strategic partners fail to maintain a high quality level of service and support for our products, there is a risk that the perceived quality of our products will be diminished in the marketplace. Likewise, we may fail to provide the level, quantity or quality of service expected by the marketplace. This could result in slower adoption rates and lower than anticipated utilization of our products, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
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Risks Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Other Natural Disasters
The COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to reduce its spread have adversely impacted, and are expected to continue to adversely impact, our business and operations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had, and is expected to continue to have, an adverse impact on our operations, particularly as a result of preventive and precautionary measures that we, other businesses and governments are taking. Governmental mandates related to COVID-19 have impacted, and we expect similar infectious diseases or public health crises may continue to impact, our personnel and personnel at third-party manufacturers in the United States and other countries. Such mandates have impacted and likely will continue to impact the availability and cost of materials, which disrupts or delays our receipt of components and supplies from the third parties we rely on to, among other things, manufacture our BioXp systems, BioXp kits and benchtop reagents or source and timely receive parts and components from third parties. For instance, there are standing “stay-at-home” orders in California, and specifically San Diego County where our headquarters is located, that require businesses to implement certain social distancing protocols and other health and safety measures, which may affect productivity and morale. An extended implementation of these governmental mandates could further impact our ability to operate effectively and conduct ongoing research and development or other activities. The COVID-19 pandemic has also had an adverse effect on our ability to attract, recruit, interview and hire at the pace we would typically expect to support our rapidly expanding operations. To the extent that any governmental authority imposes additional regulatory requirements or changes existing laws, regulations and policies that apply to our business and operations, such as additional workplace safety measures, our product development plans may be delayed, and we may incur further costs in bringing our business and operations into compliance with changing or new laws, regulations and policies.
Our ability to drive the adoption of our products will depend upon our ability to attend trade shows and conferences, visit customer sites, the ability of our customers to access laboratories, install our products and train their personnel on our products and conduct research in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the research and development budgets of these customers, the ability of such customers to receive funding for research, and the ability of such customers to receive instrument installations and visitors to their facilities and to travel to our facilities, other laboratories and industry events, will become increasingly important to the adoption of our products. All of these considerations are impacted by factors beyond our control, such as:
reductions in capacity or shutdowns of laboratories and other institutions as well as other impacts stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, such as reduced or delayed spending on instruments or reagents as a result of such shutdowns and delays before re-opened laboratories and institutions resume previous levels of research activities that require new purchases of our products;
decreases in government funding of research and development; and
changes to programs that provide funding to research laboratories and institutions, including changes in the amount of funds allocated to different areas of research, changes that have the effect of increasing the length of the funding process or the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our customers and potential customers and their funding sources.
The ultimate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is highly uncertain and subject to sudden change. This impact could have a material, adverse impact on our liquidity, capital resources, operations and business and those of the third parties on which we rely, and could worsen over time. The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic impacts our results will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted, including new information which may emerge concerning the severity of COVID-19 and the actions to contain COVID-19 or treat its impact, among others. While we do not yet know the full extent of potential impacts on our business, any of these occurrences could significantly harm our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Unfavorable U.S. or global economic conditions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, or otherwise, could adversely affect our ability to raise capital and our business, results of operations and financial condition.
While the potential economic impact brought by, and the duration of, the COVID-19 pandemic is difficult to assess or predict, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in, and may continue to result in, extreme volatility and disruptions in the capital and credit markets, reducing our ability to raise additional capital through equity, equity-linked or debt financings, which could negatively impact our short-term and long-term liquidity and our ability to operate in accordance with our operating plan, or at all. Additionally, our results of operations could be adversely affected by general conditions in the global economy and financial markets. A severe or prolonged economic downturn could
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result in a variety of risks to our business, including weakened demand for our products and our ability to raise additional capital when needed on favorable terms, if at all. A weak or declining economy could strain our customers’ budgets or cause delays in their payments to us. Any of the foregoing could harm our business. We cannot anticipate all of the ways in which the current economic climate and financial market conditions could adversely impact our ability to raise capital, business, results of operations and financial condition.
If our facilities or our third-party manufacturers’ facilities become unavailable or inoperable, our research and development program and commercialization of our products could be adversely impacted and manufacturing of our products could be interrupted.
Our San Diego, California, facilities house our corporate, research and development and quality assurance teams. Our instruments are manufactured at our third-party manufacturer’s facilities in San Diego, and our BioXp kits and benchtop reagents are manufactured at various locations in the United States and internationally, including our San Diego facilities. We do not have a second or back-up facility to use if our San Diego facility becomes inoperable.
Our facilities in San Diego and those of our third-party manufacturers are vulnerable to natural disasters, public health crises, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and catastrophic events. For example, our San Diego facilities are located near earthquake fault zones and are vulnerable to damage from earthquakes as well as other types of disasters, including fires, floods, power loss, communications failures and similar events. If any disaster, public health crisis or catastrophic event were to occur, our ability to operate our business would be seriously, or potentially completely, impaired. If our facilities or our third-party manufacturer’s facilities become unavailable for any reason, we cannot provide assurances that we will be able to secure alternative manufacturing facilities with the necessary capabilities and equipment on acceptable terms, if at all. We may encounter particular difficulties in replacing our San Diego facilities given the specialized equipment housed within it. The inability to manufacture our products, combined with our limited inventory of finished products, may result in the loss of future customers or harm our reputation, and we may be unable to re-establish relationships with those customers in the future.
If our research and development program or commercialization program were disrupted by a disaster or catastrophe, the launch of new products, including our workflow automation and reagent solutions, and the timing of improvements to our products could be significantly delayed and could adversely impact our ability to compete with other available products and solutions. If our or our third-party manufacturer’s capabilities are impaired, we may not be able to manufacture and ship our products in a timely manner, which would adversely impact our business. Although we possess insurance for damage to our property and the disruption of our business, this insurance may not be sufficient to cover all of our potential losses and may not continue to be available to us on acceptable terms, or at all.
Risks Related to Doing Business Internationally
Doing business internationally creates operational and financial risks for our business.
We estimate that during the period ended December 31, 2019 and the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020, approximately 14% and 25%, respectively, of our revenue was generated from customers located outside of the United States. In connection with our growth strategy, we intend to further expand in international markets. Conducting and launching operations on an international scale requires close coordination of activities across multiple jurisdictions and time zones and consumes significant management resources. If we fail to coordinate and manage these activities effectively, our business, financial condition or results of operations could be adversely affected. International sales entail a variety of risks, including longer payment cycles and difficulties in collecting accounts receivable outside of the United States, currency exchange fluctuations, challenges in staffing and managing foreign operations, tariffs and other trade barriers, unexpected changes in legislative or regulatory requirements of foreign countries into which we sell our products, difficulties in obtaining export licenses or in overcoming other trade barriers, laws and business practices favoring local companies, political and economic instability, difficulties protecting or procuring intellectual property rights, and restrictions resulting in delivery delays and significant taxes or other burdens of complying with a variety of foreign laws.
Changes in the value of the relevant currencies may affect the cost of certain items required in our operations. Changes in currency exchange rates may also affect the relative prices at which we are able to sell products in the same market. Our revenue from international customers may be negatively impacted as increases in the U.S. dollar relative to our international customers’ local currency could make our products more expensive, impacting our ability
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to compete. Our costs of materials from international suppliers may increase if in order to continue doing business with us they raise their prices as the value of the U.S. dollar decreases relative to their local currency. Foreign policies and actions regarding currency valuation could result in actions by the United States and other countries to offset the effects of such fluctuations. The recent global financial downturn has led to a high level of volatility in foreign currency exchange rates and that level of volatility may continue, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Our international business could expose us to business, regulatory, political, operational, financial, and economic risks associated with doing business outside of the United States.
Engaging in international business inherently involves a number of difficulties and risks, including:
required compliance with existing and changing foreign regulatory requirements and laws that are or may be applicable to our business in the future, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and other data privacy requirements, labor and employment regulations, anti-competition regulations, the U.K. Bribery Act of 2010 and other anti-corruption laws;
required compliance with U.S. laws such as the FCPA, and other U.S. federal laws and regulations, including those established by the Office of Foreign Asset Control;
export requirements and import or trade restrictions;
laws and business practices favoring local companies;
foreign currency exchange fluctuations, longer payment cycles and difficulties in enforcing agreements and collecting accounts receivables through certain foreign legal systems;
hyperinflation or economic or political instability in foreign countries;
changes in social, economic, and political conditions or in laws, regulations and policies governing foreign trade, manufacturing, research and development, and investment, including as a result of the separation of the United Kingdom from the European Union, commonly referred to as Brexit;
the imposition of inconsistent laws or regulations;
changes in or interpretations of foreign law that may adversely affect our ability to sell our products, perform services or repatriate profits to the United States;
potentially adverse tax consequences, tariffs, customs charges, bureaucratic requirements and other trade barriers;
difficulties and costs of staffing and managing foreign operations; and
difficulties protecting, maintaining, enforcing or procuring intellectual property rights.
If one or more of these risks occurs, it could require us to dedicate significant resources to remedy such occurrence, and if we are unsuccessful in finding a solution, our financial results will suffer.
We could inadvertently engage in exporting or related activity that contravenes international trade restraints, or regulatory authorities could promulgate more far-reaching international trade restraints, which could give rise to one or more of substantial legal liability, impediments to our business and reputational damage.
Our international business activities must comport with U.S. export controls and other international trade restraints, including the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Export Administration Regulations and economic sanctions regulations administered by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.
To date our exports have not been licensable under export controls; however, we could still fail to observe export controls or sanctions requirements in a manner that leaves us in noncompliance with export controls or other international trade restraints. In addition, authorities could promulgate international trade restraints that impinge on our ability to engage in our business operations as planned. One or more of resulting legal penalties, restraints on our business or reputational damage could have material adverse effects on our business and financial condition.
We are subject to various U.S. and international anti-corruption laws and other anti-bribery and anti-money laundering laws and regulations.
We are subject to the FCPA, the U.S. domestic bribery statute contained in 18 U.S.C. § 201, the U.S. Travel Act, and other anti-corruption, anti-bribery, and anti-money laundering laws in the jurisdictions where we do business,
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both domestic and abroad. Anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws have been enforced aggressively in recent years and are interpreted broadly. These laws generally prohibit companies, their employees, business partners, third-party intermediaries, representatives, and agents from authorizing, offering, or providing, directly or indirectly, improper payments or benefits to government officials or commercial parties to obtain or retain business, direct business to any person, or gain any improper advantage. We sometimes leverage third parties to conduct our business abroad. We and our employees, business partners, third-party intermediaries, representatives, and agents may have direct or indirect interactions with officials and employees of government agencies or state-owned or affiliated entities and we may be held liable for their corrupt or other illegal activities even if we do not explicitly authorize those activities. We cannot assure you that our employees and agents will not take actions that violate applicable law, for which we may be ultimately held responsible. These laws also require that we keep accurate books and records and maintain internal accounting controls and compliance procedures designed to prevent any such actions. While we have policies and procedures to address compliance with these laws, we cannot assure you that our employees, business partners, third-party intermediaries, representatives, and agents will not take actions that violate our policies or applicable law, for which we may be ultimately held responsible. Our exposure for violating these laws increases as our international presence expands and as we increase sales and operations in foreign jurisdictions.
Any violation of the FCPA or other applicable anti-bribery, anti-corruption, and anti-money laundering laws could result in whistleblower complaints, adverse media coverage, investigations, loss of export privileges, severe criminal or civil sanctions, settlements, prosecution, enforcement actions, fines, damages, or suspension or debarment from government contracts, all of which may have an adverse effect on our reputation, business, stock price, financial condition, prospects, and results of operations. In addition, responding to any investigation or action will likely result in a materially significant diversion of management’s attention and resources and significant defense costs and other professional fees.
Risks Related to Our Regulatory Environment
If we elect to label and promote any of our products as clinical diagnostics tests or medical devices, we would be required to obtain prior approval or clearance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which would take significant time and expense and could fail to result in FDA clearance or approval for the intended uses we believe are commercially attractive.
Our products are currently labeled and promoted, and are, and in the near-future will be, sold primarily to academic and research institutions and research companies as research use only (RUO) products. They are not currently designed, or intended to be used, for clinical diagnostic tests or as medical devices. If we elect to label and market our products for use as, or in the performance of, clinical diagnostics in the United States, thereby subjecting them to FDA regulations as medical devices, we would be required to obtain premarket 510(k) clearance or premarket approval from the FDA, unless an exception applies.
We may in the future register with the FDA as a medical device manufacturer and list some of our products with the FDA pursuant to an FDA Class I listing for general purpose laboratory equipment. While this regulatory classification is exempt from certain FDA requirements, such as the need to submit a premarket notification commonly known as a 510(k), and some of the requirements of the FDA’s Quality System Regulations (QSRs), we would be subject to ongoing FDA “general controls,” which include compliance with FDA regulations for labeling, inspections by the FDA, complaint evaluation, corrections and removals reporting, promotional restrictions, reporting adverse events or malfunctions for our products, and general prohibitions against misbranding and adulteration.
In addition, we may in the future submit 510(k) premarket notifications to the FDA to obtain FDA clearance of certain of our products. It is possible, in the event we elect to submit 510(k) applications for any of our products, that the FDA would take the position that a more burdensome premarket application, such as a premarket approval application or a de novo application, is required for those same products. If such applications were required, greater time and investment would be required to obtain FDA approval. Even if the FDA agreed that a 510(k) was appropriate, FDA clearance can be expensive and time consuming. Notwithstanding the effort and expense, FDA clearance or approval could be denied for some or all of our products for which we choose to market as a medical device or a clinical diagnostic device. There can be no assurance that future products for which we may seek premarket clearance or approval will be approved or cleared by FDA or a comparable foreign regulatory authority on a timely basis, if at all, nor can there be assurance that labeling claims will be consistent with our anticipated claims or adequate to support continued adoption of such products. Compliance with FDA or comparable foreign regulatory
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authority regulations would require substantial costs, and subject us to heightened scrutiny by regulators and substantial penalties for failure to comply with such requirements or the inability to market our products. The lengthy and unpredictable premarket clearance or approval process, as well as the unpredictability of the results of any required clinical studies, may result in our failing to obtain regulatory clearance or approval to market such products, which would significantly harm our business, results of operations, reputation, and prospects.
If we sought and received regulatory clearance or approval for any of our products, we would be subject to ongoing FDA obligations and continued regulatory oversight and review, including the general controls listed above and the FDA’s QSRs for our development and manufacturing operations. We could also be subject to additional FDA post-marketing obligations for such products, any or all of which would increase our costs and divert resources away from other projects. If we sought and received regulatory clearance or approval and are not able to maintain regulatory compliance with applicable laws, we could be prohibited from marketing our products for use as, or in the performance of, clinical diagnostics and be subject to enforcement actions, including warning letters and adverse publicity, fines, injunctions, and civil penalties, recalls or seizure of products, operating restrictions and criminal prosecution.
In addition, we could decide to seek regulatory clearance or approval for certain of our products in countries outside of the United States. Sales of such products outside the United States will likely be subject to foreign regulatory requirements, which can vary greatly from country to country. As a result, the time required to obtain clearances or approvals outside the United States may differ from that required to obtain FDA clearance or approval and we may not be able to obtain foreign regulatory approvals on a timely basis or at all. In Europe, we would need to comply with the new Medical Device Regulation 2017/745 and In Vitro Diagnostic Regulation 2017/746, which became effective May 26, 2017, with application dates of May 26, 2021 (postponed from 2020) and May 26, 2022 respectively. This will increase the difficulty of regulatory approvals in Europe in the future. In addition, the FDA regulates exports of medical devices. Failure to comply with these regulatory requirements or obtain and maintain required approvals, clearances and certifications could impair our ability to commercialize our products for diagnostic use outside of the United States.
Our products could become subject to government regulation as medical devices by the FDA and other regulatory agencies even if we do not elect to seek regulatory clearance or approval to market our products for diagnostic purposes, which would adversely impact our ability to market and sell our products and harm our business. If our products become subject to FDA regulation, the regulatory clearance or approval and the maintenance of continued and post-market regulatory compliance for such products will be expensive, time-consuming and uncertain both in timing and in outcome.
We do not currently expect our workflow automation and reagent solutions to be subject to the clearance or approval of the FDA, as it is not intended to be used for the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of disease. However, as we expand our product line and the applications and uses of our current or products into new fields, certain of our future products could become subject to regulation by the FDA, or comparable international agencies, including requirements for regulatory clearance or approval of such products before they can be marketed. Also, even if our products are labeled, promoted and intended as RUO, the FDA or comparable agencies of other countries could disagree with our conclusion that our products are intended for research use only or deem our sales, marketing and promotional efforts as being inconsistent with RUO products. For example, our customers may independently elect to use our RUO labeled products in their own laboratory developed tests (LDTs) for clinical diagnostic use, which could subject our products to government regulation, and the regulatory clearance or approval and maintenance process for such products may be uncertain, expensive, and time-consuming. Regulatory requirements related to marketing, selling and distribution of RUO products could change or be uncertain, even if clinical uses of our RUO products by our customers were done without our consent. If the FDA or other regulatory authorities assert that any of our RUO products are subject to regulatory clearance or approval, our business, financial condition, or results of operations could be adversely affected.
The FDA has historically exercised enforcement discretion in not enforcing the medical device regulations against laboratories offering LDTs. However, on October 3, 2014, the FDA issued two draft guidance documents that set forth the FDA’s proposed risk-based framework for regulating LDTs, which are designed, manufactured and used within a single laboratory. The draft guidance documents provide the anticipated details through which the FDA would propose to establish an LDT oversight framework, including premarket review for higher-risk LDTs, such as those that have the same intended use as FDA-approved or cleared companion diagnostic tests currently on the
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market. In January 2017, the FDA announced that it would not issue final guidance on the oversight of LDTs and manufacturers of products used for LDTs, but would seek further public discussion on an appropriate oversight approach, and give Congress an opportunity to develop a legislative solution.
As manufacturers develop more complex diagnostic tests and diagnostic software, the FDA may increase its regulation of LDTs. Any future legislative or administrative rule making or oversight of LDTs, if and when finalized, may impact the sales of our products and how customers use our products, and may require us to change our business model in order to maintain compliance with these laws. We cannot predict how these various efforts will be resolved, how Congress or the FDA will regulate LDTs in the future, or how that regulatory system will impact our business. Changes to the current regulatory framework, including the imposition of additional or new regulations, including regulation of our products, could arise at any time during the development or marketing of our products, which may negatively affect our ability to obtain or maintain FDA or comparable regulatory approval of our products, if required. Further, sales of devices for diagnostic purposes may subject us to additional healthcare regulation and enforcement by the applicable government agencies. Such laws include, without limitation, state and federal anti-kickback or anti-referral laws, healthcare fraud and abuse laws, false claims laws, privacy and security laws, Physician Payments Sunshine Act and related transparency and manufacturer reporting laws, and other laws and regulations applicable to medical device manufacturers.
Additionally, on November 25, 2013, the FDA issued Final Guidance “Distribution of In Vitro Diagnostic Products Labeled for Research Use Only.” The guidance emphasizes that the FDA will review the totality of the circumstances when it comes to evaluating whether equipment and testing components are properly labeled as RUO. The final guidance states that merely including a labeling statement that the product is for research purposes only will not necessarily render the device exempt from the FDA’s clearance, approval, and other regulatory requirements if the circumstances surrounding the distribution, marketing and promotional practices indicate that the manufacturer knows its products are, or intends for its products to be, used for clinical diagnostic purposes. These circumstances may include written or verbal sales and marketing claims or links to articles regarding a product’s performance in clinical applications and a manufacturer’s provision of technical support for clinical applications.
As part of the United States’ efforts to combat COVID-19 and consistent with Executive Orders 13771 and 13924, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced rescission of guidance and other informal issuances of the FDA regarding premarket review of LDT absent notice-and-comment rulemaking, stating that, absent notice-and-comment rulemaking, those seeking approval or clearance of, or an emergency use authorization, for an LDT may nonetheless voluntarily submit a premarket approval application, premarket notification or an Emergency Use Authorization request, respectively, but are not required to do so. However, laboratories opting to use LDTs without FDA premarket review or authorization would not be eligible for liability protection under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act. While this action by HHS is expected to reduce the regulatory burden on clinical laboratories certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 that develop LDTs, it is unclear how this action as well as future legislation by federal and state governments and the FDA will impact the industry, including our business and that of our customers. Such HHS measure may compel the FDA to formalize earlier enforcement discretionary policies and informal guidance through notice-and-comment rulemaking and impose further restrictions on LDTs. HHS’ rescission policy may change over time. Congress could also enact legislation restricting LDTs. Any restrictions on LDTs by the FDA, HHS, Congress or state regulatory authorities may decrease the demand for our products. The adoption of new restrictions on RUO products, whether by the FDA or Congress, could adversely affect demand for our products. Further, we could be required to obtain premarket clearance or approval before we can sell our products to certain customers.
Ethical, legal and social concerns surrounding the use of genetic information could reduce demand for our technology.
Our products may be used to create DNA sequences of humans, agricultural crops and other living organisms. Our products could be used in a variety of applications, which may have underlying ethical, legal and social concerns. Governmental authorities could, for safety, social or other purposes, impose limits on or implement regulation of the use of gene synthesis. Such concerns or governmental restrictions could limit the use of our DNA synthesis products, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, public perception about the safety and environmental hazards of, and ethical concerns over, genetically engineered products and processes could influence public acceptance of our technologies, products and processes. These concerns could result in increased expenses, regulatory scrutiny, delays or other impediments to our programs.
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We use biological and hazardous materials that require considerable expertise and expense for handling, storage and disposal and may result in claims against us.
We work with materials, including chemicals, biological agents, and compounds and DNA samples that could be hazardous to human health and safety or the environment. Our operations and research and development processes also produce hazardous and biological waste products. Federal, state and local laws and regulations govern the use, generation, manufacture, storage, handling and disposal of these materials and wastes. Compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations is expensive, and current or future environmental laws and regulations may restrict or have a material effect on our operations and research and development programs. If we do not comply with applicable regulations, we may be subject to fines and penalties.
In addition, accidental injury or contamination from these materials or wastes could interrupt our commercialization efforts, research and development programs and business operations, as well as cause environmental damage resulting in costly clean-up and liabilities under applicable laws and regulations. Furthermore, environmental laws and regulations are complex, change frequently and have tended to become more stringent. We cannot predict the impact of such changes and cannot be certain of our future compliance.
While our property insurance policy provides limited coverage in the event of contamination from hazardous and biological products and the resulting cleanup costs, we do not currently have any additional insurance coverage for legal liability for claims arising from the handling, storage or disposal of hazardous materials. Accordingly, in the event of contamination or injury, we could be liable for damages or penalized with fines in an amount exceeding our resources, and our operations could be suspended or otherwise adversely affected. We may not be able to maintain insurance on acceptable terms, if at all.
We could inadvertently develop DNA sequences or engage in other activity that contravenes biosecurity requirements, or regulatory authorities could promulgate more far reaching biosecurity requirements that our standard business practices cannot accommodate, which could give rise to substantial legal liability, impediments to our business and reputational damage.
The Federal Select Agent Program (FSAP) involves rules administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service that regulate possession, use and transfer of biological select agents and toxins that have the potential to pose a severe threat to public, animal or plant health or to animal or plant products.
We have established a biosecurity program under which we follow biosafety and biosecurity best practices and avoid DNA synthesis activities that implicate FSAP rules; however, we could inadvertently fail to comply with FSAP or other biosecurity rules. In addition, authorities could promulgate new biosecurity requirements that restrict our operations. One or more resulting legal penalties, restraints on our business or reputational damage could have material adverse effects on our business and financial condition.
We are currently subject to, and may in the future become subject to additional, U.S. federal and state laws and regulations imposing obligations on how we collect, store and process personal information. Our actual or perceived failure to comply with such obligations could harm our business. Ensuring compliance with such laws could also impair our efforts to maintain and expand our future customer base, and thereby decrease our revenue.
In the ordinary course of our business, we currently, and in the future will, collect, store, transfer, use or process sensitive data, including personally identifiable information of employees, and intellectual property and proprietary business information owned or controlled by ourselves and other parties. The secure processing, storage, maintenance, and transmission of this critical information are vital to our operations and business strategy. We are, and may increasingly become, subject to various laws and regulations, as well as contractual obligations, relating to data privacy and security in the jurisdictions in which we operate. The regulatory environment related to data privacy and security is increasingly rigorous, with new and constantly changing requirements applicable to our business, and enforcement practices are likely to remain uncertain for the foreseeable future. These laws and regulations may be interpreted and applied differently over time and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and it is possible that they will be interpreted and applied in ways that may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
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We are in the process of evaluating compliance needs, but we do not currently have in place formal policies and procedures related to the storage, collection and processing of information, and have not conducted any internal or external data privacy audits, to ensure our compliance with all applicable data protection laws and regulations. Additionally, we do not currently have policies and procedures in place for assessing our third-party vendors’ compliance with applicable data protection laws and regulations. All of these evolving compliance and operational requirements impose significant costs, such as costs related to organizational changes, implementing additional protection technologies, training employees and engaging consultants, which are likely to increase over time. In addition, such requirements may require us to modify our data processing practices and policies, distract management or divert resources from other initiatives and projects, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Any failure or perceived failure by us or our third-party vendors, collaborators, contractors and consultants to comply with any applicable federal, state or similar foreign laws and regulations relating to data privacy and security, or could result in damage to our reputation, as well as proceedings or litigation by governmental agencies or other third parties, including class action privacy litigation in certain jurisdictions, which would subject us to significant fines, sanctions, awards, penalties or judgments, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property
If we are unable to obtain and maintain sufficient intellectual property protection for our products and technology, or if the scope of the intellectual property protection obtained is not sufficiently broad, our competitors could develop and commercialize products similar or identical to ours, and our ability to successfully commercialize our products and build a strong brand identity may be impaired.
We rely on patent protection as well as trademark, copyright, trade secret and other intellectual property rights protection and contractual restrictions to protect our proprietary products and technologies. Each of these types of measures provides limited protection and may not adequately protect our rights or permit us to gain or keep any competitive advantage. If we fail to obtain, maintain and protect our intellectual property, third parties may be able to compete more effectively against us. In addition, we may incur substantial litigation costs in our attempts to enforce our right in, defend against challenges to, or recover or restrict use of our intellectual property.
To the extent our intellectual property offers inadequate protection, or is found to be invalid or unenforceable, we would be exposed to a greater risk of direct competition. If our intellectual property does not adequately cover competitors’ products, our competitive position could be adversely affected, as could our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Both the patent application process and the process of managing patent and other intellectual property disputes can be time-consuming and expensive.
Our success depends in large part on our ability to obtain and maintain protection of the intellectual property, particularly patents we may own solely or jointly with, or license from, third parties, in the United States and in other countries of interest, with respect to our products and technologies. However, obtaining and enforcing patents is costly, time-consuming and complex. We may not be able to file and prosecute all necessary or desirable patent applications, or maintain, enforce and license any patents that may issue from such patent applications, at a reasonable cost or in a timely manner or in all jurisdictions. It is also possible that we will fail to identify patentable aspects of our research and development output before it is too late to obtain patent protection. Moreover, we may not develop additional proprietary products, methods and technologies that are patentable. We may not have the right to control the preparation, filing and prosecution of patent applications, or to maintain the rights to patents licensed from or to third parties; such patents and applications may not be prosecuted and enforced by such third parties in our best interests.
The patent position of synthetic biology technology companies is highly uncertain, involves complex legal and factual questions, and has been the subject of much litigation in recent years. Changes in either the patent laws or in interpretations of patent laws in the United States or other jurisdictions may diminish the value of our intellectual property. As a result, the issuance, scope, validity, enforceability, and commercial value of our patent rights are highly uncertain. It is possible that none of our pending patent applications will result in issued patents in a timely fashion or at all, and even if patents are granted, they may not provide a basis for intellectual property protection of commercially viable products or services, may not provide us with any competitive advantages. We cannot predict the breadth of claims that may be granted or enforced in our patents or in third-party patents. It is possible that third parties will design around our current or future patents such that we cannot prevent such third parties from using similar technologies and commercializing similar products to compete with us. Some of our owned or licensed
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patents or patent applications may be challenged, and we may not be successful in defending any such challenge. Any successful third-party challenge to our patents could result in the narrowing, unenforceability or invalidity of such patents and increased competition with our business. The outcome of patent litigation or other proceeding can be uncertain, and any attempt by us to enforce our patent rights against others or to challenge the patent rights of others may not be successful, or, regardless of success, may take substantial time and result in substantial cost, and may divert our efforts and attention from other aspects of our business. Any of the foregoing events could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The U.S. law relating to the patentability of certain inventions in the synthetic biology technology industry is uncertain and rapidly changing, which may adversely impact our existing patents or our ability to obtain patents in the future.
Changes in either the patent laws or interpretation of the patent laws in the United States or in other jurisdictions could increase the uncertainties and costs surrounding the prosecution of patent applications and the enforcement or defense of issued patents. The U.S. Congress has recently passed legislation implementing significant changes to U.S. patent law.
Various courts including the U.S. Supreme Court have rendered decisions that impact the patentability and patent eligibility of inventions or discoveries relating to synthetic biology technology, including by narrowing the scope and strength of patent protection in some instances. In light of these developments and depending on actions by the U.S. Congress, the federal courts and the United States Patent and Trademark office (the USPTO), the laws and regulations governing patents could be interpreted and applied, or could change, in unpredictable ways that may have a material adverse effect on our ability to obtain new patents and to defend and enforce our existing patents and patents that we might obtain in the future.
We cannot assure you that our patent portfolio will not be negatively impacted by the current uncertain state of the law, new court rulings or changes in guidance or procedures issued by the USPTO or other patent offices around the world. From time to time, the U.S. Supreme Court, other federal courts, the U.S. Congress or the USPTO may change the standards of patentability, scope and validity of patents in areas including synthetic biology technology and any such changes, or any similar adverse changes in the patent laws and procedures of other jurisdictions, could have a negative impact on our business, financial condition, prospects and results of operations.
We may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights throughout the world.
Filing, prosecuting and defending patents on our products in all countries throughout the world would be prohibitively expensive, and our intellectual property rights in some countries outside the United States can be less extensive than those in the United States.
The laws of some foreign countries do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as the laws of the United States. We may encounter difficulties in protecting and defending such rights in foreign jurisdictions. Consequently, we may not be able to prevent third parties from practicing our inventions in competition with us in some or all countries outside the United States, or from selling or importing products made using our inventions in and into the United States or other jurisdictions. Competitors and other third parties may use our technologies in jurisdictions where we have not obtained patent protection to develop their own products and technologies and may also export infringing products to territories where we do have patent protection but where enforcement may not be as strong as in the United States. Our patents or other intellectual property rights may not be effective or sufficient to prevent such third-party products from competing with our products. In addition, certain countries have compulsory licensing laws under which a patent owner may be compelled to grant licenses to other parties. Furthermore, many countries limit the enforceability of patents against certain kinds of third parties, including government agencies or government contractors. In these countries, the patent owner may have limited remedies, which could materially diminish the value of any patents.
Many companies have encountered significant problems in protecting and defending intellectual property rights in foreign jurisdictions. The legal systems of many other countries do not favor the enforcement of patents and other intellectual property protection, which could make it difficult for us to gain any meaningful competitive advantage from our patents or other intellectual property rights. The legal systems in certain countries may also favor state-sponsored or domestic companies over foreign companies, even though we may have patents and other intellectual property protection in these countries. The absence of harmonized intellectual property protection laws makes it difficult to ensure consistent treatment and enforcement of patent, trade secret, and other intellectual property rights
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on a worldwide basis. As a result, it is possible that we will not be able to enforce our rights against third parties that misappropriate our proprietary technology or otherwise violate our intellectual property rights in any given country around the world.
Proceedings to enforce our patent rights in foreign jurisdictions could result in substantial cost and divert our efforts and attention from other aspects of our business, could put our patents at risk of being invalidated or interpreted narrowly and our patent applications at risk of not issuing, and could provoke third parties to assert claims against us. We may not prevail in any lawsuits that we initiate, or that are initiated against us, and any damages or other remedies awarded to us may not be commercially meaningful. In addition, changes in the law and legal decisions by courts in foreign countries may affect our ability to obtain adequate protection for our products, services and other technologies and the enforcement of intellectual property. Accordingly, our efforts to enforce our intellectual property rights around the world may be inadequate to obtain a significant commercial advantage from the intellectual property that we develop or license. Any of the foregoing events could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
Issued patents covering our products could be found invalid or unenforceable if challenged.
Our owned and licensed patents and patent applications may be subject to validity, enforceability and priority disputes. The issuance of a patent is not conclusive as to its inventorship, scope, validity or enforceability. Some of our patents or patent applications (including licensed patents and patent applications) may be challenged in opposition, interference or derivation, ex parte re-examination, inter partes review, post-grant review or other similar proceedings. Any successful third-party challenge to our patents in this or any other proceeding could result in the unenforceability or invalidity of such patents, which may lead to increased competition to our business, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. In addition, if we initiate legal proceedings against a third party to enforce a patent covering our products, the defendant could counterclaim that the patent we are asserting in the proceeding is invalid or unenforceable. In patent litigation in the United States, defendant counterclaims alleging invalidity or unenforceability are commonplace. There are numerous grounds upon which a third party can assert invalidity or unenforceability of a patent. Third parties may also raise similar claims before administrative bodies in the United States or abroad, outside the context of litigation per se. Such proceedings could result in revocation of or amendment to our patents in such a way that they no longer protect our products. The outcome following legal assertions of invalidity and unenforceability during patent litigation is unpredictable. If a defendant or other third party were to prevail on a legal assertion of invalidity or unenforceability, we would lose at least part, and perhaps all, of the patent protection on certain aspects of our products and technologies, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. In addition, if the breadth or strength of protection provided by our patents and patent applications is threatened, regardless of the outcome, it could dissuade companies from collaborating with us to license intellectual property or to develop or commercialize current or future products.
We may not be aware of all third-party intellectual property rights potentially relevant to our products, technology and services. Publications of discoveries in the scientific literature lag behind the discoveries, and patent applications in the United States and other jurisdictions are typically not published until approximately 18 months after the earliest effective filing date or, in some cases, not until such patent applications issue as patents. We might not have been the first to make the inventions claimed in each of our pending patent applications and we might not have been the first to file patent applications for these inventions. To determine the priority of these inventions, we may have to participate in interference or derivation proceedings in the U.S. or analogous proceedings in non-U.S. jurisdictions, which could result in substantial cost to us and the loss of valuable patent protection. No assurance can be given that other patent applications will not have priority over our patent applications. In addition, changes to the patent laws of the United States allow for various post-grant proceedings that have not been extensively tested, and their outcome is therefore uncertain. Furthermore, if third parties bring these proceedings against our patents, regardless of the merit of such proceedings and regardless of whether we are successful, we could experience significant costs and our management may be distracted. Any of the foregoing events could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
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If we are unable to protect the confidentiality of our trade secrets, the value of our technology could be materially adversely affected and our business could be harmed.
We rely heavily on trade secrets and confidentiality agreements to protect our unpatented know-how, technology and other proprietary information and to maintain our competitive position. However, trade secrets and know-how can be difficult to protect. In particular, we expect that with respect to our technologies, certain know how will over time be disseminated within the industry through independent development, the publication of journal articles describing the methodology, and the movement of personnel from academic to industry scientific positions.
In addition to pursuing patents on our technology, we take steps to protect our intellectual property and proprietary technology by entering into agreements, including confidentiality agreements, non-disclosure agreements and intellectual property assignment agreements, with our employees, consultants, academic institutions, corporate partners and, when needed, our advisers. However, we cannot be certain that such agreements have been entered into with all relevant parties, and we cannot be certain that our trade secrets and other confidential proprietary information will not be disclosed or that competitors or other third parties will not otherwise gain access to our trade secrets or independently develop substantially equivalent information and techniques. For example, any of the foregoing parties may breach the agreements and disclose our proprietary information, including our trade secrets, and we may not be able to obtain adequate remedies for such breaches. Such agreements may not be enforceable or may not provide meaningful protection for our trade secrets or other proprietary information in the event of unauthorized use or disclosure or other breaches of the agreements, and we may not be able to prevent such unauthorized disclosure, which could adversely impact our ability to establish or maintain a competitive advantage in the market, business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
Monitoring unauthorized disclosure is difficult, and we cannot guarantee that the steps we have taken to prevent such disclosure are adequate. If we were to enforce a claim that a third party had wrongfully obtained and was using our trade secrets, it could be expensive and time-consuming, it could distract our personnel, and the outcome would be unpredictable. In addition, courts outside the United States may be less effective in protecting trade secrets.
We also seek to preserve the integrity and confidentiality of our confidential proprietary information by maintaining physical security of our premises and physical and electronic security of our information technology systems, but it is possible that these security measures could be breached. If any of our confidential proprietary information were to be lawfully obtained or independently developed by a competitor or other third party, absent patent protection, we would have no right to prevent such competitor from using that technology or information to compete with us, which could harm our competitive position. Competitors or third parties could purchase our products and attempt to replicate the competitive advantages we derive from our development efforts with their own competitive technologies that fall outside the scope of our intellectual property rights. They might also independently develop our technologies without reference to our trade secrets. If any of our trade secrets were to be disclosed to or independently discovered by a competitor or other third party, it could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
We may be subject to claims challenging the inventorship or ownership of our patents and other intellectual property.
We may be subject to claims that former employees, collaborators or other third parties have an interest in our owned or in-licensed patents, trade secrets or other intellectual property as an inventor or co-inventor. For example, we may have inventorship or ownership disputes arising from conflicting obligations of employees, consultants or others who are involved in developing our products. In addition, counterparties to our consulting, sponsored research, software development and other agreements may assert that they have an ownership interest in intellectual property developed under such arrangements. In particular, certain software development agreements pursuant to which third parties have developed parts of our proprietary software may not include provisions that expressly assign to us ownership of all intellectual property developed for us by such third parties. Furthermore, certain of our sponsored research agreements pursuant to which we provide research services for third parties do not assign to us all intellectual property developed under such agreements. As such, we may not have the right to use all such developed intellectual property under such agreements, we may be required to obtain licenses from third parties and such licenses may not be available on commercially reasonable terms or at all, or they may be non-exclusive. If we are unable to obtain such licenses and such licenses are necessary for the development, manufacture and commercialization of our products and technologies, we may need to cease the development, manufacture and commercialization of our products and technologies. Litigation may be necessary to defend against these and other
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claims challenging inventorship or ownership of our owned or in-licensed patents, trade secrets or other intellectual property. If we fail in defending any such claims, in addition to paying monetary damages, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights. In such an event, we may be required to obtain licenses from third parties and such licenses may not be available on commercially reasonable terms or at all, or they may be non-exclusive. If we are unable to obtain and maintain such licenses, we may need to cease the development, manufacture and commercialization of the relevant products and technologies. Even if we are successful in defending against such claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and be a distraction to management and other employees, and certain customers or partners may defer engaging with us until the particular dispute is resolved. Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
We may not be able to protect and enforce our trademarks and trade names, or build name recognition in our markets of interest, thereby harming our competitive position.
The registered or unregistered trademarks or trade names that we use may be challenged, infringed, circumvented, declared generic, opposed, invalidated, cancelled or determined to be infringing on or dilutive of other marks. As a consequence, we may not be able to protect, register or maintain our rights in these trademarks and trade names.
Third parties may have prior rights in, or have filed, and may in the future file, for registration of, trademarks similar or identical to our trademarks in certain markets of interest that may block our ability to use or to register, or that may limit the scope of protection afforded to, our trademarks and trade names in such markets, thereby impeding our ability to protect, register, maintain or enforce our trademarks and trade names in all markets of interest and to build brand identity and possibly leading to litigation risks and market confusion.
If a third party succeeds in registering or developing common law rights in trademarks similar or identical to our trademarks that predate our rights, and if we are not successful in overcoming any objection from the USPTO or such third party based on or in challenging such rights and defending against challenges to our trademarks, we may not be able to use such trademarks to develop brand recognition of our technologies, products or services.
A third party with prior rights in a similar or identical trademark could challenge our use and registration of our trademarks and trade names by filing a trademark infringement court action or by seeking to block or cancel any registration for our trademarks through an opposition, cancellation, invalidity or other administrative proceeding. For example, we are currently engaged in litigation with Codexis, Inc., which is in the early stages, over the CODEX trademark and trade name. Codexis, Inc. initiated the litigation in the U.S. Federal Court for the Northern District of California asserting claims of federal and common law trademark infringement and unfair competition/false designation of origin regarding our use of the CODEX trademark and trade name based on Codexis, Inc.’s rights in the “CODEX” and “CODEXIS” trademarks, which are federally registered.
The outcome of any such trademark litigation or other proceeding can be uncertain. If we are unable to successfully defend against any such challenge, in addition to not being able to secure or maintain a registration for our trademark, we may be required, including by court order, to cease all further use of such trademark. Moreover, in the case of a trademark infringement action, a court may require us to issue corrective advertising or to take other steps as the court may deem necessary to remove or reduce the risk of consumer confusion, including changing our company name and rebranding our products. This would be expensive and could lead to a loss of brand recognition or customer confusion as a result. The court may also order us to pay damages (actual damages demonstrated at trial and a disgorgement of our profits), including treble damages and attorneys’ fees if the court finds that we willfully infringed such third party trademark. Regardless of success, any such litigation or other proceeding may take substantial time and effort and result in substantial cost, and may divert our efforts and attention from other aspects of our business and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Further, we have and may in the future enter into agreements with owners of such third party trade names or trademarks to avoid potential trademark litigation, which may limit our ability to use, register or enforce our trade names or trademarks in certain fields of business or in certain markets or which may place certain other restrictions on the use of our trademarks and trade names that could limit our ability to build a strong brand identity. If we are unable to establish name recognition based on our trademarks and trade names, then we may not be able to compete effectively, and our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may be adversely affected.
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Patent terms may be inadequate to protect our competitive position on our workflow automation and reagent solutions for an adequate amount of time.
Patents have a limited lifespan. In the United States, if all maintenance fees are timely paid, the basic term of a utility patent is 20 years from its earliest effective non-provisional filing date. In the United States, the basic term of a patent may be lengthened by patent term adjustment, which compensates the patentee for certain administrative delays by the USPTO in examining and granting a patent, and it may be shortened by filing a terminal disclaimer over an earlier expiring patent. Even if a patent covering our products is obtained, once the patent life has expired, we would no longer be able to use the patent to exclude others from making or selling competitive products. If one of our products requires extended development, testing or regulatory review, patent protection for the product might expire soon after or even before the product is commercialized. As a result, our owned and licensed patent portfolio may not provide us with sufficient rights to exclude others from commercializing products similar or identical to ours, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We may become involved in lawsuits to defend against third-party claims of infringement, misappropriation or other violations of intellectual property or to protect or enforce our intellectual property, any of which could be expensive, time consuming and unsuccessful, and may prevent or delay our development and commercialization efforts.
Our commercial success depends in part on our ability and the ability of future collaborators to develop, manufacture, market and sell our product and use our products and technologies without infringing, misappropriating or otherwise violating the intellectual property rights of third parties. There is a substantial amount of litigation involving patents and other intellectual property rights in the synthetic biology technology sector, as well as other proceedings for challenging patents, including interference, derivation, inter partes review, post grant review, reexamination proceedings, and pre- and post-grant oppositions. We may be exposed to, or threatened with, future litigation by third parties having patent or other intellectual property rights alleging that our products, manufacturing methods, software or technologies infringe, misappropriate or otherwise violate their intellectual property rights. Numerous issued patents and pending patent applications that are owned by third parties exist in the fields in which we are developing our products and technologies. It is not always clear to industry participants, including us, the claim scope that may issue from pending patent applications owned by third parties or which patents cover various types of products, technologies or their methods of use or manufacture. Because of the large number of patents issued and patent applications filed in our fields, there may be a risk that third parties, including our competitors, may allege that they have patent rights encompassing our products, technologies or methods and that we are employing their proprietary technology without authorization.
If third parties, including our competitors, believe that our products or technologies infringe, misappropriate or otherwise violate their intellectual property, such third parties may seek to enforce their intellectual property, including patents against us by filing an intellectual property-related lawsuit, including a patent infringement lawsuit, against us. Even if we believe third-party intellectual property claims are without merit, there is no assurance that a court would find in our favor on questions of misappropriation, infringement, validity, enforceability, or priority. If any third parties were to assert patents against us and we are unable to successfully defend against any such assertion, we may be required, including by court order, to cease the development and commercialization of the infringing products or technology and we may be required to redesign such products and technologies so they do not infringe such patents, which may not be possible or may require substantial monetary expenditures and time. We could also be required to pay damages, which could be significant, including treble damages and attorneys’ fees if we are found to have willfully infringed such patents. We could also be required to obtain a license to such patents in order to continue the development and commercialization of the infringing product or technology; however such a license may not be available on commercially reasonable terms or at all, including because certain of these patents are held by or may be licensed to our competitors. Even if such license were available, it may require substantial payments or cross-licenses under our intellectual property rights, and it may only be available on a nonexclusive basis, in which case third parties, including our competitors, could use the same licensed intellectual property to compete with us. Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operation or prospects.
We may choose to challenge, including in connection with any allegation of patent infringement by a third party, the validity or enforceability of any third-party patent that we believe may have applicability in our field, and any other third-party patent that may be asserted against us. Such challenges may be brought either in court or by requesting that the USPTO, European Patent Office (EPO), or other patent offices review the patent claims, such as in an ex-
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parte reexamination, inter partes review, post-grant review proceeding or opposition proceeding. However, there can be no assurance that any such challenge by us will be successful. Even if such proceedings are successful, these proceedings are expensive and may consume our time or other resources, distract our management and technical personnel, and the costs of the proceedings could be substantial.
Third parties, including our competitors, could be infringing, misappropriating or otherwise violating our owned and in-licensed intellectual property rights. Monitoring unauthorized use of our intellectual property is difficult and costly. We may not be able to detect unauthorized use of, or take effective steps to enforce, our intellectual property rights. From time to time, we seek to analyze our competitors’ products and services, and may in the future seek to enforce our rights against potential infringement, misappropriation or violation of our intellectual property. However, the steps we have taken to protect our intellectual property rights may not be effective to enforce our rights as against such infringement, misappropriation or violation of our intellectual property. Any inability to meaningfully enforce our intellectual property rights could harm our ability to compete and reduce demand for our products and technologies.
Litigation proceedings may be necessary for us to enforce our patent and other intellectual property rights. In any such proceedings, a court may refuse to stop the other party from using the technology at issue on the grounds that our owned and in-licensed patents do not cover the technology in question. Further, in such proceedings, the defendant could counterclaim that our intellectual property is invalid or unenforceable and the court may agree, in which case we could lose valuable intellectual property rights, which could allow third parties to commercialize technology or products similar to ours and compete directly with us, without payment to us, or could require us to obtain license rights from the prevailing party in order to be able to manufacture or commercialize our products without infringing such party’s intellectual property rights, and if we unable to obtain such a license, we may be required to cease commercialization of our products and technologies, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. The outcome in any such proceedings is unpredictable.
Regardless of whether we are the defending party or the party seeking to enforce rights in any intellectual property-related proceeding, and regardless of outcome, such proceedings that may be necessary in the future could result in substantial costs and diversion of resources and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Furthermore, because of the substantial amount of discovery required in connection with intellectual property litigation, there is a risk that some of our confidential information could be compromised by disclosure during this type of litigation. In addition, there could be public announcements of the results of hearings, motions, or other interim proceedings or developments, and if securities analysts or investors perceive these results to be negative, it could have a substantial adverse effect on the price of our common stock. Some of our competitors and other third parties may be able to sustain the costs of such litigation or proceedings more effectively than we can because of their greater financial resources and more mature and developed intellectual property portfolios. We may not have sufficient financial or other resources to adequately conduct these types of litigation or proceedings. Any of the foregoing, or any uncertainties resulting from the initiation and continuation of any litigation, could have a material adverse effect on our ability to raise the funds necessary to continue our operations or could otherwise have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Claims that we have misappropriated the confidential information or trade secrets of third parties could have a similar adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
Obtaining and maintaining our patent protection depends on compliance with various required procedures, document submissions, fee payments and other requirements imposed by governmental patent agencies, and our patent protection could be reduced or eliminated for non-compliance with these requirements.
Various official fees, including renewal fees, must be paid to the respective patent authorities to apply for, prosecute, and maintain patents and patent applications. The USPTO and other patent authorities also variously require compliance with a number of procedural and substantive provisions under local law and practice during and sometimes after the patent application process. In many cases, an inadvertent lapse in paying a fee or fulfilling another requirement can be cured by payment of a late fee or by other means in accordance with the applicable rules. However, there are situations in which non-compliance can result in abandonment or lapse of the patent or patent application, resulting in partial or complete loss of patent rights in the relevant jurisdiction. In such an event, our competitors may be able to enter the market without infringing our patents and this circumstance would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
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We may be subject to claims that our employees, consultants or independent contractors have wrongfully used or disclosed confidential information of third parties or that our employees have wrongfully used or disclosed alleged trade secrets of their former employers.
We have employed and expect to employ individuals who were previously employed at universities or at other companies, including our competitors or potential competitors. Although we try to ensure that our employees, consultants, advisors and independent contractors do not use the proprietary information or know-how of others in their work for us, we may be subject to claims that our employees, advisors, consultants or independent contractors have inadvertently or otherwise used or disclosed intellectual property, including trade secrets or other proprietary information, of their former employers or other third parties, or to claims that we have improperly used or obtained such trade secrets. Litigation may be necessary to defend against these claims. If we fail in defending such claims, in addition to paying monetary damages, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights and face increased competition to our business. Any such litigation or the threat thereof may adversely affect our ability to hire employees or contract with advisors, contractors and consultants. A loss of key research personnel work product could hamper or prevent our ability to commercialize potential products, which could harm our business. Even if we are successful in defending against these claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and be a distraction to management. This type of litigation or proceeding could substantially increase our operating losses and reduce our resources available for development activities. Some of our competitors may be able to sustain the costs of this type of litigation or proceedings more effectively than we can because of their substantially greater financial resources.
In addition, while it is our policy to require our employees and contractors who may be involved in the conception or development of intellectual property to execute agreements assigning such intellectual property to us, we may be unsuccessful in executing such an agreement with each party who, in fact, conceives or develops intellectual property that we regard as our own. The assignment of intellectual property rights may not be self-executing, or the assignment agreements may be breached, and we may be forced to bring claims against third parties, or defend claims that they may bring against us, to determine the ownership of what we regard as our intellectual property. Furthermore, individuals executing agreements with us may have pre-existing or competing obligations to a third party, such as an academic institution, and thus an agreement with us may be disputed or ineffective in perfecting ownership of inventions developed by that individual, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
Furthermore, we may in the future be subject to claims by former employees, consultants or other third parties asserting an ownership right in our owned or licensed patents or patent applications. An adverse determination in any such proceeding may result in loss of exclusivity or freedom to operate or in patent claims being narrowed, invalidated or held unenforceable, in whole or in part, which could limit our ability to stop others from using or commercializing similar technology, without payment to us, or could limit the duration of the overall patent protection covering our technology and products. Such challenges may also result in our inability to develop, manufacture or commercialize our products without infringing third-party patent rights. Any of the foregoing could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
If we cannot license rights to use technologies on reasonable terms, we may not be able to commercialize new products in the future.
We may identify third-party technology that we may need to license or acquire in order to develop or commercialize our products or technologies, including our workflow automation and reagent solutions. However, we may be unable to secure such licenses or acquisitions. The licensing or acquisition of third-party intellectual property rights is a competitive area, and several more established companies may pursue strategies to license or acquire third-party intellectual property rights that we may consider attractive or necessary. These established companies may have a competitive advantage over us due to their size, capital resources and greater commercialization capabilities. In addition, companies that perceive us to be a competitor may be unwilling to assign or license rights to us.
We also may be unable to license or acquire third-party intellectual property rights on terms that would allow us to make an appropriate return on our investment or at all. In return for the use of a third party’s technology, we may agree to pay the licensor royalties based on sales of our products or services. Royalties are a component of cost of products or technologies and affect the margins on our products. We may also need to negotiate licenses to patents or patent applications before or after introducing a commercial product. We may not be able to obtain necessary licenses to patents or patent applications, and our business may suffer if we are unable to enter into the necessary
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licenses on acceptable terms or at all, if any necessary licenses are subsequently terminated, if the licensor fails to abide by the terms of the license or fails to prevent infringement by third parties, or if the licensed intellectual property rights are found to be invalid or unenforceable.
Intellectual property rights do not necessarily address all potential threats.
The degree of future protection afforded by our intellectual property rights is uncertain because intellectual property rights have limitations, and may not adequately protect our business or permit us to maintain our competitive advantage. For example:
others may be able to make products that are similar to products and technologies we may develop or utilize similar technology that are not covered by the claims of the patents that we own or license now or in the future;
we might not have been the first to make the inventions covered by the issued patent or pending patent application that we license or may own in the future;
we might not have been the first to file patent applications covering certain of our or their inventions;
others may independently develop similar or alternative technologies or duplicate any of our technologies without infringing, misappropriating or otherwise violating our owned or licensed intellectual property rights;
it is possible that our pending licensed patent applications or those that we may own in the future will not lead to issued patents;
issued patents that we hold rights to may be held invalid or unenforceable as a result of legal challenges by our competitors;
our competitors might conduct research and development activities in countries where we do not have patent rights and then use the information learned from such activities to develop competitive products for sale in our major commercial markets;
we may not develop additional proprietary technologies that are patentable;
the patents of others may harm our business; and
we may choose not to file a patent for certain trade secrets or know-how, and a third party may subsequently file a patent covering such intellectual property.
Should any of these events occur, they could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
Risks Related to this Offering and Ownership of Our Common Stock
Prior to this offering, there has been no public market for shares of our common stock and an active trading market for our common stock may never develop or be sustained.
Prior to this offering, there has been no public market for shares of our common stock. We intend to apply to list our common stock on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “DNAY.” We cannot assure you that an active trading market for our common stock will develop on that exchange or elsewhere. If an active trading market does not develop, or develops but is not maintained, you may have difficulty selling any of our common stock that you purchase due to the limited public float. Accordingly, we cannot assure you of your ability to sell your shares of common stock when desired or the prices that you may obtain for your shares.
The market price of our common stock may be volatile, which could result in substantial losses for investors purchasing shares in this offering.
The initial public offering price for our common stock will be determined through negotiations with the underwriters. This initial public offering price may differ from the market price of our common stock after the offering. As a result, you may not be able to sell your common stock at or above the initial public offering price. Some of the factors that may cause the market price of our common stock to fluctuate include, but are not limited to:
actual or anticipated fluctuations in our operating results, including fluctuations in our quarterly and annual results;
operating expenses being more than anticipated;
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supply chain and production disruption due to our moving primary manufacturing facilities to a new location;
the failure or discontinuation of any of our product development and research programs;
changes in the structure or funding of research at academic and research laboratories and institutions, including changes that would affect their ability to purchase our products;
the success of existing or new competitive businesses or technologies;
announcements about new research programs or products of our competitors;
developments or disputes concerning patent applications, issued patents or other proprietary rights;
the recruitment or departure of key personnel;
litigation and governmental investigations involving us, our industry or both;
regulatory or legal developments in the United States and other countries;
variations in market conditions in the synthetic biology technology sector;
investor perceptions of us or our industry;
changes in estimates or recommendations by securities analysts, if any, that cover our common stock or companies that are perceived to be similar to us;
whether our financial results meet the expectations of securities analysts or investors;
the level of expenses related to any of our research and development programs or products;
actual or anticipated changes in our estimates as to our financial results or development timelines;
variations in our financial results or those of companies that are perceived to be similar to us;
the announcement or expectation of additional financing efforts;
sales of our common stock by us or sales of our common stock by our insiders or other stockholders;
the expiration of market standoff or lock-up agreements;
general economic, industry and market conditions; and
the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters or major catastrophic events.
Recently, stock markets in general, and the market for life sciences technology companies in particular, have experienced significant price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to changes in the operating performance of the companies whose stock is experiencing those price and volume fluctuations, particularly in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Broad market and industry factors may seriously affect the market price of our common stock, regardless of our actual operating performance. These fluctuations may be even more pronounced in the trading market for our stock shortly following this offering. Following periods of such volatility in the market price of a company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been brought against that company. Because of the potential volatility of our stock price, we may become the target of securities litigation in the future. Securities litigation could result in substantial costs and divert management’s attention and resources from our business.
If securities analysts do not publish research or reports about our business or if they publish negative evaluations of our common stock, the price of our common stock could decline.
The trading market for our common stock will rely in part on the research and reports that industry or securities analysts publish about us or our business. We do not currently have and may never obtain research coverage by industry or securities analysts. If no or few analysts commence coverage of us, the trading price of our common stock could decrease. Even if we do obtain analyst coverage, if one or more of the analysts covering our business downgrade their evaluations of our common stock, the price of our common stock could decline. If one or more of these analysts cease to cover our common stock, we could lose visibility in the market for our common stock, which in turn could cause the price of our common stock to decline.
Our directors, officers and principal stockholders have significant voting power and may take actions that may not be in the best interests of our other stockholders.
As of December 31, 2020, our directors, officers and stockholders holding 5% or more of our outstanding common stock and their affiliates beneficially owned over 99% of our outstanding common stock in the aggregate, assuming the exercise of all options and warrants held by such persons and without giving effect to the purchase of shares by any such persons in this offering. As a result, these stockholders, if they act together, will be able to exert significant
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influence over the management and affairs of our company and most matters requiring stockholder approval, including the election of directors and approval of significant corporate transactions. This concentration of ownership may have the effect of delaying or preventing a change in control, might adversely affect the market price of our common stock and may not be in the best interests of our other stockholders.
Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock by our existing stockholders following this offering could cause the price of our common stock to decline.
Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public market could occur at any time following the expiration of the market standoff and lock-up agreements or the early release of these agreements or the perception in the market that the holders of a large number of shares of common stock intend to sell shares and could reduce the market price of our common stock. After giving effect to (i) the filing and effectiveness of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, (ii) the automatic conversion of all shares of our convertible preferred stock outstanding as of December 31, 2020 into                   shares of common stock, (iii) the automatic exercise of all outstanding warrants issued to SGI as of December 31, 2020 into               shares of our common stock and (iv) the issuance and sale of                   shares of common stock by us in this offering, we will have              shares of common stock outstanding. Of these shares, the                   shares of common stock we are selling in this offering may be resold in the public market immediately, unless purchased by our affiliates. The remaining                   shares of common stock, or         % of our outstanding shares of common stock after this offering are currently prohibited or otherwise restricted from being sold in the public market under securities laws, market standoff agreements entered into by our stockholders with us, or lock-up agreements entered into by our stockholders with the underwriters; however, subject to applicable securities law restrictions and excluding shares of common stock issued pursuant to the early exercise of unvested stock options that will remain unvested, the shares of our common stock outstanding after this offering will be able to be sold in the public market beginning on                    , 2021. The representatives may, in their sole discretion, release all or some portion of the shares subject to lock-up agreements at any time and for any reason. Shares issued upon the exercise of stock options outstanding under our equity incentive plans or pursuant to future awards granted under those plans will become available for sale in the public market to the extent permitted by the provisions of applicable vesting schedules, any applicable market standoff and lock-up agreements, and Rule 144 and Rule 701 under the Securities Act.
Moreover, after this offering, holders of an aggregate of                   shares of our common stock will have rights, subject to conditions, to require us to file registration statements with the SEC covering their shares or to include their shares in registration statements that we may file for ourselves or other stockholders as described under “Description of Capital Stock—Registration Rights.” We also plan to register all shares of common stock that we may issue under our equity compensation and employee stock purchase plans. Once we register these shares, they can be freely sold in the public market upon issuance and, if applicable, vesting, subject to volume limitations applicable to affiliates and the lock-up agreements described in the section titled “Underwriting” in this prospectus. Sales of common stock in the public market as restrictions end or pursuant to registration rights may make it more difficult for us to sell equity securities in the future at a time and at a price that we deem appropriate. These sales also could cause the trading price of our common stock to fall and make it more difficult for you to sell shares of our common stock. See the section titled “Shares Eligible for Future Sale” for more information regarding shares of common stock that may be sold in the public market after this offering.
We have broad discretion in the use of the net proceeds from this offering and may not use them effectively.
We cannot specify with certainty the particular uses of the net proceeds we will receive from this offering. Our management will have broad discretion in the application of the net proceeds, including for any of the purposes described in the section titled “Use of Proceeds” in this prospectus. Our management may spend a portion or all of the net proceeds from this offering in ways that our stockholders may not desire or that may not yield a favorable return. The failure by our management to apply these funds effectively could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Pending their use, we may invest the net proceeds from this offering in a manner that does not produce income or that loses value.
We do not expect to pay any dividends for the foreseeable future. Investors in this offering may never obtain a return on their investment.
You should not rely on an investment in our common stock to provide dividend income. We do not anticipate that we will pay any dividends to holders of our common stock in the foreseeable future. Instead, we plan to retain any
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earnings to maintain and expand our existing operations, fund our research and development programs and continue to invest in our commercial infrastructure. In addition, our current credit facility with SVB contains, and any future credit facility or financing we obtain may contain, terms prohibiting or limiting the amount of dividends that may be declared or paid on our common stock. Accordingly, investors must rely on sales of their common stock after price appreciation, which may never occur, as the only way to realize any return on their investment. As a result, investors seeking cash dividends should not purchase our common stock.
Our amended and restated bylaws designate a state or federal court located within the State of Delaware as the exclusive forum for substantially all disputes between us and our stockholders, and also provide that the federal district courts will be the exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act, each of which could limit our stockholders’ ability to choose the judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers, stockholders, or employees.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation that will become effective upon the closing of this offering specifies that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the sole and exclusive forum for (a) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (b) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our current or former directors, stockholders, officers, or other employees to us or our stockholders, (c) any action or proceeding asserting a claim arising pursuant to, or seeking to enforce any right, obligation or remedy under, any provision of the Delaware General Corporation Law, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, or our amended and restated bylaws, (d) any action or proceeding as to which the Delaware General Corporation Law confers jurisdiction on the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware, or (e) any action or proceeding asserting a claim that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine shall be the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware (or, if the Court of Chancery does not have jurisdiction, another state court in Delaware or, if no state court in Delaware has jurisdiction, the federal district court for the District of Delaware) and any appellate court therefrom, in all cases subject to the court having jurisdiction over the claims at issue and the indispensable parties; provided that the exclusive forum provision will not apply to suits brought to enforce any liability or duty created by the Exchange Act.
Section 22 of the Securities Act creates concurrent jurisdiction for federal and state courts over all such Securities Act actions. Accordingly, both state and federal courts have jurisdiction to entertain such claims. To prevent having to litigate claims in multiple jurisdictions and the threat of inconsistent or contrary rulings by different courts, among other considerations, our amended and restated bylaws also provide that the federal district courts of the United States of America will be the exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act.
Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring or holding or owning (or continuing to hold or own) any interest in any of our securities shall be deemed to have notice of and consented to the foregoing bylaw provisions. Although we believe these exclusive forum provisions benefit us by providing increased consistency in the application of Delaware law and federal securities laws in the types of lawsuits to which each applies, the exclusive forum provisions may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum of its choosing for disputes with us or any of our directors, officers, stockholders, or other employees, which may discourage lawsuits with respect to such claims against us and our current and former directors, officers, stockholders, or other employees. Our stockholders will not be deemed to have waived our compliance with the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder as a result of our exclusive forum provisions. Further, in the event a court finds either exclusive forum provision contained in our amended and restated bylaws to be unenforceable or inapplicable in an action, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such action in other jurisdictions, which could harm our results of operations.
Delaware law and provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws that will be in effect prior to the closing of this offering might discourage, delay or prevent a change in control of our company or changes in our management and, therefore, depress the trading price of our common stock.
Our status as a Delaware corporation and the anti-takeover provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law may discourage, delay or prevent a change in control by prohibiting us from engaging in a business combination with an interested stockholder for a period of three years after the person becomes an interested stockholder, even if a change of control would be beneficial to our existing stockholders. In addition, our restated certificate of
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incorporation and restated bylaws contain provisions that may make the acquisition of our company more difficult, including the following:
our board of directors will be classified into three classes of directors with staggered three-year terms and directors will only be able to be removed from office for cause by the affirmative vote of holders of at least two-thirds of the voting power of our then outstanding capital stock;
certain amendments to our amended and restated certificate of incorporation will require the approval of stockholders holding two-thirds of the voting power of our then outstanding capital stock;
any stockholder-proposed amendment to our amended and restated bylaws will require the approval of stockholders holding two-thirds of the voting power of our then outstanding capital stock;
our stockholders will only be able to take action at a meeting of stockholders and will not be able to take action by written consent for any matter;
our stockholders will be able to act by written consent only if the action is first recommended or approved by the board of directors;
vacancies on our board of directors will be able to be filled only by our board of directors and not by stockholders;
only the chair of the board of directors, chief executive officer, president or a majority of the board of directors are authorized to call a special meeting of stockholders;
certain litigation against us can only be brought in Delaware;
our restated certificate of incorporation authorizes undesignated preferred stock, the terms of which may be established and shares of which may be issued, without the approval of the holders of our capital stock; and
advance notice procedures apply for stockholders to nominate candidates for election as directors or to bring matters before an annual meeting of stockholders.
These anti-takeover defenses could discourage, delay, or prevent a transaction involving a change in control of our company. These provisions could also discourage proxy contests and make it more difficult for stockholders to elect directors of their choosing and to cause us to take other corporate actions they desire, any of which, under certain circumstances, could limit the opportunity for our stockholders to receive a premium for their shares of our capital stock and could also affect the price that some investors are willing to pay for our common stock.
Our ability to use net operating losses to offset future taxable income may be subject to certain limitations.
As of December 31, 2020, we had U.S. federal and state net operating loss carryforwards (NOLs) of $28.4 million and $15.9 million, respectively. The federal NOLs of $1.3 million, generated before January 1, 2018, will begin to expire in 2034, but can be used to offset up to 100% of taxable income. Amounts generated after December 31, 2017 will carryforward indefinitely, but will be subject to a 80% taxable income limitation beginning in tax years after December 31, 2020, as provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). State NOLs, if not utilized, will begin to expire in 2036. We may use these NOLs to offset against taxable income for U.S. federal and state income tax purposes. Additionally, Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the Code), may limit the NOLs we may use in any year for U.S. federal income tax purposes in the event of certain changes in ownership of our company. A Section 382 “ownership change” generally occurs if one or more stockholders or groups of stockholders who own at least 5% of a company’s stock increase their ownership by more than 50 percentage points over their lowest ownership percentage within a rolling three-year period. Similar rules may apply under state tax laws. We have not conducted a 382 study to determine whether the use of our NOLs is impaired. We may have previously undergone an “ownership change.” In addition, this offering or future issuances or sales of our stock, including certain transactions involving our stock that are outside of our control, could result in future “ownership changes.” “Ownership changes” that have occurred in the past or that may occur in the future, including in connection with this offering could result in the imposition of an annual limit on the amount of pre-ownership change NOLs and other tax attributes we can use to reduce our taxable income, potentially increasing and accelerating our liability for income taxes, and also potentially causing those tax attributes to expire unused. States may impose other limitations on the use of our NOLs. Any limitation on using NOLs could, depending on the extent of such limitation and the NOLs previously used, result in our retaining less cash after payment of U.S. federal and state income taxes during any year in which we have taxable income, rather than losses, than we would be entitled to retain if such NOLs were available as an offset against such income for U.S. federal and state income tax reporting purposes, which could adversely impact our operating results.
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We are an “emerging growth company” and a “smaller reporting company” and the reduced disclosure requirements applicable to emerging growth companies and smaller reporting companies may make our common stock less attractive to investors.
We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the JOBS Act. For so long as we remain an emerging growth company, we are permitted by SEC rules and plan to rely on exemptions from certain disclosure requirements that are applicable to other SEC registered public companies that are not emerging growth companies. These exemptions include not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes Oxley Act, not being required to comply with any requirement that may be adopted by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board regarding mandatory audit firm rotation or a supplement to the auditor’s report providing additional information about the audit and the financial statements, reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation and exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved. As a result, the information we provide stockholders will be different than the information that is available with respect to other public companies. In this prospectus, we have not included all of the executive compensation related information that would be required if we were not an emerging growth company. To the extent that we continue to qualify as a “smaller reporting company,” as such term is defined in Rule 12b-2 under the Exchange Act, after we cease to qualify as an emerging growth company, we will continue to be permitted to make certain reduced disclosures in our periodic reports and other documents that we file with the SEC. We cannot predict whether investors will find our common stock less attractive if we rely on these exemptions. If some investors find our common stock less attractive as a result, there may be a less active trading market for our common stock and our stock price may be more volatile.
In addition, the JOBS Act provides that an emerging growth company can take advantage of an extended transition period for complying with new or revised accounting standards. This allows an emerging growth company to delay the adoption of certain accounting standards until those standards would otherwise apply to private companies. We have elected to avail ourselves of this exemption from new or revised accounting standards and, therefore, we will not be subject to the same new or revised accounting standards as other public companies that are not emerging growth companies. As a result, our financial statements may not be comparable to companies that comply with new or revised accounting pronouncements as of public company effective dates.
We will incur significant increased costs and management resources as a result of operating as a public company, and our management will be required to devote substantial time to new compliance initiatives.
As a public company, we will incur significant legal, accounting, compliance and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company and these expenses may increase even more after we are no longer an “emerging growth company.” Our management and other personnel will need to devote a substantial amount of time and incur significant expense in connection with compliance initiatives. For example, in anticipation of becoming a public company, we will need to adopt additional internal controls and disclosure controls and procedures, retain a transfer agent and adopt an insider trading policy. As a public company, we will bear all of the internal and external costs of preparing and distributing periodic public reports in compliance with our obligations under the securities laws.
In addition, regulations and standards relating to corporate governance and public disclosure, including the Sarbanes Oxley Act, and the related rules and regulations implemented by the SEC and Nasdaq, have increased legal and financial compliance costs and will make some compliance activities more time-consuming. We intend to invest resources to comply with evolving laws, regulations and standards, and this investment will result in increased general and administrative expenses and may divert management’s time and attention from our other business activities. If our efforts to comply with new laws, regulations and standards differ from the activities intended by regulatory or governing bodies due to ambiguities related to practice, regulatory authorities may initiate legal proceedings against us, and our business may be harmed. In connection with this offering, we intend to increase our directors’ and officers’ insurance coverage, which will increase our insurance cost. In the future, it may be more expensive or more difficult for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to accept reduced coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain coverage. These factors could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified members of our board of directors, particularly to serve on our audit committee and compensation committee, and qualified executive officers.
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If you purchase our common stock in this offering, you will incur immediate and substantial dilution as a result of this offering.
If you purchase our common stock in this offering, you will incur immediate and substantial dilution of $      per share, representing the difference between the assumed initial public offering price of $        per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us, and our pro forma net tangible book value per share after giving effect to (i) the filing and effectiveness of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, (ii) the automatic conversion of all shares of our convertible preferred stock outstanding as of December 31, 2020 into               shares of common stock, (iii) the automatic exercise of all outstanding warrants issued to SGI as of December 31, 2020 into               shares of our common stock and (iv) the issuance and sale of                shares of common stock by us in this offering. As of December 31, 2020, there were                shares of our common stock subject to outstanding stock options with a weighted-average exercise price of $               per share. To the extent that these outstanding stock options and warrants are ultimately exercised or the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares of our common stock, you will incur further dilution. See the section titled “Dilution” for more information.
We may be subject to securities litigation, which is expensive and could divert management attention.
The market price of our common stock may be volatile. The stock market in general, and the Nasdaq Stock Market and life sciences technology companies in particular, have experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of these companies. In the past, companies that have experienced volatility in the market price of their stock have been subject to securities class action litigation. We may be the target of this type of litigation in the future. Securities litigation against us could result in substantial costs and divert our management’s attention from other business concerns, which could seriously harm our business.
Our actual operating results may differ significantly from any guidance that we provide.
From time to time, we may provide guidance in our quarterly earnings conference calls, quarterly earnings releases, or otherwise, regarding our future performance that represents our management’s estimates as of the date of release. This guidance, which would include forward-looking statements, would be based on projections prepared by our management. Neither our registered public accountants nor any other independent expert or outside party would compile or examine the projections. Accordingly, no such person would express any opinion or any other form of assurance with respect to the projections. Projections are based upon a number of assumptions and estimates that, while presented with numerical specificity, are inherently subject to significant business, economic, and competitive uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are beyond our control and are based upon specific assumptions with respect to future business decisions, some of which will change. The principal reason that we would release guidance is to provide a basis for our management to discuss our business outlook with analysts and investors. We do not accept any responsibility for any projections or reports published by any such third parties. Guidance is necessarily speculative in nature, and it can be expected that some or all of the assumptions underlying any guidance furnished by us will not materialize or will vary significantly from actual results. Accordingly, our guidance would be only an estimate of what management believes is realizable as of the date of release. Actual results may vary from our guidance and the variations may be material.
If we fail to maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results in a timely manner or prevent fraud, which would adversely affect investor confidence in our company and harm our business.
Effective internal controls over financial reporting are necessary for us to provide reliable financial reports and, together with adequate disclosure controls and procedures, are designed to prevent fraud. Any failure to implement required new or improved controls, or difficulties encountered in their implementation, could cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations in a timely manner, or at all. In addition, any testing by us conducted in connection with Section 404(a) of the Sarbanes Oxley Act or any subsequent testing by our independent registered public accounting firm in connection with Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes Oxley Act, may reveal deficiencies in our internal controls over financial reporting that are deemed to be significant deficiencies or material weaknesses or that may require prospective or retroactive changes to our financial statements or identify other areas for further attention or
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improvement. Ineffective internal controls could also cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information, which could have a negative effect on the trading price of our common stock.
In addition, as of December 31, 2020, we identified a significant deficiency in our internal controls over financial reporting that exists as a result of the technical categorization of transactions with a supplier. A significant deficiency is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal controls over financial reporting that is less severe than a material weakness, yet important enough to merit attention by those responsible for oversight of the company's financial reporting. We undertook steps to remedy this significant deficiency by our engagement of technical accounting consultants to assist management in determining the accounting treatment of unusual transactions and in evaluating new accounting positions and remediated this significant deficiency prior to the issuance date of our 2020 consolidated financial statements.
We will be required to disclose material changes made in our internal controls over financing reporting and procedures on a quarterly basis and our management will be required to assess the effectiveness of these controls annually. Beginning with our second Annual Report on Form 10-K after we become a public company, we will be required to make a formal assessment of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting, and once we cease to be an emerging growth company, we will be required to include an attestation report on internal control over financial reporting issued by our independent registered public accounting firm. However, for as long as we are an “emerging growth company” under the JOBS Act, our independent registered public accounting firm will not be required to attest to the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting pursuant to Section 404(b).
To achieve compliance with Section 404(a) within the prescribed period, we will be engaging in a process to document and evaluate our internal control over financial reporting, which is both costly and challenging. In this regard, we will need to continue to dedicate internal resources, potentially engage outside consultants and adopt a plan to assess and document the adequacy of our internal control over financial reporting, continue steps to improve control processes as appropriate, validate through testing that controls are designed and operating effectively and implement a continuous reporting and improvement process for internal control over financial reporting.
We could be an “emerging growth company” for up to five years. An independent assessment of the effectiveness of our internal controls could detect problems that our management’s assessment might not identify. Undetected material weaknesses in our internal controls could lead to financial statement restatements and require us to incur the expense of remediation.
If our estimates or judgments relating to our critical accounting policies are based on assumptions that change or prove to be incorrect, our results of operation could fall below our publicly announced guidance or the expectations of securities analysts and investors, resulting in a decline in the market price of our common stock.
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in our financial statements and accompanying notes. We base our estimates on historical experience and estimates and on various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets, liabilities, equity, revenue and expenses that are not readily apparent from other sources. For example, in connection with the implementation of the new revenue accounting standard related to product sales, management makes judgments and assumptions based on our interpretation of the new standard. The new revenue standard is principle-based and interpretation of those principles may vary from company to company based on their unique circumstances. It is possible that interpretation, industry practice and guidance may evolve as we apply the new standard. If our assumptions underlying our estimates and judgements relating to our critical accounting policies change or if actual circumstances differ from our assumptions, estimates or judgements, our operating results may be adversely affected and could fall below our publicly announced guidance or the expectations of securities analysts and investors, resulting in a decline in the market price of our common stock.
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SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This prospectus contains forward-looking statements that are based on our management’s beliefs and assumptions and on information currently available to our management. All statements other than statements of historical facts contained in this prospectus, including statements regarding our future results of operations and financial position, business strategy, development plans, expected research and development costs, regulatory strategy, timing, and likelihood of success, as well as plans and objectives of management for future operations, are forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terms such as “aim,” “anticipate,” “assume,” “believe,” “contemplate,” “continue,” “could,” “due,” “estimate,” “expect,” “goal” “intend,” “may,” “objective” “plan,” “predict,” “potential,” “project,” “seek,” “should,” “target,” “will,” “would,” and other similar expressions that are predictions of or indicate future events and future trends, or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. Forward-looking statements contained in this prospectus include, but are not limited to, statements about:
estimates of the synthetic biology market, market growth, and new market expansion;
our future revenue, expenses, capital requirements and our needs for additional financing;
our expectations regarding the rate and degree of market acceptance of our BioXp system, BioXp kits and benchtop reagents;
the ability of our products to facilitate the design-build-test paradigm of synthetic biology;
the size and growth of the synthetic biology market and competitive companies and technologies and our industry;
our ability to manage and grow our business;
our ability to develop and commercialize new products;
our ability to establish and maintain intellectual property protection for our products or avoid or defend claims of infringement;
the performance of third-party manufacturers and suppliers and our ability to qualify second-source suppliers;
the potential effects of government regulation;
our ability to hire and retain key personnel and to manage our future growth effectively;
our ability to obtain additional financing in this or future offerings;
the volatility of the trading price of our common stock;
the impact of local, regional, and national and international economic conditions and events;
the impact of COVID-19 on our business;
our expectations about market trends;
our anticipated use of our existing resources and the net proceeds from this offering; and
other risks and uncertainties, including those listed in the section titled “Risk Factors.”
We have based these forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations and projections about our business, the industry in which we operate and financial trends that we believe may affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects, and these forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance or development. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this prospectus and are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions described in the section titled “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this prospectus. Because forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, some of which cannot be predicted or quantified, you should not rely on these forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. The events and circumstances reflected in our forward-looking statements may not be achieved or occur and actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Except as required by applicable law, we do not plan to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements contained herein until after we distribute this prospectus, whether as a result of any new information, future events or otherwise.
In addition, statements that “we believe” and similar statements reflect our beliefs and opinions on the relevant subject. These statements are based upon information available to us as of the date of this prospectus, and while we believe such information forms a reasonable basis for such statements, such information may be limited or
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incomplete, and our statements should not be read to indicate that we have conducted an exhaustive inquiry into, or review of, all potentially available relevant information. These statements are inherently uncertain and you are cautioned not to unduly rely upon these statements.
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MARKET, INDUSTRY AND OTHER DATA
This prospectus contains estimates, projections and other information concerning our industry, our business and the markets for our current and future products, including data regarding the estimated size of such markets and the incidence of certain medical conditions. We obtained the industry, market and similar data set forth in this prospectus from our internal estimates and research, including surveys and studies we have sponsored or conducted, and from academic and industry research, publications, surveys and studies conducted by third parties, including governmental agencies. In some cases, we do not expressly refer to the sources from which this data is derived. Information that is based on estimates, forecasts, projections, market research or similar methodologies is inherently subject to uncertainties and actual events or circumstances may differ materially from events and circumstances that are assumed in this information. While we believe that the data we use from third parties are reliable, we have not separately verified this data. Any industry forecasts are based on data (including third-party data), models, and experience of various professionals and are based on various assumptions, all of which are subject to change without notice. Further, while we believe our internal research is reliable, such research has not been verified by any third party. While we are not aware of any misstatements regarding the market data presented herein, industry forecasts and projections involve risks and uncertainties and are subject to change based on various factors, including those discussed in the section titled “Risk Factors.”
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USE OF PROCEEDS
We estimate that the net proceeds to us from the sale of the shares of our common stock in this offering will be approximately $     million, or approximately $     million if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares in full, based upon the assumed initial public offering price of $     per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.
Each $1.00 increase or decrease in the assumed initial public offering price of $     per share would increase or decrease, as applicable, the net proceeds to us from this offering by approximately $     million, assuming the number of shares offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same, and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. Similarly, each increase or decrease of 1.0 million shares in the number of shares offered by us would increase or decrease, as applicable, the net proceeds to us from this offering by approximately $     million, assuming that the assumed initial public offering price remains the same, and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.
We currently expect to use our net proceeds from this offering, together with our existing cash and available borrowings, for general corporate purposes, including working capital, and funding our research and development and sales and marketing activities. We may use a portion of the net proceeds to repay debt or expand our current business through strategic acquisitions or in-licenses of complimentary companies or technologies; however, we currently do not have any agreements or commitments to complete any such transactions and are not involved in negotiations regarding such transactions.
Based on our current operating plan, we believe that the net proceeds from this offering, together with our existing cash, available borrowings and short-term investments as of the date of this prospectus, will be sufficient to fund our operating expenses and capital expenditures for at least the next twelve months.
Our expected use of the net proceeds from this offering represents our intentions based upon our current plans and business conditions. We cannot predict with certainty all of the particular uses for the net proceeds to be received upon the completion of this offering or the amounts that we will actually spend on the uses set forth above and we may require additional funds in order to fully accomplish the specified uses listed above. As a result, our management will have broad discretion over the use of the net proceeds from this offering.
The amounts and timing of our actual expenditures will depend upon numerous factors including cash flows from operations, the extent and success of our commercial expansion, the extent and results of our research and development efforts, the anticipated growth of our business and any unforeseen cash needs.
Pending their uses, we plan to invest the net proceeds of this offering in short-term, interest-bearing, investment-grade instruments, including certificates of deposit or direct or guaranteed obligations of the U.S. government. We cannot predict whether the proceeds invested will yield a favorable return.
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DIVIDEND POLICY
We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our capital stock. We currently intend to retain any future earnings and do not expect to pay any dividends in the foreseeable future. In addition, the terms of our Loan and Security Agreement with Silicon Valley Bank restrict our ability to pay dividends. Any future determination to declare cash dividends will be made at the discretion of our board of directors, subject to applicable laws, and will depend on a number of factors, including our financial condition, results of operations, capital requirements, contractual restrictions, general business conditions and other factors that our board of directors may deem relevant, including restrictions in our current and future debt instruments, our future earnings, capital requirements, financial condition, prospects and applicable Delaware law, which provides that dividends are only payable out of surplus or current net profits.
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CAPITALIZATION
The following table sets forth our cash and capitalization as of December 31, 2020:
on an actual basis;
on a pro forma basis, giving effect to (i) the automatic conversion of all outstanding shares of our convertible preferred stock into an aggregate of               shares of common stock immediately prior to the completion of this offering, (ii) the automatic exercise of all outstanding warrants issued to SGI into an aggregate of               shares of our common stock immediately prior to the completion of this offering, and (iii) the filing and effectiveness of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation immediately prior to the completion of this offering; and
on a pro forma as adjusted basis to reflect (i) the pro forma adjustments set forth above and (ii) our issuance and sale of       shares of common stock in this offering at the assumed initial public offering price of $       per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.
The pro forma as adjusted information set forth below is illustrative only and will depend on the actual initial public offering price and other terms of this offering determined at pricing. You should read this information in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes appearing elsewhere in this prospectus, as well as the sections titled “Selected Consolidated Financial Data” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”

As of December 31, 2020

ActualPro Forma
Pro Forma As Adjusted
(in thousands, except per share data)
Cash
$$ $
Derivative liabilities $$ $
Long-term debt, net of discount, including current portion
Stockholders’ equity (deficit):
Convertible preferred stock, $0.0001 par value;             shares authorized, actual;               shares issued and outstanding, actual; no shares authorized, issued or outstanding, pro forma and pro forma as adjusted
Preferred stock, $0.0001 par value;               shares authorized, actual;               shares issued and outstanding, actual;               shares authorized, issued or outstanding, pro forma and pro forma as adjusted
Common stock, $0.0001 par value;               shares authorized, actual;               shares issued and outstanding, actual;                shares authorized, pro forma;               shares issued and outstanding, pro forma;      shares authorized, pro forma as adjusted;     shares issued and     shares outstanding, pro forma as adjusted
Additional paid-in capital
Accumulated deficit
Total stockholders' equity (deficit)
Total capitalization$$$
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Each $1.00 increase or decrease in the assumed initial public offering price of $       per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase or decrease, as applicable, each of our pro forma as adjusted cash, additional paid-in capital, total stockholders’ equity (deficit) and total capitalization by $       million, assuming that the number of shares of common stock offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same, and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. Similarly, each increase or decrease of 1.0 million shares in the number of shares of common stock offered by us would increase or decrease, as applicable each of our pro forma as adjusted cash, additional paid-in capital, total stockholders’ equity (deficit) and total capitalization by $       million, assuming the assumed initial public offering price of $       per share, remains the same, and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.
If the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares is exercised in full, our pro forma as adjusted cash, additional paid-in capital, total stockholders’ equity (deficit), and total capitalization as of December 31, 2020, would be $          million, $          million, $          million, and $          million, respectively.
The number of shares of our common stock to be issued and outstanding, pro forma and pro forma as adjusted in the table above is based on                 shares of our common stock outstanding as of December 31, 2020 (after giving pro forma effect to the automatic conversion of all of our outstanding convertible preferred stock and the automatic exercise of all of our outstanding warrants issued to SGI into an aggregate of               shares of common stock immediately prior to the completion of this offering), and excludes:
                 shares of common stock issuable upon the exercise of options granted under the 2019 Plan, outstanding as of December 31, 2020 with a weighted-average exercise price of $             per share;
                 shares of common stock issuable upon the exercise of options granted under the 2021 Plan, after December 31, 2020 with a weighted-average exercise price of $             per share;
                 shares of common stock issuable upon the exercise of warrants to purchase shares issued after December 31, 2020 with an exercise price of $             per share; and
                 shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under our equity compensation plans, consisting of:
                 shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2021 Plan, as of               , 2021, which shares will be added to the shares to be reserved for future issuance under the 2021 SIP;
                 shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2021 SIP, which will become effective in connection with this offering, as well as any automatic increases in the number of shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under this plan; and
                 shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under our ESPP, which will become effective in connection with this offering, as well as any automatic increases in the number of shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under this plan.
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DILUTION
Investors purchasing our common stock in this offering will experience immediate and substantial dilution in the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value of their shares of common stock. Dilution in pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value represents the difference between the initial public offering price of our common stock and the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share of our common stock immediately after the offering.
Our historical net tangible book value as of December 31, 2020 was $(34.4) million, or $(2.28) per share of our common stock. Our historical net tangible book value is the amount of our total tangible assets less our total liabilities and convertible preferred stock, which is not included within our stockholders’ equity (deficit). Historical net tangible book value per share represents historical net tangible book value divided by the number of shares of our common stock outstanding as of December 31, 2020.
Our pro forma net tangible book value as of December 31, 2020 was $          million, or $          per share of our common stock. Pro forma net tangible book value represents the amount of our total tangible assets less our total liabilities. Pro forma net tangible book value per share represents pro forma net tangible book value divided by the total number of shares outstanding as of December 31, 2020, after giving pro forma effect to the automatic conversion of all of our outstanding convertible preferred stock and the automatic exercise of all of our outstanding warrants issued to SGI into an aggregate of          shares of common stock immediately prior to the completion of this offering, as if such conversion and exercise had occurred on December 31, 2020.
After giving further effect to our sale of          shares of common stock in this offering at the assumed initial public offering price of $          per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us, our pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value as of December 31, 2020, would have been $          million, or $          per share. This represents an immediate increase in pro forma net tangible book value per share of $          to our existing stockholders and an immediate dilution in pro forma net tangible book value per share of $          to investors purchasing shares of common stock in this offering.
The following table illustrates this dilution on a per share basis to new investors (without giving effect to any exercise by the underwriters of their option to purchase additional shares):
Assumed initial public offering price per share
$
Historical net tangible book value per share of common stock as of December 31, 2020$(2.28)
Increase per share in net tangible book value per share of common stock attributable to pro forma adjustments
Pro forma net tangible book value per share of common stock as of December 31, 2020
Increase in net tangible book value per share of common stock attributable to this offering
Pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share of common stock after this offering
Dilution per share of common stock to new investors participating in this offering$
Each $1.00 increase or decrease in the assumed initial public offering price of $          per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase or decrease, as applicable, the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share after this offering by $          per share and the dilution to investors purchasing shares of common stock in this offering by $          per share, assuming the number of shares offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same, and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. Similarly, each increase of 1.0 million shares in the number of shares offered by us would increase the pro forma as adjusted net
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tangible book value per share after this offering by $          and decrease the dilution per share to investors purchasing shares of common stock in this offering by $           , assuming no change in the assumed initial public offering price and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. Each decrease of 1.0 million shares in the number of shares offered by us would decrease the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share after this offering by $          and increase the dilution per share to investors purchasing shares of common stock in this offering by $          , assuming no change in the assumed initial public offering price and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.
If the underwriters exercise their option to purchase                additional shares of common stock in this offering in full at the assumed initial public offering price of $          per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus and assuming the number of shares offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same, and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us, the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share after this offering would be $          per share, and the dilution per share to investors purchasing shares of common stock in this offering would be $          per share.
The following table summarizes, on the pro forma as adjusted basis described above, as of December 31, 2020, the number of shares of common stock purchased from us, the total consideration paid, or to be paid, and the weighted-average price per share paid, or to be paid, by existing stockholders and by investors purchasing shares in this offering at the assumed initial public offering price of $     per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, before deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.
Shares PurchasedTotal ConsiderationWeighted-Average Price Per Share
(dollar amounts in thousands, expect per share amounts)NumberPercentAmountPercent
Existing stockholders before this offering
%$%$
Investors purchasing shares in this offering
Total
100 %
    $    
100 %
The table above assumes no exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase                 additional shares in this offering. If the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares is exercised in full, the number of shares of our common stock held by existing stockholders would be reduced to       % of the total number of shares of our common stock outstanding after this offering, and the number of shares of common stock held by investors purchasing shares of common stock in the offering would be increased to       % of the total number of shares outstanding after this offering.
Each $1.00 increase or decrease in the assumed initial public offering price of $          per share, which is the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase or decrease, as applicable, the total consideration paid by investors purchasing shares in this offering by $          million, assuming that the number of shares offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same. Similarly, each increase or decrease of 1.0 million shares in the number of shares offered by us would increase or decrease, as applicable, the total consideration paid by investors purchasing shares in this offering by $          million, assuming no change in the assumed initial public offering price.
The foregoing tables and calculations (other than the historical net tangible book value calculation) are based on          shares of our common stock outstanding as of December 31, 2020 (after giving pro forma effect to the automatic conversion of all of our outstanding convertible preferred stock and the automatic exercise of all of our outstanding warrants issued to SGI into an aggregate of               shares of common stock immediately prior to the completion of this offering), and excludes:
                 shares of common stock issuable upon the exercise of options granted under the 2019 Plan, outstanding as of December 31, 2020 with a weighted-average exercise price of $             per share;
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                 shares of common stock issuable upon the exercise of options granted under the 2021 Plan, after December 31, 2020 with a weighted-average exercise price of $             per share;
                 shares of common stock issuable upon the exercise of warrants to purchase shares issued after December 31, 2020 with an exercise price of $             per share; and
                 shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under our equity compensation plans, consisting of:
                 shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2021 Plan, as of                , 2021, which shares will be added to the shares to be reserved for future issuance under the 2021 SIP;
               shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2021 SIP, which will become effective in connection with this offering, as well as any automatic increases in the number of shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under this plan; and
               shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under our ESPP, which will become effective in connection with this offering, as well as any automatic increases in the number of shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under this plan.
To the extent that any outstanding options are exercised or new options are issued under our equity benefit plans, or we issue additional shares of common stock or other securities convertible into or exercisable or exchangeable for shares of our capital stock in the future, there will be further dilution to investors purchasing shares of common stock in this offering.
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SELECTED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL DATA
The following tables summarize our selected consolidated financial data for the periods and as of the dates indicated. Pursuant to the authority of the SEC under Rules 3-06 and 3-13 of Regulation S-X under the Securities Act, we have substituted audited consolidated financial statements for the period from March 8, 2019 through December 31, 2019 in place of audited consolidated financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019. Because of the different length of time for which financial information is presented in the period from March 8 , 2019 through December 31, 2019 compared to that presented for the year ended December 31, 2020, our financial results for those periods are not comparable. We have derived the selected consolidated statement of operations data for the period from March 8, 2019 through December 31, 2019 and the year ended December 31, 2020, and the consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2019 and 2020, from our audited consolidated financial statements appearing elsewhere in this prospectus. You should read the following selected consolidated financial data together with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes appearing elsewhere in this prospectus and the information in the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”
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Period from March 8, 2019 (Inception) to December 31, 2019Year Ended December 31, 2020
Statement of Operations and Comprehensive Loss Data (in thousands):
Revenue:
Product sales$3,555 $5,131 
Royalties1,250 1,445 
Total revenue4,805 6,576 
Cost of revenue2,677 2,951 
Gross profit2,128 3,625 
Operating expenses:
Research and development 3,318 8,925 
Sales and marketing1,878 6,931 
General and administrative3,908 4,130 
Total operating expenses9,104 19,986 
Loss from operations(6,976)(16,361)
Other income (expense):
Interest expense(1,490)(690)
Change in fair value of derivative liabilities62 (880)
Other income (expense), net102 (74)
Loss before provision for income taxes(8,302)(18,005)
Provision for income taxes— (5)
Net loss and comprehensive loss(8,302)(18,010)
Net loss attributable to common stockholders$(8,302)$(18,010)
Net loss per share attributable to common
stockholders—basic and diluted
$(0.55)$(1.20)
Weighted average common stock outstanding—basic and diluted15,000,000 15,004,616 
Pro forma net loss per share attributable to common
stockholders—basic and diluted (unaudited)(1)
$(0.29)
Pro forma weighted average common stock outstanding—basic and
diluted (unaudited)(1)
60,242,616
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December 31,
20192020
Balance Sheet Data (in thousands):
Cash$29,144 $13,463 
Working capital(2)
29,712 11,556 
Total assets38,761 26,863 
Long-term debt, net of discount, including current portion4,472 4,686 
Derivative liabilities654 1,533 
Convertible preferred stock38,914 38,914 
Total stockholders' equity (deficit)(7,503)(25,459)
_______________
(1)The unaudited pro forma basic and diluted weighted-average shares of common stock outstanding used in the calculation of unaudited pro forma basic and diluted net loss per share attributable to common stockholders for the year ended December 31, 2020 have been prepared to give effect to (i) the automatic conversion of all outstanding shares of our convertible preferred stock into common stock immediately prior to the closing of this offering and (ii) the automatic exercise of all outstanding warrants issued to SGI into an aggregate of              shares of our common stock immediately prior to the closing of this offering, as if this offering had occurred on the later of the beginning of each period or the issuance date of the convertible preferred stock or warrants issued to SGI.
(2)We define working capital as current assets less current liabilities. See our financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus for further details regarding our current assets and current liabilities.

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MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
Unless the context otherwise requires, all references in this section to the “Company,” “we,” “us, or “our” refer to the business of Codex DNA, Inc. and its subsidiaries.
You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations together with the “Selected Consolidated Financial Data” section of this prospectus and our consolidated financial statements and the related notes appearing elsewhere in this prospectus. This discussion contains forward-looking statements that reflect our plans, estimates, and beliefs that involve risks and uncertainties. As a result of many factors, such as those set forth under the “Risk Factors” and “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” sections and elsewhere in this proxy statement/prospectus, our actual results may differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements.
Overview
We are a leading synthetic biology company focused on enabling researchers to rapidly, accurately and reproducibly build or “write” high-quality synthetic DNA and mRNA that is ready to use in many downstream synthetic biology enabled markets. Our synthetic biology solution addresses the bottlenecks across the multi-step process of building DNA and mRNA, as well as the significant limitations of existing solutions that prevent the rapid building of virtually error-free DNA and mRNA at a useable scale. A key part of our solution is our BioXp system, an end-to-end automated workstation that fits on the benchtop and is broadly accessible due to its ease-of-use and hands-free automation. We believe our BioXp system can democratize synthetic biology by simplifying the process of building DNA and mRNA, thereby accelerating the discovery, development and production of novel high-value products, including antibody-based biologics, mRNA-based vaccines and therapeutics and precision medicines.
Our solution is comprised of our:
BioXp system: the first and only commercially available push-button, walkaway, end-to-end automated workstation that empowers researchers to go from a digital DNA sequence to endpoint-ready synthetic DNA and mRNA in 8 to 24 hours;
BioXp portal: a user-friendly online portal that offers an intuitive guided workflow and design tools for building new DNA sequences and assembling them into vector(s) of choice;
BioXp kits: contain all the necessary building blocks and reagents, including our proprietary Gibson Assembly branded reagents, for specific synthetic biology workflow applications;
Cloud-based scripts: product-specific and pre-validated scripts that optimize and simplify the use of the BioXp kits on the BioXp system; and
Benchtop reagents: contain all the reagents necessary to proceed with a specific synthetic biology workflow on the benchtop using products generated on the BioXp system.
We have developed and commercialized products that include BioXp systems, including our current BioXp 3250 system, BioXp kits for generating a wide array of synthetic DNA and mRNA, and benchtop reagents that complement the automated synthetic biology workflow applications and workflow solutions. We believe that our integrated BioXp systems and BioXp kits represent the industry’s leading synthetic biology workflow automation solution and provide us with a first mover advantage in the rapidly growing synthetic biology market. As part of our continuing effort to improve the processes of synthetic biology, we are currently developing next-generation BioXp systems and BioXp kits with the goal of transforming rapid demand-response workflows in synthetic biology and consolidating supply chains and enabling global distributed manufacturing for discovery, pre-clinical and clinical applications. We also use our BioXp 3250 system, BioXp kits and benchtop reagents to perform services for customers.
We were incorporated in the state of Delaware in March 2011, as Synthetic Genomics Solution, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Synthetic Genomics, Inc. (SGI). We changed our name to SGI-DNA, Inc. (SGI-DNA) in February 2013. On March 8, 2019, SGI sold SGI-DNA to GATTACA Mining, LLC (GATTACA) by entering into a stock purchase agreement to sell all of our outstanding common and preferred stock in exchange for a $10 million non-recourse promissory note (the Purchase Note). We were a co-borrower with GATTACA on the Purchase Note. Subsequently,
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we focused our efforts on launching new synthetic biology products and expanding our distribution and marketing efforts on our existing, research using only products. We also changed our name to Codex DNA, Inc. in March 2020.
We commercially launched our current synthetic biology solution in September 2019, which now includes the BioXp 3250 system, BioXp kits with associated cloud-based application scripts, and benchtop reagent kits. Since the introduction of our solution through March 1, 2021, we have launched seven BioXp kits, three benchtop reagent kits, and several other synthetic biology products, including 10 SARS-CoV-2 full-length genomes and RNA controls as well as our Vmax X2 cells. We have placed approximately 150 BioXp systems globally. We target customers in the fields of personalized medicine, biologics drug discovery, vaccine development, genome editing and cell and gene therapy. As of March 1, 2021, our customer base was composed of over 300 customers and included 17 of the 25 largest biopharmaceutical companies in the world ranked by 2020 revenue. Our customer base also includes leading academic research institutions, government institutions, CROs and synthetic biology companies.
Since our inception as a stand-alone company on March 8, 2019, we have devoted substantially all of our efforts to raising capital, organizing, and staffing our company, commercializing existing products and developing new products. To date, we have funded our operations with proceeds from the issuance of convertible notes and convertible preferred stock, payments received from royalties and product sales, and proceeds from borrowings under our credit facilities. Through December 31, 2020, we had received gross proceeds of $32.8 million from sales of our convertible preferred stock, $6.8 million from the issuance of our convertible notes and $5.0 million from borrowings under a loan and security agreement.
We have incurred significant operating losses since our inception. During the period from March 8, 2019 to December 31, 2019 and the year ended December 31, 2020, our revenue was $4.8 million and $6.6 million, respectively. As of December 31, 2020, we had cash of $13.5 million. Our ability to generate product revenue sufficient to achieve profitability will depend on the successful development and commercialization of our products. We reported net losses of $8.3 million and $18.0 million for the period from March 8, 2019 to December 31, 2019 and for the year ended December 31, 2020, respectively. As of December 31, 2020, we had an accumulated deficit of $26.3 million.
Impact of COVID-19
In December 2019, a novel strain of coronavirus, which causes the disease known as COVID-19, was reported to have surfaced in Wuhan, China. Since then, COVID-19 coronavirus has spread globally. In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. The ongoing COVID-19 global and national health emergency has caused significant disruption in the international and United States economies and financial markets. The spread of COVID-19 has caused illness, quarantines, cancellation of events and travel, business and school shutdowns, reduction in business activity and financial transactions, labor shortages, supply chain interruptions and overall economic and financial market instability.
In response to public health directives and orders and to help minimize the risk of the virus to employees, we have taken precautionary measures, including implementing work-from home policies for certain employees. The COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to significantly impact our manufacturing supply chain, distribution or logistics and other services. Additionally, our service providers and their operations may be disrupted, temporarily closed or experience worker or supply shortages, which could result in additional disruptions or delays in shipments of purchased equipment, materials or the development of new products. To date, we have not suffered material supply chain disruptions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a mixed impact on our revenues. We sell our products to pharmaceutical and academic laboratories. Many such laboratories temporarily closed or reduced work hours due to the pandemic which reduced sales to existing customers. Furthermore, many business and academic conferences were cancelled and travel restrictions were imposed world-wide, which impacted customer acquisition and reduced sales. However, we were able to quickly develop new COVID-19 specific products and sell these and our existing products to entities working on COVID-19 products and vaccine development, which contributed to revenue growth.
We are not able to estimate the duration of the pandemic and potential impact on the business if disruptions or delays in shipments of product occur. In addition, a severe prolonged economic downturn could result in a variety of risks to the business, including weakened demand for product and a decreased ability to raise additional capital
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when needed on acceptable terms, if at all. As the situation continues to evolve, we will continue to closely monitor market conditions and respond accordingly.
Components of Results of Operations
Revenue
Revenue consists of product sales and royalties. Net product sales primarily consist of sales of our BioXp systems, BioXp kits, benchtop reagents and biofoundry services. In providing biofoundry services, we use our own instruments and reagents to create DNA products for our customers. Royalties consist of fees charged for the grant of non-exclusive rights of our patents to third parties.
Historically, revenue growth has come from BioXp systems, BioXp kits and biofoundry services. Growth in BioXp systems sales has come from investments in direct and indirect distribution channels and new product introductions. Growth in BioXp kit sales has come from the growth of the installed base of BioXp systems and new application kits. Biofoundry services were launched late in 2019. Growth in biofoundry services has been driven by new product introductions and prospective customers using biofoundry services to validate our BioXp systems. We have also seen an increase in demand for our biofoundry services driven by COVID-19-related access problems to researchers’ labs.
Cost of Revenue
Cost of revenue primarily consists of material and labor costs, freight and indirect overhead costs associated with sales of our BioXp instruments, BioXp reagents, benchtop reagents and biofoundry services. Cost of revenue also includes period costs related to certain inventory adjustment charges, and unabsorbed manufacturing and overhead costs, as well as any write-offs of inventory that fail to meet specification or are otherwise no longer suitable for commercial manufacture. Cost of revenue is expected to increase as revenue increases.
Research and Development Expenses
Research and development expenses include pre-production costs related to the design, development and improvement of our products and technologies, including employee compensation, benefits and related costs of sustaining our engineering teams, project material costs, third party fees paid to consultants, prototype development expenses, legal costs related to intellectual property, patent fees, and other costs incurred in the product design and development process. We expense research and development costs as incurred. Non-refundable advance payments that we make for goods or services to be received in the future are recorded as prepaid expenses. The prepaid amounts are expensed as the related goods are delivered or the services are performed, or when it is no longer expected that the goods will be delivered or the services rendered.
We expect that our research and development expenses will increase significantly, both in the near term and subsequently, in connection with our planned product development activities. At this time, we cannot accurately estimate or know the nature, timing and costs of the efforts that will be necessary to complete the development of any of our future products. The successful development and commercialization of our future products is highly uncertain. This is due to the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with product development and commercialization, including but not limited to the following:
we can never be certain that we can solve any technical challenge;
if such solution can be found, we can never be certain of the timing of such a solution;
once we find a technical solution, we cannot be certain that the solution will be commercially feasible; and
any solution may not be desired by our customers.
These uncertainties with respect to the development of any of our future products could significantly impact the costs and timing associated with the development of these products.
Sales and Marketing Expenses
Sales and marketing expenses include employee compensation, including compensation and benefits for sales, marketing, customer service, corporate development personnel and related administrative expenses. In addition, sales and marketing expenses also include costs for international employees and facility overhead based on headcount. We anticipate that our sales and marketing expenses will increase in the future as we increase our
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headcount to support increasing sales and expanding our international operations. Sales and marketing costs are expensed as incurred.
General and Administrative Expenses
General and administrative expenses consist primarily of salaries and related costs for personnel in executive, finance, and administrative functions. General and administrative expenses also include legal fees relating to corporate matters; professional fees for accounting, auditing, tax and administrative consulting services; insurance costs, administrative travel expenses, other operating costs; and facility costs not otherwise included in research and development or sales and marketing expenses.
We anticipate that our general and administrative expenses will increase in the future as we increase our administrative headcount to support our continued research, development and commercialization activities. We also anticipate that we will incur significantly increased accounting, audit, legal, regulatory, compliance and director and officer insurance costs as well as investor and public relations expenses associated with operating as a public company. General and administrative expenses are expensed as incurred.
Other Income (Expense)
Interest Expense
Interest expense primarily consists of cash and non-cash interest on our term loan facilities, convertible notes, the Purchase Note, and our finance leases.
Change in Fair Value of Derivative Liabilities
In connection with the divestiture of our capital stock by SGI in March of 2019, SGI retained a participation right whereby SGI could receive property with a value equal to the net proceeds a person would receive as a holder of 6% of our common stock in a change of control transaction. SGI was also issued a warrant to purchase common stock, equal to 6% of the shares of common stock issued and outstanding as of the time of exercise, which will automatically be exercised immediately prior to the consummation of an initial public offering. This warrant and participation right were later amended in August 2019 to provide a warrant on 3,245,235 shares of common stock, a participation right to receive property with a value equal to the net proceeds a person would receive as a holder of 3,245,235 shares in a change of control transaction, and additional warrants equal to 3% of the shares sold in future equity financings prior to an initial public offering or certain change of control transactions. We classify this participation right as a liability on our consolidated balance sheet that we remeasure to fair value at each reporting date. We recognize changes in the fair value of this participation right as a component of other income (expense) in our consolidated statement of operations and comprehensive loss.
In connection with our Series A-1 convertible preferred stock financing in December 2019, we issued SGI warrants in connection with the participation right described above to purchase Series A-1 convertible preferred stock. We classify these warrants as a liability on our consolidated balance sheet that we remeasure to fair value at each reporting date. We recognize changes in the fair value of the warrant liability as a component of other income (expense) in our consolidated statement of operations and comprehensive loss. We will continue to recognize changes in the fair value of the warrant liability until the warrants are exercised, expire or qualify for equity classification. Immediately prior to the closing of this offering, the Series A-1 convertible preferred stock warrants will be net exercised into shares of common stock, and the fair value of the warrant liability at that time will be reclassified to stockholders equity.
In connection with the Loan and Security Agreement we entered into in September 2019 with Oxford Finance LLC (the 2019 Loan Agreement), we identified a contingent liability to pay a success fee to the lender as well as a contingent put option liability related to a contingent interest feature and acceleration clause. Under the 2019 Loan Agreement we issued a total of $5.0 million in secured promissory notes. The success fee contingent liability and the contingent put option liability are valued and separately accounted for in the accompanying consolidated financial statements. The fair value of the success fee was recorded as a discount to the notes and included within derivative liabilities on our consolidated balance sheet. We also include the contingent put option liability within derivative liabilities on our consolidated balance sheet as a long-term liability. We remeasure both derivatives to fair value at each reporting date, and recognize changes in the fair value as a component of other income (expense) in our consolidated statement of operations and comprehensive loss. We will continue to recognize changes in the fair
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value of the success fee contingent liability until the success fee is paid. The contingent put option liability was extinguished when the 2019 Loan Agreement was terminated in March 2021.
Other Income (Expense),Net
Other income (expense), net consists primarily of gains on the disposal of fixed assets and losses on the disposal of intangible assets.
Income Taxes
Since our inception, we have not recorded any income tax benefits for the NOLs we have incurred in each year or for our earned research and development tax credits generated in each period, as we believe, based upon the weight of available evidence, that it is more likely than not that all of our NOLs and tax credit carryforwards will not be realized. As of December 31, 2019 and 2020, we had federal NOL carryforwards of $12.2 million and $28.4 million, respectively and state NOL carryforwards of $6.7 million and $15.9 million, respectively. The federal NOL carryforwards of $1.3 million generated before January 1, 2018 will begin to expire in 2034, but can be used to offset up to 100% of taxable income. Amounts generated after December 31, 2017 will carryforward indefinitely, but will be subject to 80% taxable income limitation beginning in tax years after December 31, 2020, as provided by the CARES Act. We have recorded a full valuation allowance against our net deferred tax assets at each balance sheet date.
On March 27, 2020, the CARES Act was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into United States law. The CARES Act, among other things, includes certain provisions for individuals and corporations; however, these benefits did not impact our income tax provisions in the period or year presented given the existence of the full valuation allowance.
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Results of Operations
Comparison of the period March 8, 2019 (inception) through December 31, 2019 and Year Ended December 31, 2020
The following table summarizes our results of operations for the period ended December 31, 2019 and for the year ended December 31, 2020:
Period from March 8, 2019 (Inception) to December 31, 2019Year Ended December 31, 2020Change
(in thousands)
Revenue
Product sales$3,555 $5,131 $1,576 
Royalties1,250 1,445 195 
Total revenue4,805 6,576 1,771 
Cost of revenue2,677 2,951 274 
Gross profit2,128 3,625 1,497 
Operating expenses:
Research and development3,318 8,925 5,607 
Sales and marketing1,878 6,931 5,053 
General and administrative3,908 4,130 222 
Total operating expenses9,104 19,986 10,882 
Loss from operations(6,976)(16,361)(9,385)
Other income (expense):
Interest (expense) income(1,490)(690)800 
Change in fair value of derivative liabilities62 (880)(942)
Other income (expense), net102 (74)(176)
Total other income (expense), net(1,326)(1,644)(318)
Loss before provision for income taxes(8,302)(18,005)(9,703)
Provision for income taxes— (5)(5)
Net loss$(8,302)$(18,010)$(9,708)
Revenue
The following table summarizes our revenue for the period ended December 31, 2019 and for the year ended December 31, 2020:
Period from March 8, 2019 (Inception) to December 31, 2019Year Ended December 31, 2020Change
(in thousands)
Product sales$3,555 $5,131 $1,576 
Royalties1,250 1,445 195 
Total revenue$4,805 $6,576 $1,771 
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Revenue for the period ended December 31, 2019 was $4.8 million, compared to $6.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. The increase of $1.8 million was primarily driven by a $1.6 million increase in product sales of BioXp instruments, a $0.8 million increase in biofoundry services due to the launch of a new product line in late 2019, a $0.3 million increase in reagent product sales, and a $0.2 million increase in royalties partially offset by a $1.1 million reduction due to the termination of a significant supply and service agreement with one of our customers, Gritstone Oncology, Inc. The revenues from this agreement, which are not expected to recur, accounted for 23% of revenue for the period ended December 31, 2019 and 0% for the period ended December 31, 2020.
Royalty revenue was largely attributable to one customer, New England Biolabs, which accounted for 26% of revenue for the period ended December 31, 2019 and 21% for the period ended December 31, 2020.
In 2020, the company developed several COVID-19 specific products in the biofoundry services and benchtop reagent product lines. Combined, these products accounted for 11% of revenue in the year ended December 31, 2020. In the future, we expect sales of COVID-19 specific products to decline.
Cost of Revenue
The following table summarizes our cost of revenue for the period ended December 31, 2019 and for the year ended December 31, 2020:
Period from March 8, 2019 (Inception) to December 31, 2019Year Ended December 31, 2020Change
(in thousands)
Standard costs$1,192 $1,970 $778 
Shipping charges134 265 131 
Other costs1,351 716 (635)
Total cost of revenue$2,677 $2,951 $274 
Cost of revenue for the period ended December 31, 2019 was $2.7 million, compared to $3.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. The increase of $0.3 million was primarily driven by a $0.8 million increase related to standard costs and a $0.1 million increase related to shipping charges driven by increasing units sold. These increases were offset by $0.6 million decrease in other costs. Other costs are composed of overhead, indirect costs, and manufacturing variances. The decrease in other costs was primarily driven by reduced manufacturing variances.
Research and Development Expenses
The following table summarizes our research and development expenses for the period ended December 31, 2019 and for the year ended December 31, 2020:
Period from March 8, 2019 (Inception) to December 31, 2019Year Ended December 31, 2020Change
(in thousands)
Personnel expenses (including stock-based compensation)$2,150 $5,300 $3,150 
Professional services107 1,911 1,804 
Facility related and other1,061 1,714 653 
Total research and development expenses$3,318 $8,925 $5,607 
Research and development expenses for the period ended December 31, 2019 were $3.3 million, compared to $8.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. The increase of $3.2 million in personnel expenses was due to our increase in headcount related to our product development efforts. The increase of $1.8 million in professional
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services is primarily due to increases in third-party consulting and temporary labor related to our product development efforts. The increase of $0.7 million in facility related and other expenses is directly attributable to the increases in personnel. Additionally, during 2020, we expanded our San Diego office, which increased our overall facility costs.
Sales and Marketing Expenses
The following table summarizes our sales and marketing expenses for the period ended December 31, 2019 and for the year ended December 31, 2020:
Period from March 8, 2019 (Inception) to December 31, 2019Year Ended December 31, 2020Change
(in thousands)
Personnel expenses (including stock-based compensation)$1,205 $5,055 $3,850 
Professional services363 1,207 844 
Facility related and other310 669 359 
Total sales and marketing expense$1,878 $6,931 $5,053 
Sales and marketing expenses for the period ended December 31, 2019 were $1.9 million compared to $6.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. The increase of $3.9 million in personnel expenses was due to our increase in headcount related to our sales and marketing efforts. The increase of $0.8 million in outside professional services is primarily due to increases in our marketing activities in 2020. The increase of $0.4 million in facility related and other expenses is directly attributable to the increases in headcount of sales and marketing personnel.
General and Administrative Expenses
The following table summarizes our general and administrative expenses for the period ended December 31, 2019 and for the year ended December 31, 2020:
Period from March 8, 2019 (Inception) to December 31, 2019Year Ended December 31, 2020Change
(in thousands)
Personnel expenses (including stock-based compensation)$2,000 $2,411 $411 
Professional services1,156 937 (219)
Facility related and other752 782 30 
Total general and administrative expenses$3,908 $4,130 $222 
General and administrative expenses for the period ended December 31, 2019 were $3.9 million, compared to $4.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. The increase of $0.4 million in personnel expenses was due to our increase in headcount related to preparation for an initial public offering in 2021. The decrease of $0.2 million in professional services is primarily due to reduced costs of consulting and legal services, partially offset by increases to audit and accounting costs.
Other Income (Expense), Net
Other Income (expense), net for the period ended December 31, 2019 was $1.3 million, compared to $1.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. The change was primarily due to the change in fair value of derivative liabilities offset by a reduction in interest expense. The fair value change was due to the increase in the value of the underlying preferred stock, the likelihood of an initial public offering and reduced time to maturity of the term loan. The reduction in interest resulted primarily from the repayment in full of the Purchase Note.
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Liquidity and Capital Resources
Sources of Liquidity
Since our inception, we have incurred significant operating losses. To date, we have funded our operations with proceeds from the sales of convertible notes, convertible preferred stock, payments received for royalties and product sales, and proceeds from borrowings. Through December 31, 2020, we have received gross proceeds of $32.8 million from sales of our convertible preferred stock, $6.8 million from the issuance of convertible notes and $5.0 million from borrowings under the 2019 Loan Agreement. As of December 31, 2020, we had cash of $13.5 million. Without giving effect to the anticipated net proceeds from this offering, we expect that our existing cash as of December 31, 2020, together with the proceeds from our 2021 Loan Agreement, will be sufficient to fund our operating expenses and capital expenditures through the end of 2021. We believe liquidity provided from our existing cash and available borrowings raise substantial doubt about our ability to fund our operating expenses and capital expenditures for the twelve months following the issuance date of our 2020 consolidated financial statements. We will need to raise additional capital to finance our operations, which cannot be assured.
We will continue to incur significant expenses and expect to incur increasing operating losses for the foreseeable future. We also expect that our expenses and capital expenditures will increase substantially in connection with our ongoing activities, particularly as we:
seek to develop new products and services and hire additional research, development and engineering personnel;
expand our distribution and marketing infrastructure to further commercialize current and future products and support our growing customer base;
add operational, financial, and administrative systems and personnel to support growing sales;
maintain, expand, enforce, defend and protect our intellectual property portfolio and provide reimbursement of third-party expenses related to our patent portfolio; and
operate as a public company.
As a result, we will need substantial additional funding to support our continuing operations and pursue our growth strategy. Until such time as we can generate significant revenue from product sales, if ever, we expect to finance our operations through a combination of equity offerings, debt financings, or other capital sources, including collaborations with other companies, and other strategic transactions. We may be unable to raise additional funds or enter into such other agreements or arrangements when needed on favorable terms, or at all. If we fail to raise capital or enter into such agreements as, and when, needed, we may have to significantly delay, scale back, or discontinue the development and commercialization of one or more of our products.
The field of synthetic biology is rapidly developing and subject to numerous risks and uncertainties associated with new technologies and novel products. Consequently, we are unable to accurately predict the timing or amount of increased product sales or expenses or when, or if, we will be able to achieve or maintain profitability. Even if we are able to continue to generate significant product sales, we may not become profitable. If we fail to become profitable or are unable to sustain profitability on a continuing basis, then we may be unable to continue our operations at planned levels and be forced to reduce or terminate our operations.
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Cash Flows
The following table summarizes our consolidated cash flows for the period ended December 31, 2019 and for the year ended December 31, 2020:
Period from March 8, 2019 (Inception) to December 31, 2019Year Ended December 31, 2020
(in thousands)
Net cash used in operating activities$(6,390)$(15,381)
Net cash used in investing activities(79)(204)
Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities35,106 (96)
Net increase (decrease) in cash and restricted cash$28,637 $(15,681)
Operating Activities
During the period ended December 31, 2019, we used $6.4 million of cash in operations, primarily resulting from our net loss of $8.3 million, partially offset by net cash provided by changes in our operating assets and liabilities of $0.2 million and non-cash charges of $1.7 million. Net changes in our operating assets and liabilities for the period ended December 31, 2019 consisted primarily of a $0.7 million decrease in inventories, a $0.2 million increase in accounts payable, accrued payroll and accrued liabilities, and a $0.2 million increase in deferred rent, partially offset by a $0.9 million increase in accounts receivable. Non-cash charges consisted primarily of depreciation and amortization expense of $0.9 million, the change in fair value of derivative liabilities of $0.5 million, loss on disposal of assets of $0.2 million and non-cash interest on convertible notes of $0.1 million.
During the year ended December 31, 2020, operating activities used $15.4 million of cash, primarily resulting from our net loss of $18.0 million, partially offset by non-cash charges of $2.6 million. Non-cash charges consisted primarily of depreciation and amortization expense of $0.9 million as well as amortization of our right-of-use operating lease asset of $0.6 million and change in fair value of derivative liabilities of $0.9 million.
Investing Activities
During the period ended December 31, 2019 and the year ended December 31, 2020, net cash used in investing activities was $0.1 million and $0.2 million, respectively, consisting of purchases of property and equipment.
Financing Activities
During the period ended December 31, 2019, net cash provided by financing activities was $35.1 million, consisting primarily of net proceeds from the issuance of Series A convertible preferred stock and Series A-1 convertible preferred stock of $32.8 million. We also had borrowings of $11.3 million from the issuance of debt from convertible notes and a term loan, partially offset by the $8.9 million repayment of debt from the Purchase Note.
During the year ended December 31, 2020, net cash used in financing activities was $0.1 million, consisting primarily of principal payments on leased equipment.
2019 Loan and Security Agreement
On September 5, 2019, we entered into a Loan and Security Agreement with Oxford Finance LLC as the lender (the 2019 Loan Agreement). Under the 2019 Loan Agreement we borrowed a total of $5.0 million in secured loans. These loans were repaid in full in March 2021. These loans bore interest at the greater of (i) 8.79% per annum and (ii) the sum of (a) the thirty (30) day U.S. LIBOR rate reported in The Wall Street Journal on the last Business Day of the month that immediately precedes the month in which the interest will accrue, plus (b) 6.38%. They would have matured on October 1, 2023 and were secured by substantially all of our assets, other than our intellectual property, which was subject to a negative pledge. In connection with the 2019 Loan Agreement, we have a contingent obligation to pay Oxford a success fee of $0.8 million upon the completion of this offering. Upon the loan’s inception and on December 31, 2019, the fair value of this success fee contingent liability was estimated to be $0.4 million and was recorded as a derivative liability on our consolidated balance sheet with the corresponding discount applied
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against the notes. Issuance costs related to the loans, inclusive of the success fee contingent liability, were $0.5 million.
Payments on the loans were interest-only until May 1, 2021, followed by equal monthly principal payments and accrued interest through the scheduled maturity date of October 1, 2023.
We have identified a contingent liability to pay a success fee to the lender as well as a bifurcated compound derivative liability related to a contingent interest feature and acceleration clause (contingent put option). The success fee contingent liability and the bifurcated embedded derivative were valued and separately accounted for in the accompanying consolidated financial statements. The fair value of the success fee was recorded as a contingent liability within derivative liabilities on our consolidated balance sheet and corresponding discount to the loans under the 2019 Loan Agreement. We classify the contingent put option liability within derivative liabilities on our consolidated balance sheet. We remeasure both liabilities to fair value at each reporting date, and we recognize changes in the fair value as a component of other income (expense) in our consolidated statement of operations and comprehensive loss. We will continue to recognize changes in the fair value of the success fee contingent liability until the success fee is paid. The contingent put option liability was extinguished when the 2019 Loan Agreement was terminated in March 2021.
2021 Loan Agreement
On March 4, 2021, we entered into a Loan and Security Agreement with Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) as the lender (the 2021 Loan Agreement). Under the 2021 Loan Agreement, on March 5, 2021, we borrowed a $15.0 million senior secured term loan, the proceeds of which were used to repay all of our existing obligations under the 2019 Loan Agreement, with the remaining proceeds available for our working capital and general corporate purposes.
Under the 2021 Loan Agreement, SVB may elect to make a second term loan to us in a principal amount up to but not exceeding $5.0 million, as the lender may determine in the lender’s sole discretion.
In connection with the 2021 Loan Agreement, we issued to SVB a warrant to purchase a number of shares of preferred stock (the Preferred Warrant). The Preferred Warrant is exercisable into the number of preferred shares equal to $225,000 divided by the applicable warrant price. The Preferred Warrant also provides for the grant of additional shares upon the disbursement of an advance under the 2021 Loan Agreement. Such additional shares will be equal to 1.5% of the principal amount of the advance divided by the warrant price. The Preferred Warrant is exercisable at either the original purchase price of the Series A-1 convertible preferred stock or the next convertible preferred stock financing if such round is closed on or before August 1, 2021. If the class of convertible preferred stock which the warrant would be exercisable into is converted into common stock, the warrant holder would have the right to exercise the warrant for such number of common shares into which the preferred shares would have converted into had they been exercised prior to the conversion. Unless previously exercised, the Preferred Warrant will expire on March 4, 2031. No portion of the Preferred Warrant has been exercised.
The term loans bear interest at a per annum rate equal to the greater of (a) 4.0% above the prime rate and (b) 7.25%. The interest rate as of March 5, 2021 was 7.25% per annum. The loans are secured by substantially all of our assets, other than our intellectual property. We have also agreed not to encumber our intellectual property assets, except as permitted by the 2021 Loan Agreement.
The term loans mature on January 1, 2024; provided, the loan maturity date will be extended by one year to January 1, 2025, if SVB is satisfied that we have achieved at least $4.0 million in trailing three-month instruments and reagents revenue for any three-month period occurring after March 4, 2021 but ending on or before December 31, 2021, subject to confirmatory lender calls.
Payments on the term loans are interest-only until February 1, 2022, followed by equal principal payments and monthly accrued interest payments through the scheduled maturity date; provided, the interest-only period may be extended to August 1, 2022 if, on or before December 31, 2021, SVB is satisfied that we have achieved at least $4.0 million in trailing three-month product revenue for any three-month period occurring after March 4, 2021, but ending on or before December 31, 2021, subject to confirmatory lender calls.
We may elect to prepay the term loans, in whole but not in part, at any time. If we elect to voluntarily prepay the term loans before the scheduled maturity date, we are required to pay the lender a prepayment fee, equal to 3.0% of the then outstanding principal balance if the prepayment occurs on or before March 4, 2022, 2.0% of the outstanding
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principal balance if the prepayment occurs after March 4, 2022, but on or before March 4, 2023, or 1.0% of the outstanding principal balance if the prepayment occurs after March 4, 2023, but on or before the scheduled maturity date. No prepayment fee is applicable to a mandatory prepayment of the loans upon an acceleration of the loans. Upon a voluntary or mandatory prepayment of the loans, we are also required to pay SVB’s expenses and all accrued but unpaid interest on the loans through the prepayment date.
A final payment (the Final Payment) equal to $0.4 million will be due at the earlier of the maturity date, acceleration of the loans, or a voluntary or mandatory prepayment of the loans. The Final Payment is being accrued through interest expense using the effective interest method.
Under the 2021 Loan Agreement, we covenant to maintain as of the last day of each month, certain consolidated trailing three-month minimum revenue levels as set forth in the 2021 Loan Agreement.
The 2021 Loan Agreement includes customary representations and covenants that, subject to exceptions and qualifications, restrict our ability to do the following things: engage in mergers, acquisitions, and asset sales; transact with affiliates; undergo a change in control; engage in businesses that are not related to our existing business; add or change business locations; incur additional indebtedness; incur additional liens; make loans and investments; declare dividends or redeem or repurchase equity interests; and make certain amendments or payments in respect of any subordinated debt. In addition, the 2021 Loan Agreement contains customary affirmative covenants, including covenants regarding the payment of taxes and other obligations, maintenance of insurance, maintenance of our bank accounts, protection of our intellectual property, reporting requirements, compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and formation or acquisition of new subsidiaries.
The 2021 Loan Agreement also includes customary indemnification obligations and customary events of default, including, among other things, payment defaults, breaches of covenants following any applicable cure period, material misrepresentations, a failure of the loans or the lender’s security interest in the collateral to have the priority as required under the 2021 Loan Agreement, a material adverse change as defined in the 2021 Loan Agreement (including without limitation as a result of a government approval having been revoked, rescinded, suspended, modified or not renewed), certain material judgments and attachments, and events relating to bankruptcy or insolvency. The 2021 Loan Agreement also contains a cross default provision under which, if a third party (under any agreement) has a right to accelerate indebtedness greater than $0.5 million, we would be in default of the 2021 Loan Agreement. During the continuance of an event of default, SVB may apply a default interest rate of an additional 5% to the outstanding loan balances, and SVB may declare all outstanding obligations immediately due and payable and may exercise other rights and remedies as set forth in the 2021 Loan Agreement and related loan documents. Acceleration would result in the payment of all outstanding loans, any default interest charged by the lender, all expenses of the lender and the Final Payment.
Funding Requirements
We expect our expenses to increase significantly in connection with our ongoing activities, particularly with respect to research and development efforts related to our future products and our efforts to expand sales of current products and to commercialize future products. In addition, upon the closing of this offering, we expect to incur additional costs associated with operating as a public company. The timing and amount of our operating and capital expenditures will depend largely on:
the cost of developing new products that are commercially viable;
the costs of marketing and selling our products globally; and
the potential additional expenses attributable to adjusting our development plans (including any supply-related matters) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We believe that the net proceeds from this offering, together with our existing cash and available borrowings, will enable us to fund our operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements for the next twelve months.
Until such time, if ever, as we can generate substantial product revenue, we expect to finance our operations through a combination of equity offerings, debt financings, collaborations, strategic alliances and marketing, distribution or licensing arrangements. If we are unable to raise additional funds through equity or debt financings or other arrangements when needed, we may be required to delay, limit, reduce or terminate our research, product
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development or future commercialization efforts, or grant rights to develop and market products that we would otherwise prefer to develop and market ourselves.
Contractual Obligations and Commitments
The following table summarizes our commitments to settle contractual obligations at December 31, 2020:
Payments Due by Period
TotalLess than 1 Year1 to 3 Years4 to 5 YearsMore than 5 Years
(in thousands)
Operating lease commitments (1)
$4,136 $967 $2,023 $1,146 $— 
Finance lease commitments (2)
184 99 85 — — 
Debt obligations (3)
6,011 1,744 2,245 2,022 — 
— 
Total$10,331 $2,810 $4,353 $3,168 $— 
______________
(1)Consists of payments due for our lease of office space in San Diego, California that expires in January 2025.
(2)Consists of payments due for our leases of three pieces of equipment that expire between April 2021 and December 2022.
(3)Consists of the contractually required principal and interest payable under the 2019 Loan Agreement. For purposes of this table, the interest due under the 2019 Loan Agreement was calculated using an assumed interest rate of 8.79% per annum, which was the interest rate in effect as of December 31, 2020.
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
We did not have during the periods presented, and we do not currently have any, off-balance sheet arrangements, as defined in the rules and regulations of the SEC.
Critical Accounting Policies and Significant Judgments and Estimates
Our consolidated financial statements are prepared in accordance with GAAP. The preparation of our consolidated financial statements and related disclosures requires us to make estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, costs and expenses, and the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities in our consolidated financial statements. We base our estimates on historical experience, known trends and events, and various other factors that we believe are reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. We evaluate our estimates and assumptions on an ongoing basis. Our actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions. While our significant accounting policies are described in more detail in Note 2 to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus, we believe that the following accounting policies are those most critical to the judgments and estimates used in the preparation of our consolidated financial statements.
Revenue Recognition
To date, our revenues have consisted primarily of payments received related to product sales and royalty agreements. We adopted the provisions of ASU 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606), (ASC 606), at inception. Under ASC 606, we recognize revenue when our customers obtain control of the goods, warranty services are delivered or royalties are earned.
Revenue for our product sales is recognized upon delivery to the customer. Revenue related to product warranty arrangements is deferred and recognized over time, as services are delivered. To determine the appropriate amount of revenue to be recognized for arrangements determined to be within the scope of ASC 606, we perform the following five steps: (i) identification of the promised goods or services in the contract; (ii) determination of whether the promised goods or services are performance obligations including whether they are distinct in the context of the contract; (iii) measurement of the transaction price, including the assessment of the constraint on variable consideration; (iv) allocation of the transaction price to the performance obligations; and (v) recognition of revenue
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when, or as we satisfy each performance obligation. As part of the accounting for arrangements under ASC 606, we must use significant judgment to determine: (a) the performance obligations based on the determination under step (ii) above; (b) the transaction price under step (iii) above; and (c) the standalone selling price for each performance obligation identified in the contract for the allocation of transaction price in step (iv) above. We also use judgment to determine whether milestones or other variable consideration, except for royalties and sales-based milestones, should be included in the transaction price as described below. The transaction price is allocated to each performance obligation based on the relative stand-alone selling price of each performance obligation in the contract, and we recognize revenue based on those amounts when, or as, the performance obligations under the contract are satisfied.
The standalone selling price is the price at which an entity would sell a promised good or service separately to a customer. Management estimates the standalone selling price of each of the identified performance obligations in our customer contracts, maximizing the use of observable inputs. Because we have not sold the same goods or services in our contracts separately to any customers on a standalone basis and there are no similar observable transactions in the marketplace, we estimate the standalone selling price of each performance obligation in our customer arrangements based on our estimate of costs to be incurred to fulfil our obligations associated with the performance, plus a reasonable margin.
We determined that our only contract liability under ASC 606 is deferred revenue. Amounts received prior to revenue recognition are recorded as deferred revenue in the consolidated balance sheet. Amounts expected to be recognized as revenue within the 12 months following the consolidated balance sheet date are classified as deferred revenue, current in the consolidated balance sheet. Amounts not expected to be recognized as revenue within the 12 months following the consolidated balance sheet date are classified as deferred revenue, net of current portion in the consolidated balance sheet. Amounts are recorded as accounts receivable when our right to consideration is unconditional.
Product Revenue, Net
We recognize revenue on product sales when the customer obtains control of our product, which occurs at a point in time (upon delivery to the customer). We recognize revenue on installation and training when the service has been rendered and warranty revenue over the warranty term. Product revenues are recorded net of variable consideration, including discounts.
Product Returns
We generally do not accept product returns and have received an insignificant amount of returns to date.
Royalty Revenue
We recognize royalty revenue based on historical customer submissions and payments resulting from license agreements we have with customers. The license agreements require our customers to pay us a fixed tiered percentage of sales based on the technology that we have licensed to them. Our customers submit their usage and payments on a quarterly or semiannual basis.
Inventories
Inventories are stated at the lower of cost or net realizable value. Cost is computed using standard cost, which approximates actual cost on a first-in, first-out basis. Net realizable value is evaluated by considering obsolescence, excess levels of inventory, deterioration and other factors. Adjustments to reduce the cost of inventory to its net realizable value, if required, are made for estimated excess, obsolescence or impaired inventory. Excess and obsolete inventory is charged to cost of revenue and a new, lower-cost basis for that inventory is established and subsequent changes in facts and circumstances do not result in the restoration or increase in that newly established cost basis.
Goodwill
We test goodwill for impairment on an annual basis, or more frequently if events or changes in circumstances indicate that the asset might be impaired. Our goodwill impairment tests are performed at the enterprise level as we have concluded that we have one reporting unit and that our chief operating decision maker is our chief executive officer and the executive management team. The fair value of the reporting unit was substantially in excess of the
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carrying value of the reporting unit at each date impairment was tested and consequently we have not recorded any impairment of goodwill.
Acquired Intangible Assets
Acquired intangible assets consist of rights to technologies and trade names. We engaged third party valuation specialists to assist us with the initial measurement of the fair value of acquired intangible assets. Acquired intangible assets, other than goodwill, are amortized over their estimated useful lives based upon the estimated economic value derived from the related intangible assets.
Stock-Based Compensation
We measure all stock-based awards granted to employees and directors based on their fair value on the date of the grant using the Black-Scholes option-pricing model for options. Compensation expense for those awards is recognized over the requisite service period, which is generally the vesting period of the respective award for the employees and directors.
For stock-based awards granted to non-employees, the measurement date for non-employee awards is the date of the grant. The compensation expense for non-employees is recognized in the same manner as if we had paid cash in exchange for the goods or services, which is generally the vesting period of the award.
We use the straight-line method to record the expense of awards with service-based vesting conditions. As inputs, the Black-Scholes option-pricing model uses the fair value of our common stock and assumptions we make for the volatility of our common stock, the expected term of our common stock options, the risk-free interest rate for a period that approximates the expected term of our common stock options, our expected dividend yield, and an expected forfeiture rate.
Determination of Fair Value of Common Stock
As there has been no public market for our common stock to date, the estimated fair value of our common stock has been determined by our board of directors as of the date of each option grant, with input from management, considering our most recently available third-party valuations of common stock and our board of directors' assessment of additional objective and subjective factors that it believed were relevant and which may have changed from the date of the most recent valuation through the date of the grant. These third-party valuations were performed in accordance with the guidance outlined in the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' Accounting and Valuation Guide, Valuation of Privately-Held-Company Equity Securities Issued as Compensation. Our common stock valuations were prepared using either an option pricing method (OPM), or a hybrid method, both of which used market approaches to estimate our enterprise value. The hybrid method also used an income approach to estimate our enterprise value. The hybrid method is a probability-weighted expected return method (PWERM), where the equity value is calculated based on income and market approaches, and that resulting equity value is allocated to the company’s classes of stock in one or more scenarios using an OPM. The PWERM is a scenario-based methodology that estimates the fair value of common stock based upon an analysis of future values for the company, assuming various outcomes. The common stock value is based on the probability-weighted present value of expected future investment returns considering each of the possible outcomes available as well as the rights of each class of stock. The future value of the common stock under each outcome is discounted back to the valuation date at an appropriate risk-adjusted discount rate and probability weighted to arrive at an indication of value for the common stock. A discount for lack of marketability of the common stock is then applied to arrive at an indication of value for the common stock. The OPM treats common stock and preferred stock as call options on the total equity value of a company, with exercise prices based on the value thresholds at which the allocation among the various holders of a company's securities changes. Under this method, the common stock has value only if the funds available for distribution to stockholders exceeded the value of the preferred stock liquidation preferences at the time of the liquidity event, such as a strategic sale or a merger. In addition to considering the results of these third-party valuations, our board of directors considered various objective and subjective factors to determine the fair value of our common stock as of each grant date, including:
the prices at which we sold shares of preferred stock and the superior rights and preferences of the preferred stock relative to our common stock at the time of each grant;
the progress of our research and development programs;
our stage of development and our business strategy;
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external market conditions affecting the biopharmaceutical and synthetic biology industries and trends within those industries;
our financial position, including cash on hand, and our historical and forecasted performance and operating results;
the lack of an active public market for our common stock and our preferred stock;
the likelihood of achieving a liquidity event, such as an initial public offering, or sale of our company in light of prevailing market conditions; and
the analysis of initial public offerings and the market performance of similar companies in the biopharmaceutical industry.
The assumptions underlying these valuations represented management's best estimate, which involved inherent uncertainties and the application of management's judgment. As a result, if we had used significantly different assumptions or estimates, the fair value of our common stock and our stock-based compensation expense could have been materially different.
Once a public trading market for our common stock has been established in connection with the completion of this offering, it will no longer be necessary for our board of directors to estimate the fair value of our common stock in connection with our accounting for granted stock options and other such awards we may grant, as the fair value of our common stock will be determined based on the quoted market price of our common stock.
Options Granted
The following table summarizes by grant date the number of shares subject to options granted from January 1, 2020 through the date of this prospectus, the per share exercise price of the options, the per share fair value of our common stock on each grant date, and the per share estimated fair value of the options:
Grant DateNumber of Common Shares Subject to Options GrantedExercise Price per Share
Estimated Per-Share Fair Value of Options(1)
Estimated Fair Value Per Share of Common Stock at Grant Date
January 29, 2020538,500$0.24 $0.09 $0.24 
July 23, 2020223,000$0.24 $0.09 $0.24 
October 22, 2020147,750$0.24 $0.09 $0.24 
March 3, 20211,986,394$1.46 $0.58 $1.46 
_______________
(1)The estimated per share fair value of options reflects the weighted average fair value of options granted on each grant date, determined using the Black-Scholes option-pricing model.
The intrinsic value of options outstanding at December 31, 2020 is $2.9 million.
Recently Issued Accounting Pronouncements
A description of recently issued accounting pronouncements that may potentially impact our financial position and results of operations is disclosed in Note 2 to our consolidated financial statements appearing at the end of this prospectus.
Emerging Growth Company Status
In April 2012, the JOBS Act was enacted. Section 107 of the JOBS Act provides that an “emerging growth company,” or an EGC, can take advantage of the extended transition period provided in Section 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act for complying with new or revised accounting standards. Thus, an EGC can delay the adoption of certain accounting standards until those standards would otherwise apply to private companies. We have elected to use the extended transition period for new or revised accounting standards during the period in which we remain an emerging growth company; however, we may adopt certain new or revised accounting standards early.
We will remain an emerging growth company until the earliest to occur of: (i) the last day of the fiscal year in which we have more than $1.07 billion in annual revenue; (ii) the date we qualify as a “large accelerated filer,” with at least
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$700.0 million of equity securities held by non-affiliates; (iii) the date on which we have issued more than $1.0 billion in non-convertible debt securities during the prior three-year period; and (iv) the last day of the fiscal year ending after the fifth anniversary of our initial public offering.
Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risks
As of December 31, 2019, and 2020, we had cash of $29.1 million and $13.5 million, respectively. Interest income is sensitive to changes in the general level of interest rates; however, due to the nature of these investments, an immediate 10% change in market interest rates would not have a material effect on the fair market value of our cash balance.
As of March 5, 2021, we had $15.0 million of borrowings outstanding under the 2021 Loan Agreement. Borrowings under the 2021 Loan Agreement bear interest at a rate equal to the greater of (a) 4.0% above the prime rate and (b) 7.25%. The prime interest rate as of March 5, 2021 was 3.25% per annum. An immediate 10% change in the 30-day prime rate would not have a material impact on our debt-related obligations, financial position or results of operations.
We are not currently exposed to significant market risk related to changes in foreign currency exchange rates. Our operations may be subject to fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates in the future. We do not believe that inflation has had a material effect on our business, financial condition, or results of operations during the period ended December 31, 2019 and the year ended December 31, 2020. Our operations may be subject to inflation in the future.

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BUSINESS
Overview
We are a leading synthetic biology company focused on enabling researchers to rapidly, accurately and reproducibly build or “write” high-quality synthetic DNA and mRNA that is ready to use in many downstream synthetic biology enabled markets. Our synthetic biology solution addresses the bottlenecks across the multi-step process of building DNA and mRNA, as well as the significant limitations of existing solutions that prevent the rapid building of virtually error-free DNA and mRNA at a useable scale. A key part of our solution is our BioXp system, an end-to-end automated workstation that fits on the benchtop and is broadly accessible due to its ease-of-use and hands-free automation. We believe our BioXp system can democratize synthetic biology by simplifying the process of building DNA and mRNA, thereby accelerating the discovery, development and production of novel high-value products, including antibody-based biologics, mRNA-based vaccines and therapeutics and precision medicines.
Synthetic biology involves the engineering of biological components from a digital DNA sequence, enabling the construction of macromolecules and organisms with new and improved biological functions. It is being used across multiple markets, including:
healthcare, to discover, develop and produce novel therapeutics and vaccines;
agriculture, to improve crop yields and create novel food sources;
technology, to potentially store and retrieve digital data using DNA; and
various consumer markets.
In its January 2020 report, BCC Research estimated that the global synthetic biology market was $5.3 billion in 2019 and projected that market to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29%, reaching an estimated market size of $18.9 billion by 2024.
Synthetic biology is enabled by numerous technologies that facilitate the design-build-test paradigm of new or modified biological components. Any inefficiency across these three phases can create a bottleneck hindering the rapid iteration within product development. In the build phase, the process of writing synthetic DNA or mRNA for an improved biological function is characterized by multiple, complex processes that involve numerous time-consuming and technical steps, including DNA synthesis, DNA assembly, DNA cloning, and DNA scale-up in E. coli with multiple DNA purification steps in between. If the final product is mRNA, the process continues with additional technical steps including mRNA synthesis, mRNA modifications at each end and multiple mRNA purification steps. Currently, these processes are carried out in laboratories by highly skilled researchers using multiple kits, each designed to perform one or more of the technical steps. Depending on the length and complexity of the desired synthetic DNA or mRNA product, the build process may involve hundreds of manual steps, require numerous different kits and take days, weeks or months to complete. As an alternative solution, many, but not all, of these steps can be outsourced to a molecular biology contract research organization (CRO) for completion, shifting those challenges from the end user to the CRO. However, outsourcing poses additional limitations including lack of workflow control, unpredictable timelines and data security issues. Whether in-house or through a CRO, existing solutions for building synthetic DNA and mRNA have deficiencies, for instance:
low fidelity of DNA and mRNA fragments reducing overall yields of usable material;
inability to construct stretches of DNA and mRNA sequence that have particular features;
inability to construct DNA and mRNA sequences above a certain size; and
inability to produce the end product in sufficient quantities for downstream applications.
All of these limitations produce bottlenecks across the build phase, which have significantly hindered the ability of synthetic biology to deliver on its full potential.
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We developed our synthetic biology solution to address the significant unmet need in the market for an approach that can automate, integrate, optimize and standardize the process for building synthetic DNA and mRNA. Our solution is comprised of our:
BioXp system: the first and only commercially available push-button, walkaway, end-to-end automated workstation that empowers researchers to go from a digital DNA sequence to endpoint-ready synthetic DNA and mRNA in 8 to 24 hours;
BioXp portal: a user-friendly online portal that offers an intuitive guided workflow and design tools for building new DNA sequences and assembling them into vector(s) of choice;
BioXp kits: contain all the necessary building blocks and reagents, including our proprietary Gibson Assembly branded reagents, for specific synthetic biology workflow applications;
Cloud-based scripts: product-specific and pre-validated scripts that optimize and simplify the use of the BioXp kits on the BioXp system; and
Benchtop reagents: contain all the reagents necessary to proceed with a specific synthetic biology workflow on the benchtop using products generated on the BioXp system.
Our solution is designed to offer the following benefits:
consolidation of the build phase within a single end-to-end automated system;
flexibility across a variety of DNA and mRNA applications;
fast and scalable results;
ability to construct genes, mRNA, and clones across a wide range of sizes and complexity;
industry-leading quality and performance;
enhanced productivity; and
customer protection of proprietary vectors.
We have developed and commercialized products that include BioXp systems, including our current BioXp 3250 system, BioXp kits for generating a wide array of synthetic DNA and mRNA, and benchtop reagents that complement the automated synthetic biology workflow applications and workflow solutions. We believe that our integrated BioXp systems and BioXp kits represent the industry’s leading synthetic biology workflow automation solution and provide us with a first mover advantage in the rapidly growing synthetic biology market. As part of our continuing effort to improve the processes of synthetic biology, we are currently developing next-generation BioXp systems and BioXp kits with the goal of transforming rapid demand-response workflows in synthetic biology and consolidating supply chains and enabling global distributed manufacturing for discovery, pre-clinical and clinical applications. We also use our BioXp 3250 system, BioXp kits and benchtop reagents to perform services for customers.
Our BioXp systems are intended to address the needs of the synthetic biology customer by providing an unmatched capability to rapidly synthesize high-quality DNA and mRNA. With future system releases and extensions, we plan to address the continuum of research needs across the central dogma of molecular biology by enabling cell-free production of high-quality synthetic DNA, mRNA and protein for the discovery, development and manufacturing of enabled products across a wide range of markets. We are strategically focused on providing workflow solutions for markets with high-value enabled products such as those in healthcare and technology.
We currently provide workflow solutions for the following areas:
synthetic DNA for antibody and protein engineering of biologic drugs;
synthetic DNA for genome editing;
synthetic DNA for metabolic pathway engineering;
immune monitoring;
synthetic mRNA for infectious disease vaccine discovery and development;
mRNA-based vaccines for precision medicine; and
mRNA-based therapeutics.
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We are currently developing workflow solutions for the following areas:
global distributed manufacturing of vaccines;
synthetic protein for biologics discovery; and
synthetic DNA for digital data storage.
We commercially launched our current synthetic biology solution in September 2019, which now includes the BioXp 3250 system, BioXp kits with associated cloud-based application scripts, and benchtop reagent kits. Since the introduction of our solution through March 1, 2021, we have launched seven BioXp kits, three benchtop reagent kits, and several other synthetic biology products, including 10 SARS-CoV-2 full-length genomes and RNA controls as well as our Vmax X2 cells. We have placed approximately 150 BioXp systems globally. We target customers in the fields of personalized medicine, biologics drug discovery, vaccine development, genome editing and cell and gene therapy. As of March 1, 2021, our customer base was composed of over 300 customers and included 17 of the 25 largest biopharmaceutical companies in the world ranked by 2020 revenue. Our customer base also includes leading academic research institutions, government institutions, CROs and synthetic biology companies.
Industry Overview
Background on Synthetic Biology
Synthetic biology is a well-established and rapidly expanding field of science that involves the engineering of biological components such as genes, mRNA, proteins, viruses and living cells starting from a digital DNA sequence, enabling the construction of those macromolecules and organisms with new and improved biological functions. The application of synthetic biology is constantly expanding, and new end markets are emerging, driven by continued innovation, a growing understanding of biology and access to novel research tools. For example, in healthcare, synthetic biology is being used to discover, develop and produce novel DNA-, mRNA-, and protein-based therapeutics and vaccines (e.g., antibody-based biologics, mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines and personalized cancer therapeutics). In agriculture, synthetic biology is being utilized to improve crop yields and create novel food sources (e.g., plant-based meat products). Similarly, in technology, synthetic biology may lead to the ability to store and retrieve digital data using DNA. Finally, in consumer markets, synthetic biology is being employed in a variety of applications. For example, synthetic biology is used to construct clothes from renewable, bio-based sources, to develop biofuels and renewable energy from engineered microbes, and to produce plastics from biodegradable polymers.
In its January 2020 report, BCC Research estimated that the global synthetic biology market was $5.3 billion in 2019 and projected that market to grow at a CAGR of 29%, reaching an estimated market size of $18.9 billion by 2024.
The synthetic biology market falls into two broad sectors:
Enabling technologies: The molecular biology methods (e.g., DNA sequencing, DNA synthesis, DNA assembly, molecular cloning, mRNA production, protein synthesis and expression, genome editing, and bioinformatics software for DNA sequence design and analysis) that employ molecular biology components (e.g., oligonucleotides, enzymes, buffers, vectors, and competent cells) to engineer higher value products that have new or improved utility from a DNA sequence “blueprint”.
Enabled products: These are the end products and include, but are not limited to, therapeutics based on principles of antibody and protein engineering of biologic drugs, mRNA-based vaccines, genetic medicines (e.g. DNA and mRNA therapeutics), and sustainable foods and biofuels resulting from the use of synthetic biology, as well as DNA data storage solutions.
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Figure 1: Estimated Global Synthetic Biology Market ($ Billions)
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According to the BCC Research report, a driver of the rapid growth of the synthetic biology market is the advances in enabling technologies and the downstream benefits being realized in key enabled product markets like healthcare. These advances in enabling technologies have increased market demand for high-value products that can be produced by synthetic biology methods. This in turn has resulted in a rapid growth of synthetic biology CROs and molecular biology reagent kits, which have been created to serve the higher demand requirements of an evolving synthetic biology market, particularly for drug discovery, agriculture, consumer and industrial products. Scientists increasingly want to build DNA and introduce those molecules into organisms to create cell-based discovery and production systems for new biologics and small-molecule drugs. Research clinicians are recognizing the importance of synthetic biology and beginning to apply the construction of synthetic DNA and mRNA to the development of precision medicines, in the form of mRNA-based cancer vaccines, particularly for immuno-oncology. Pharmaceutical companies have begun integrating synthetic biology approaches in their facilities to develop state-of-the-art vaccines and biologics that are DNA-, mRNA-, and protein-centric. All of these approaches require the ability to make high-quality synthetic DNA comprising entire gene sequences and, in some instances, expressing those genes to make synthetic mRNA and synthetic proteins. With the success of FDA-approved mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines, it is expected that interest in mRNA-based therapeutics and vaccines utilizing synthetic biology technology will remain strong.
Synthetic biology is enabled by numerous technologies that facilitate highly-iterative experimental design. These technologies permit “reading” of the DNA code of a desired gene, engineering and synthetic construction of biological products using those blueprints, and testing of the constructed products to determine whether they perform in the desired manner. Once a DNA sequence is read, the gene of interest can be built or written from a pool of building blocks using molecular synthesis techniques. In addition, once a gene is read, researchers can redesign the gene to produce new and improved biological functionality, and then build the redesigned gene and analyze its activity in a fully biological system during a test phase. Reading is then used once again to confirm the DNA sequence that provides the desired function of the biological sample that was designed, built and tested. Reading and writing genes opens the door to a new synthetic biology paradigm for iterating on the design-build-test phases and creates a powerful and flexible approach to developing a wide variety of enabled products, including
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mRNA-based vaccines and protein-based drugs. Decades of gene sequencing work and functional genetic studies to understand what genes do have produced a huge cache of content that researchers can use to design new or modified genetic material.
Over the last 20 years, synthetic biology has experienced a transformation, driven by numerous innovations in enabling technologies. The initial breakthrough was DNA sequencing for reading the DNA and beginning to understand DNA coding. However, early sequencing instruments were slow and expensive, creating a bottleneck in the use of genetic sequence data and its application to both additional research and commercial applications. More recently, the advent of high-performance, low-cost next-generation sequencing (NGS) systems has enabled wide adoption, with over 15,000 such systems installed in research labs globally, resulting in an increase in genetic discoveries in humans and a wide range of organisms, including bacteria, plants and insects and animals. These sequencing systems are generating large amounts of information about genetic composition and have led to the creation of private and public databases around the world containing DNA sequences. Recently, advances in computing power, machine learning and computational modeling have enabled biologists to better analyze this increasing amount of genomic information and inform experimental design or engineering of genes, genetic pathways and even complete chromosomes to achieve the desired biological improvement. Given the volume and understanding of DNA sequence content, the bottleneck in synthetic biology has shifted from reading to writing DNA in an effort to facilitate the rapid design of DNA and mRNA for use in the downstream synthetic biology enabled markets.
The next critical advancement in the field of synthetic biology was the ability to construct genetic sequences de novo from their chemical components via DNA synthesis. This enabled researchers to capitalize on the genetic discoveries and improvements in computational design to build or write engineered DNA. The advancements in enabling technologies for both reading and writing DNA have allowed synthetic biologists to engineer changes in genes, metabolic pathways and organisms with greater ease, precision and scale, resulting in a new paradigm with rapid iteration of product cycles and greater predictability of results. The following graphic illustrates this paradigm.
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Figure 2: The Synthetic Biology Paradigm
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This new paradigm is characterized by three key steps—design, build, test—which are continuously iterated to drive feedback into the design phase for the following iteration until the desired biological result is achieved. With DNA as the software of life, biologists can now write code like software engineers and write genes to perform as desired. The design-build-test synthetic biology paradigm begins with the DNA sequencing or reading of a biological sample, providing a “blueprint” for the design phase. The outcome of the design phase is a DNA sequence that is chemically synthesized in the build phase and, as necessary, converted to mRNA or protein. The outcome of the build phase is synthetic DNA or mRNA, which can then be readily assayed for desired function in the test phase.
Under the current paradigm, DNA readers are integrated within the build and test phases to confirm the blueprints are being generated as expected in the build phase for quality control and to identify the DNA sequence of the optimal blueprint discovered in the test phase. If the outcome of the test phase is that further optimization is desired, the process is iterated again, starting at the design phase. This design-build-test paradigm highlights the importance and opportunity for products and technologies focused on enhancing the speed and scale of the design phase. This efficiency can be accomplished by placing scalable platform technologies for reading and writing in close proximity.
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The Build Phase for Synthetic DNA and mRNA
Any inefficiencies across the design, build, or test phase can create a bottleneck in the highly-iterative design-build-test paradigm. This especially holds true for the build phase as the process of “writing” synthetic DNA for an improved biological function is characterized by multiple, complex processes that involve numerous time-consuming and technical steps, including (1) DNA synthesis; (2) DNA assembly; (3) DNA cloning; and (4) DNA scale-up in E. coli.
Figure 3: The Build-Phase
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Writing synthetic DNA
1.DNA synthesis: DNA is made from four molecular building blocks called nucleotides: adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G) and thymine (T). These closely related molecules form long linear chains consisting of thousands or more nucleotides. In the same way that the “zeroes” and “ones” in digital code can instruct a machine or other computer code to act, the specific order of nucleotides in a strand of DNA imparts the information for an organism to make proteins, which ultimately control the chemical reactions that enable cellular function.
The first step towards building synthetic DNA begins with determining the precise sequence of nucleotides of the gene to be synthesized. Computational tools are typically employed to modify, in silico, the sequence of the gene to achieve the desired improvement in biological function.
Next, due to challenges in synthetically manufacturing long sequences of DNA, various bioinformatics tools are used to break the desired in silico DNA sequence into short, overlapping pieces of approximately 60 nucleotides in length.
The in silico “blueprints” for the desired DNA fragment or gene are then converted into the physical pieces of DNA. To do so, each nucleotide of the desired short gene fragment specified in the blueprints is chemically synthesized and linked together to form oligonucleotides.
2.DNA assembly: During this process, overlapping oligonucleotides are “stitched” together using a complex series of chemical reactions, using enzymes, salts and buffers. These reactions are performed at various temperatures for a large number of cycles until the desired synthetic gene fragment or gene has been assembled.
3.DNA cloning: The resulting synthetic DNA product is typically combined with a DNA vector, which is a circular piece of DNA that acts as a vehicle to transport synthetic DNA fragments or genes, to create a recombinant DNA product for introduction into a host organism. Most commonly this host organism is
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E. coli, and it will easily grow into a large population for purposes of producing more of the desired synthetic DNA fragment or gene product.
4.DNA scale-up in E. coli: E. coli cells containing new DNA are plated on Petri dishes, and after a period of growth will result in individual colonies. The colonies of E. coli are placed in growth medium and incubated to produce a culture of cells containing the cloned vector. The synthetic DNA is isolated from the cultured cells, and is purified and further processed for DNA sequencing and then analyzed with DNA design tools. Introducing the recombinant DNA product into E. coli serves two purposes: first, the methodology filters out intended DNA sequences from unintended DNA sequences that arise from chemical synthesis of oligonucleotides, which is an imperfect process; and second, it permits exponential scaling up of the amount of synthetic DNA to meaningful quantities for use in downstream applications.
Writing synthetic mRNA
Recently, the building of mRNA has emerged as a highly attractive system for the development of both therapeutics and vaccines, with hundreds of such projects currently in various stages of development. The Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are both mRNA products and each has received Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA. Like DNA, mRNA takes the form of long chains of nucleotides. mRNA transports the instructions encoded in DNA to downstream molecules for molecular “fulfillment” of protein synthesis, in essence acting as DNA’s messenger.
Similar to building synthetic DNA, the steps required to build mRNA are numerous, time-consuming and often fraught with difficulties, further, RNA is generally more unstable than DNA, increasing the challenge of synthesis and handling. The steps involved in synthesizing mRNA include all the steps necessary to make synthetic DNA in addition to those outlined below. DNA is used as a template to create mRNA, and this is completed as follows:
1.In vitro transcription: The cloned, circular synthetic DNA template is linearized and incubated in an enzymatic reaction containing all the components necessary to turn the synthesized DNA template into the desired mRNA that is then purified.
2.5’ capping: The mRNA is then further processed to include a “cap” at its 5’ end to improve its efficiency as a driver of protein production within cells. The mRNA is then purified once more.
3.3’ tailing: The capped mRNA then has a poly A tail added at the 3’ end to stabilize it and prevent its degradation and is then purified once more.
4.mRNA purification: The synthetic mRNA is treated with a DNase enzyme to remove any residual DNA template that may interfere with downstream applications and is then purified one final time.
5.mRNA formulation: The mRNA is then formulated by adding carrier molecules (e.g., lipid nanoparticles) to permit its delivery into cells.
Following these steps, the synthetic mRNA is ready to be used in downstream synthetic biology-enabled markets including, in the case of new drug development, biologics (antibody- and protein-based drugs), mRNA-based vaccines for infectious disease and precision medicine, genome and pathway engineering and many other markets.
Key limitations in writing synthetic DNA and mRNA
Despite these substantial advancements, including the accumulation of a large number of functional discoveries resulting from the wide-spread adoption of DNA sequencing instruments, the profound potential of synthetic biology has been hampered by the complexity within, and among, the multi-step process of writing synthetic DNA and mRNA, as well as significant limitations of existing solutions that prevent the rapid building of virtually error-free DNA and mRNA at a useable scale. Both limitations ultimately affect speed and quality of product delivery.
Currently, the process of writing synthetic DNA or mRNA for an improved biological function is carried out in laboratories by highly skilled researchers using multiple kits, each designed to perform one or more of the technical steps. Depending on the length and complexity of the desired synthetic DNA or mRNA product, the process may involve hundreds of manual steps, require numerous different kits and take days, weeks or months to complete. As an alternative solution, many, but not all, of these steps can be outsourced to a molecular biology CRO for completion, shifting those challenges from the end user to the CRO. However, outsourcing poses additional limitations, including lack of workflow control, unpredictable timelines and security issues. Ultimately, this reduces the amount of rapid iteration and refinement by the researcher since multiple design-build-test cycles are often needed to optimize the synthesized DNA or mRNA.
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Key limitations within the build phase of the synthetic biology paradigm lengthen time to market for a wide array of innovative products within the healthcare, consumer, agriculture and technology markets. Build iterations can take days, weeks or months, depending on project type, using conventional methods with either in-house manual kit-based processes or by outsourcing portions of the project to a CRO. In either case, the key limitations of the build phase include the following:
long project timelines resulting from non-scalable, manual processes, or the need to use multiple suppliers or CROs. The turn-around-times from CROs differ widely, and the process, depending on the complexity of the product ordered, ranges from days to months. Some CROs will not accept certain projects due to their inherent difficulty. In addition, there are fewer CROs that produce mRNA at scale and no single in-house kit solution for generating synthetic mRNA starting from DNA sequences;
inconsistent quality and performance resulting from supply chain constraints or the use of different kits if performed in-house, or resulting from using different CROs with inconsistent protocols;
lack of data standardization across a project or organization which limits predictability and reproducibility;
partial order fulfillment due to variations in project acceptance criteria, such as DNA sequence complexity;
lack of workflow control and timing of project integration into parallel programs; and
difficulty in controlling intellectual property and security concerns around sensitive DNA designs potentially becoming exposed to security vulnerabilities during transfer. Researchers would prefer to control their intellectual property, particularly within biopharmaceutical companies where hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on the development of proprietary DNA sequences.
Existing solutions for writing synthetic DNA and mRNA are insufficient.
The current processes for building synthetic DNA have several significant limitations including:
low fidelity of DNA fragments resulting from DNA synthesis errors, thereby reducing overall yields of usable material;
inability to construct some stretches of DNA sequence that have particular features, such as extreme imbalances in nucleotide content (%G+C vs. %A+T) and repetitive sequences;
inability to construct DNA sequences above a certain size; and
inability to scale the material to a suitable yield such that it is usable in downstream applications.
The current processes for building synthetic mRNA have the same inherent limitations as building DNA since the construction of synthetic DNA is a prerequisite for making mRNA. In addition, there are several other key challenges including:
the handling requirements of the mRNA products, which are highly unstable and susceptible to rapid degradation;
the multi-step processes involved in producing purified, biologically active mRNA; and
scaling the mRNA to high yields from DNA templates.
These limitations produce bottlenecks across the build phase, which have significantly hindered the ability of the synthetic biology paradigm to deliver on its full potential. This inefficiency has created a significant unmet need in the market for an approach that can automate, integrate, optimize and standardize the process, and thereby enhance the speed, predictability and reproducibility of the design-build-test paradigm.
The Codex DNA Solution
Our synthetic biology solution, which leverages our industry-standard Gibson Assembly method, is aimed at addressing the bottlenecks across the build phase in order to accelerate the design-build-test paradigm. Key to our solution is our BioXp system, an end-to-end automated system for synthetic biology that fits on the benchtop and is broadly accessible due to its ease-of-use and hands-free automation. We have developed and commercialized the current version of the BioXp system, the BioXp 3250 system. We believe our BioXp system can democratize synthetic biology by making the build phase broadly accessible in terms of simplicity, accelerating applications and workflows, and greatly facilitating development of novel high-value products across a wide range of synthetic biology
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enabled markets. Our BioXp system empowers users to rapidly, accurately and reproducibly create high quality synthetic DNA and mRNA that is ready for use in many downstream synthetic biology workflows.
Figure 4: Our Comprehensive Synthetic Biology Solution
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Our synthetic biology solution is comprised of:
The BioXp system: the first and only commercially available push-button, walkaway, end-to-end automated workstation, which requires only a few minutes of set up time, that empowers researchers to translate a digital DNA sequence to endpoint-ready synthetic DNA and mRNA in 8 to 24 hours using a benchtop instrument that is run by sophisticated onboard software;
The BioXp portal: a user-friendly online portal that offers an intuitive guided workflow and design tools for building new DNA sequences and assembling them into vector(s) of choice using Gibson Assembly on the BioXp system;
The BioXp kits: contain all the necessary building blocks and reagents, including our proprietary Gibson Assembly branded reagents, for specific synthetic biology workflow applications;
Cloud-based scripts: product-specific and pre-validated scripts that optimize and simplify the use of the BioXp kits on the BioXp system (e.g., the BioXp system automatically scans barcodes from reagent plates to download scripts, enabling hands-free operation); and
Benchtop reagents: contain all the reagents necessary to proceed with a specific synthetic biology workflow on the benchtop using products generated on the BioXp system, providing additional flexibility to the customer and furthering our end-to-end solution.
Our solution is designed to offer the following benefits:
Consolidation of the build phase within a single end-to-end automated system: We provide researchers all the hardware, software, materials and methodologies required to rapidly and accurately design and build large quantities of synthetic DNA and mRNA, with BioXp kits for synthetically produced protein under development. Our BioXp system reduces the turnaround time for such workflows to days or hours. Moreover, researchers no longer require multiple vendors to complete such workflows, eliminating related bottlenecks and security concerns. The time savings for various workflows using synthetic DNA or mRNA is depicted in the following graphic.
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Figure 5: Using the BioXp system saves significant time and potentially accelerates time to market for critical products.
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Increased speed and scale: Our BioXp system has the capacity to parallel process as many as 32 samples at once within an 8 to 24 hour period, depending on the BioXp kit being used. It also has the capacity to generate high quality and diverse libraries with short lead times, allowing innovation to be maintained in-house.
Capacity to construct a wide array of product formats: Our BioXp system was designed such that future applications would not require hardware upgrades but only software upgrades that could be installed remotely. This has facilitated new product development efforts to enhance current product specifications and to develop new kits that extend beyond the production of synthetic DNA. For example, since the BioXp system was launched, new scripts have been developed to produce larger gene products, cell-free amplification of cloned DNA, and production of synthetic mRNA. Likewise, new scripts are currently being developed to enhance the mRNA product offering and develop protein synthesis BioXp kits. This capability provides substantial time-to-product and workflow control advantages for customers and gives them the flexibility to select the workflows that meet their unique needs.
Ability to construct larger and more complex DNA and mRNA sequences: Our BioXp system uses proprietary protocols developed for robust DNA synthesis, assembly, and cloning enabling the construction of genes, mRNA, and clones across a wide range of sizes and complexity.
Industry-leading quality and performance: Our BioXp system uses a proprietary two-step error correction process to generate virtually error-free synthetic genes every time.
Enhanced productivity: Our BioXp system creates finished, biologically-active products in as few as eight hours. In addition, it includes protocols for the cell-free amplification of cloned DNA, obviating the need to use E. coli, reducing the time to product by days or even weeks. Altogether, this could represent at least a 20-fold productivity increase through accelerated iterations of the design-build-test paradigm. Ultimately, product development cycles are accelerated because the desired biological results are identified more quickly.
Protection of proprietary vectors: Our BioXp system permits our customers to maintain their proprietary vectors on site, protecting their intellectual property throughout their entire development lifecycle.
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In summary, our solution addresses key limitations of the build phase by offering many benefits as highlighted in the graphic below.
Figure 6: Benefits of our BioXp system.
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*Future product offering
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Our Growth Strategy
Our goal is to establish our solution, including our BioXp family of systems, as the industry standard for building synthetic DNA, mRNA and protein, and to democratize synthetic biology, thus accelerating its applications and workflows across a wide range of industries. To achieve this objective, we intend to:
Drive new customer adoption of our BioXp systems. As of March 1, 2021, we have placed 150 BioXp systems. We intend to drive customer adoption globally within our targeted synthetic biology enabled workflows for antibody and protein engineering of biologic drugs, mRNA-based therapeutics and vaccines for infectious disease and precision medicine, genetic medicines, sustainable foods, biofuels and. resulting from the use of synthetic biology DNA data storage solutions. We intend to accomplish this through business development efforts, establishing and nurturing relationships with KOLs, a direct sales model in North America and four major European markets (United Kingdom, Germany, France, Benelux), as well as through more than 30 channel partners across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. We intend to sell our suite of products and services to academic research organizations and universities, CROs, and pharmaceutical, biotechnology, agricultural, consumer and technology companies. We believe that initially focusing on the pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies currently using readers as a part of the design-build-test cycle will facilitate the adoption of our products and synthetic biology enabled workflows for biologics and mRNA-based therapeutics and vaccines due to the benefits of having readers and writers within close proximity to each other.
Maximize the utilization of BioXp system by developing additional BioXp kits for our customers’ workflows. As of March 1, 2021, we have launched a total of seven BioXp kits that are used at the most iterative, costly and time-consuming steps across our customers’ workflows. Our BioXp kits contain all the reagents necessary for a specific synthetic biology workflow applications, including gene fragment synthesis, DNA cloning, cell-free DNA scale-up and small-scale mRNA synthesis. To expand system utilization even further, we plan to commercially launch three BioXp kits in the first half of 2022. These include a rapid-scale mRNA synthesis kit, a large-scale mRNA synthesis kit and a protein synthesis kit. Additional BioXp kits are currently in development.
Continue to expand into other attractive markets for synthetic biology that are currently under-served. We believe our solution is universal and can support DNA, mRNA and protein synthesis for almost any synthetic biology application. We plan to continue to invest in the development of high-value BioXp kits for core workflows in our target markets including biologics drug discovery, vaccine development, and genome engineering and in additional emerging markets such as DNA data storage and cell and gene therapy.
Develop and commercialize new, disruptive BioXp systems to further increase utilization, expand breadth of applications, and accelerate product development cycles. These include:
The BioXp 9600 system. A higher throughput system permitting more DNA, mRNA and protein samples to be processed per run.
The BioXp Oligo Printer system. An oligonucleotide printing system to construct short DNA fragments.
The BioXp DBC system. A complete made-to-stock automated system that combines the two innovations above, permitting digital DNA sequences as input.
The BioXp Needle Ready Vaccine Printer system. An automated system that enables the globally distributed manufacturing of vaccines from digital sequence data, combining a BioXp kit for DNA, mRNA, or protein scale-up with modules for quality control, lot release testing and fill and finish.
Continue to innovate across our synthetic biology product portfolio. We intend to continue developing enabling technologies across our portfolio, including continued research and development on existing and emerging workflows and applications leveraging synthetic DNA, mRNA and protein.
Establish strategic partnerships leveraging our core competencies and validating our technology. The discovery, development and launch of synthetic biology advances can be time-consuming and expensive. Through our existing partnerships, we are accelerating time-to-market for our technologies and products. We intend to continue adding new strategic relationships across both existing and new markets. In doing so, we can accelerate the development of various markets for our solution, potentially generate royalties and other forms of economic benefits and leverage third-party insights to help us design new solutions.
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Continue to attract leading scientists to work at our company. Our ability to continue discovering new synthetic biology applications and developing new technologies and products depends on our ability to attract top talent from industry and academia. We believe that our strong existing team and groundbreaking accomplishments to date will continue to attract leading scientists.
Our Products
We have developed and commercialized products that include BioXp systems, BioXp kits for generating a wide array of synthetic DNA and mRNA formats, and benchtop reagents that complement the automated synthetic biology workflow applications and workflow solutions. The BioXp kits that we incorporate into our integrated system create the industry’s leading synthetic biology workflow automation solution. We believe our fully automated workflow solutions, coupled with our expanding menu of BioXp kits, will enable us to establish a first mover advantage in the rapidly growing synthetic biology market.
Our BioXp 3250 system
Our BioXp 3250 system was launched in September 2020, replacing a legacy BioXp 3200 system. We believe that it is the world’s only fully automated benchtop instrument that enables numerous synthetic biology workflows by providing a turn-key, end-to-end solution for generating synthetic DNA and mRNA starting from DNA sequence. Through a combination of increased throughput and scale and reduced hands-on time, we estimate that the BioXp 3250 system offers the potential to significantly enhance productivity several fold, accelerating the development of critical new products in enabled markets. The BioXp 3250 system accelerates the design-build-test phases of the customer’s product development cycle by enabling rapid, automated synthesis of genes, clones, variant libraries and mRNA. Unlike traditional approaches that can take days, weeks or months, the BioXp 3250 system achieves these workflows in a single run, which can be completed in 8 to 24 hours.
Figure 7: BioXp 3250 system
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The BioXp 3250 system has the capacity to build gene-fragments of up to 7,000 base pairs in length and has an extensive selection of off-the-shelf vectors, as well as the ability to bypass plasmid preps. It allows users to scale production through the ability to build up to 32 genes, clone single or multiple genes into our, or customer-provided, vectors. In addition, it permits the synthesis of transfection-ready DNA quantities of more than 10 micrograms, variant libraries up to 1.8 kilobase pairs (kb) in length, and biologically active synthetic mRNA with quantities up to 10 micrograms in 8 to 24 hours.
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Additionally, the BioXp 3250 system’s ability to provide on-deck custom cloning obviates the need for subcloning or out-sourcing development of proprietary vectors to CROs allowing laboratories to maintain complete control of intellectual property relating to their proprietary vectors.
As of March 1, 2021, we have sold approximately 25 BioXp 3250 systems, including to many leading global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
Our portfolio of commercialized kits for the BioXp 3250 system
BioXp kits contain all the requisite Gibson Assembly branded reagents and allow our BioXp system to perform the steps required to produce various DNA and mRNA products designed for a range of synthetic biology applications. BioXp kits are designed to be backwards compatible with legacy systems and forward compatible with systems under development.
BioXp gene synthesis kit. Contains all the Gibson Assembly reagents necessary to make error-corrected, de novo synthetic genes of up to 1.8 kb in length.
BioXp DNA cloning kit. Contains all the Gibson Assembly reagents necessary to make error-corrected, de novo synthetic genes of up to 7 kb in length using a standard made-to-stock vector.
BioXp DNA custom cloning kit. Contains all the Gibson Assembly reagents necessary to make error-corrected, de novo synthetic genes of up to 7 kb in length using a customer’s specific vector.
BioXp RapidAMP cell-free DNA amplification kit. Contains all the Gibson Assembly reagents necessary to amplify error-corrected genes cloned into either a made-to-stock or customer vector, to make up to 10 micrograms of DNA.
BioXp site saturation scanning libraries kit. Libraries with varied single, contiguous amino acid sites.
BioXp alanine scanning libraries kit. Libraries with varied single, contiguous alanine sites.
BioXp combinatorial libraries kit. Libraries with varied, multiple non-contiguous amino acids sites using degenerate bases to optimize protein binding and function.
BioXp small-scale mRNA synthesis kit. Contains all the Gibson Assembly reagents necessary to make 10 micrograms of biologically active synthetic mRNA using de novo synthesized, error-corrected gene fragments (mRNA template) of up to 1.8 kb in length.
By incorporating these application-specific BioXp kits into our BioXp 3250 system, we are able to provide simple, push-button, walkaway, end-to-end automation of important synthetic biology workflows. We believe our products enable unrivalled time-to-product, quality, and workflow control advantages for our customers.
Figure 8: Our BioXp system provides a simple, hands-free, end-to-end experience for our customers.
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Our benchtop reagents
We offer benchtop reagents that are synergistic with our BioXp system and BioXp kits to accelerate the build phase of the design-build-test synthetic biology paradigm.
Gibson Assembly HiFi and Ultra kit. Contains all the reagents necessary to simultaneously assemble as many as 10 DNA fragments into a vector to produce a final product that is several hundred kilobase pairs in length.
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Gibson Assembly RapidAMP kit. Contains all the reagents necessary to simultaneously assemble and clone DNA using Gibson Assembly, and then amplify the resultant product to produce up to approximately 10 micrograms of DNA.
Vmax X2 cells. Transformation-ready competent cells for introducing plasmids for protein expression applications.
SARS-CoV-2 synthetic genomes. One of ten different “off the shelf” SARS-CoV-2 synthetic genomes for use in the development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics for COVID-19 research.
SARS-CoV-2 RNA controls. SARS-CoV-2 RNA controls are useful as quality control measures for the verification and validation of both NGS and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) diagnostic assays.
Our products in development
As part of our continuing effort to improve the processes of synthetic biology, we are currently developing next-generation BioXp systems and BioXp kits with an aim to radically transform rapid demand-response workflows in synthetic biology by consolidating supply chains and enabling global distributed manufacturing for both discovery and clinical applications. Our ultimate goal is to build what we describe as the Digital-to-Biological Converter (DBC). The DBC’s approach would begin not with oligonucleotides, which can take days to procure, but with DNA sequence data. The system we envision would take data and produce synthetic genes, or even convert those automatically into mRNA or protein. This would enable the “sequence-in, vaccines-out” concept that could replace the months-long manufacturing processes required today with a process that can be carried out in 24 to 48 hours. Each of the systems described below builds from the fundamental technology that serves as the basis of our BioXp 3250 system.
BioXp systems in development
BioXp 9600 system. This higher-throughput BioXp system leverages the foundational technology underlying the current BioXp 3250 system and has an advanced motion control system allowing for higher processing speed and greater reliability. It is designed to include additional reagent capacity and consumables that enable approximately three times as many DNA, mRNA and protein samples to be processed for each run while retaining all the functionalities of the BioXp 3250 system. In addition, we envision the BioXp 9600 system will be linked to our BioXp Oligo Printer system, which is also in development, enabling global distributed manufacturing through the launch of the BioXp DBC system. This system is currently in development with beta launch anticipated by the end of 2021 and full commercial launch anticipated in 2022.

Figure 9: Our BioXp 9600 high throughput system for synthetic DNA, mRNA and protein
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BioXp Oligo Printer system. The BioXp Oligo Printer system is enabled by our proprietary enzymatic DNA synthesis reagent solution that has been successfully demonstrated in manual workflows. Unlike traditional oligonucleotide synthesizers using hazardous chemicals (phosphoramidites) and newer oligonucleotide synthesis technologies using enzymatic chemistry (TdT), the BioXp Oligo Printer system uses a DNA ligation and amplification process to generate oligonucleotides from a made-to-stock universal library of short DNA building blocks. The BioXp Oligo Printer system will physically connect to the BioXp 9600 system as the front-end system for on-demand enzymatic DNA synthesis manufacturing of oligonucleotides of up to 100 nucleotides in length to complete the BioXp DBC system. In addition, we anticipate using this system in our facility to reduce cost of goods and to improve BioXp kit turnaround times for BioXp 3250 and BioXp 9600 customers. The BioXp Oligo Printer system may also be
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commercialized as a standalone instrument to serve the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) primer and oligonucleotide markets. The system is currently in development with commercial launch anticipated after 2022.
Figure 10: Our BioXp Oligo Printer system based on our proprietary enzymatic DNA synthesis technology
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BioXp DBC system. This system is assembled through the integration of our BioXp Oligo Printer system and BioXp 9600 system, which we expect will have been individually developed. This system provides the ability to take digitized DNA code sent over the internet and automatically print DNA, mRNA and protein in a field-deployable system. We believe that by starting with a DNA sequence and made-to-stock biological components, the BioXp DBC system will disrupt the normal development cycles for precision medicine and infectious disease by providing a path towards an on-demand printer that can produce needle-ready vaccines with the push of a button. This system is currently in development with commercial launch anticipated after 2022.
Figure 11: Our BioXp DBC system for fully-integrated on-demand writing of synthetic DNA, mRNA and protein
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BioXp Needle-Ready Vaccine Printer system. This system is enabled by the technology used to build the BioXp DBC system and is dependent on its completion. It builds off the BioXp DBC system and includes a module for DNA, mRNA, or protein scale-up with modules for quality control, lot release testing and fill and finish. The BioXp Needle-Ready Vaccine Printer system will enable the globally distributed manufacturing of vaccines from digital sequence data, producing hundreds of doses of a DNA or mRNA vaccine per run with each run estimated to take a matter of days. This system is currently in development with commercial launch anticipated after 2022.
New BioXp kits in development
BioXp rapid-scale mRNA synthesis kit. This kit will contain all the reagents necessary to rapidly produce up to 100 micrograms of biologically active mRNA from previously cloned DNA of up to 20 kb in length. Full commercial launch is anticipated in the first half of 2022.
BioXp large-scale mRNA synthesis kit. This kit will contain all the reagents necessary to make 100 micrograms of biologically active synthetic mRNA using de novo synthesized, error-corrected gene fragments (i.e., an mRNA template) of up to 7 kb in length and will also include custom-cloning vector capabilities. Full commercial launch is anticipated in the first half of 2022.
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BioXp protein synthesis kit. This kit will contain all the reagents necessary to rapidly produce microgram-scale quantities of biologically active protein, with or without post-translational modifications, using de novo synthesized, error-corrected gene fragments (i.e., a protein template) of up to 7 kb in length and will include custom-cloning vector capabilities. We anticipate that this kit will enable broad adoption for the small-scale production of research grade protein for several workflows especially for biologics discovery and development. Full commercial launch is anticipated in the first half of 2022.
New benchtop reagents in development
Vmax C1 cells. Transformation-ready competent cells for introducing plasmids for molecular cloning applications.
Our Biofoundry Services
We use our BioXp 3250 system, BioXp kits and benchtop reagents to perform biofoundry services for customers. Typically, these customers have not yet purchased our BioXp system or they have custom requirements. We apply sophisticated security protocols to these services designed to protect our customers’ intellectual property rights, which is a key concern for customers.
The scale of our services is currently relatively small and is intended to facilitate new customer development. Our biofoundry services are performed in-house at our San Diego facility.
Our biofoundry services were established in 2020 as a value-added service intended to support customers both in their efforts to accelerate the discovery and development of therapeutics and vaccines to combat COVID-19, and to overcome challenges in their value chain created by the COVID-19 health crisis. These services enable a customer to order and receive any of the BioXp system endpoint-ready products, such as genes, clones, cell-free amplified DNA and variant libraries. As all offerings are built on the industry leading BioXp technology, customers experience the value of high quality products, with expedited turnaround times compared to similar offerings in the industry.
Importantly, our biofoundry services are strategically used in a consultative partner approach through our pilot program, allowing customers to see specific proof points prior to purchasing a BioXp system. This is intended only for customers meeting a specific profile, for a short period of time, and with the intended purpose of providing necessary proof to justify purchase of our BioXp system and demonstrate our proposed paradigm shift for the customers’ process. Additionally, our biofoundry services are employed to assist current BioXp system users with overflow peak volume needs or to create highly complex products, providing additional value to our BioXp installed base and creating deeper engagement with such customers. Finally, our service offerings represent a solution for those customers whose volume needs do not currently support a BioXp system purchase. In such situations, our service offerings further enable our consultative partner approach so as to engage more deeply with such customers and help demonstrate the value of the BioXp system to their ongoing research and development activities.
We are a world leader in genome synthesis and assembly technologies and are leveraging this capability to construct complete viral and bacterial genomes as a service for our customers. Over the past year, our custom genome synthesis service has primarily focused on producing variations of the SARS-CoV-2 genome, including new variants as they emerge. As many customers have similar interests, once constructed, many of these custom genomes become an off-the-shelf offering in our product catalog.
Workflow Solutions for Synthetic Biology Enabled Markets
Our current and future BioXp systems are intended to address the needs of the synthetic biology customer across discovery and pre-clinical development by providing an unmatched capability to synthesize high-quality DNA and mRNA in 8 to 24 hours. With future system releases and extensions, we plan to address the continuum of research needs across the central dogma of molecular biology by enabling cell-free production of high-quality synthetic DNA, mRNA and protein for the discovery, development and manufacturing of enabled products across a wide range of markets.
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Figure 12: Our automated DNA and mRNA solutions for synthetic biology enabled workflows
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*Future product offering
We are strategically focused on providing workflow solutions for markets with high-value enabled products such as those in healthcare and technology. These solutions are all based on our core portfolio of BioXp kits. Specific design software and BioXp kits (e.g., oligonucleotides) are employed depending on the desired enabled product. The appropriate application-specific BioXp kits are inserted into the BioXp system to perform the workflow solution tailored to meet the needs of the customer.
We target high-value application workflows within the synthetic biology-enabled markets. Key workflow examples are described below.
Synthetic DNA Application Workflows
With the BioXp system, scientists can perform rapid, high-throughput gene synthesis, regardless of vector size and complexity in a hands-free, automated fashion in 8 to 24 hours. Our BioXp system offers a comprehensive value proposition that includes reduced turnaround time, increased throughput and scale, enhanced quality, complete workflow control and both synthetic DNA and mRNA formats. Our solutions allow customers to save time, improve scale and throughput and improve productivity for many synthetic biology enabled research and development workflows across multiple market segments, including the following:
1.Synthetic DNA for genome synthesis and engineering. DNA synthesis has become a fundamental tool throughout genetic research with increasing demand from scientists who are continuously looking to incorporate synthetic DNA into new cell-based discovery and production workflows. Addressing this growing demand requires the ability to quickly make large virtually error-free DNA molecules comprising entire gene sequences. Traditional molecular cloning and gene editing steps are tedious, manual in nature and require cellular transformation, which can take three to four weeks. Moreover, in addition to being time-consuming, classic genome engineering and DNA assembly techniques are limited in the size and complexity of constructs that can be engineered.
BioXp system benefits: Overall, our automated workflow solution allows users to: (1) engineer genomes and vaccine scaffolds that were previously inaccessible due to size, complexity and resource limitations; (2) engineer fully-synthetic genomes lacking pathogenicity through rational redesign; and (3) rapidly pursue research and development of emerging strains or modify existing genomic constructs based on experimental results. Our BioXp system overcomes these barriers and enables rapid synthesis within days to weeks, as well as the ability to modify large constructs and full-length genomes.
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Figure 13: Example of how using the BioXp in combination with our Gibson Assembly benchtop reagents can save significant time when engineering genomes
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SARS-CoV-2 genome construction case study. By using several molecular biology tools that we developed over the last decade, we built all the parts of the full-length (30 kb) SARS-CoV-2 genome using Gibson Assembly reagents and the BioXp system in a single run, which can be completed in 8 to 24 hours, and then rapidly generated a completely synthetic version of the SARS-CoV-2 genome in just seven days, where comparable approaches could take as long as twelve weeks.
To support researchers worldwide in their fight against COVID-19, we have taken advantage of the rapid-iteration capabilities offered through our BioXp library kits to produce additional variants of the SARS-CoV-2 genome within just a few days. Our full-length SARS-CoV-2 synthetic genomes have been widely adopted for the development of various preventive and treatment measures. Synthetic genomes enable researchers to safely study the pandemic-causing virus and develop therapies and diagnostics without the highly regulated biosecurity facilities required for studying a dangerous pathogen.
2.Synthetic DNA for genome editing. CRISPR-powered genome editing has enabled significant improvements in the ability to fine-tune genomes. Originally discovered as an mRNA-based adaptive immune response in E. coli, the CRISPR/Cas9 system contains both guide mRNA for sequence-specific targeting and a Cas9 endonuclease that removes foreign DNA and allows integration of synthetic DNA into the host genome. That synthetic DNA is designed to specifically target a region in the host genome and make alterations (e.g. add genes, remove genes, correct mutations).
BioXp system benefits: The system enhances productivity during the design phase of the customer’s product development cycle by enabling rapid, automated synthesis of gene fragments, clones, and variant libraries. With the BioXp system, scientists can perform rapid, high-throughput gene synthesis and cloning of mRNA expression cassettes, regardless of vector size and complexity. In addition, our Gibson Assembly RapidAMP technology, which permits cell-free amplification of microgram quantities of DNA, means plasmid design no longer has to be tethered to an E. coli cloning system. In addition, our Gibson Assembly RapidAMP technology combines cloning and vector amplification in smaller mini-circle plasmids absent E. coli-based genes, thus improving overall transfection efficiency.
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3.Synthetic DNA for metabolic pathway engineering. Metabolic engineering involves reconstructing and optimizing biosynthetic pathways in model organisms, creating robust “cellular factories” designed to carry out a specific task. Pathway modifications typically rely on recombinant or novel genes or gene circuits. Using recombinant or novel genes or gene circuits, metabolic pathways are modified or introduced into genomes of microbe hosts like E. coli or yeast. These genetically engineered hosts are routinely employed to more effectively produce valuable biomolecules for a variety of biomedical, industrial and research applications.
BioXp system benefits: With the gene synthesis capabilities of our BioXp system and the complex genetic circuitry made possible with Gibson Assembly technology, we are able to improve the speed and accuracy of metabolic engineering for even the most complex genetic circuitry.
4.Synthetic DNA for antibody and protein engineering of biologic drugs. Biologics-based (e.g., antibody or protein) discovery of novel therapeutics is one of the most important areas of research for improving medical advances through engineering of antibodies or other proteins for cancer treatment, infectious diseases and inflammatory or autoimmune disorders. Monoclonal antibodies, antibody-drug conjugates, single-domain antibody variants, chimeric antigen receptor T cells (CAR-Ts) and T cell receptors (TCRs) have become invaluable therapies due to their robust recognition of targets and relatively lower side effects compared to traditional small molecule therapies.
Desirable properties for therapeutic antibody products include high antigen-binding affinity, specificity, low immunogenicity, solubility, stability, manufacturability and adequate pharmacokinetics. Researchers involved in biologics discovery and antibody and protein engineering often leverage DNA variant library screening as an essential step in the discovery workflow. A major constraint in antibody discovery has been long lead times associated with sourcing custom-built DNA libraries used to screen new antibody variants.
Figure 14: Our solution accelerates development of antibody- and protein-based drug candidate workflows.
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Customers are increasingly using our BioXp kits for variant libraries to accelerate the design-build-test phases for their antibody screening and optimizations stages. Specifically, utilizing libraries on the BioXp system across library synthesis, affinity maturation and codon optimization workflows accelerates research by improving productivity and reducing the time and costs associated with certain drug discovery and development programs. Additionally, we believe, with our broad menu and wide selection of library types, including combinatorial, scanning and custom libraries, we provide flexibility in antibody screening and optimization analysis to serve different needs (e.g., stability, epitope optimization) at various points in the workflow. Furthermore, these libraries are synthesized with our proprietary error-correction technology, with what we believe to be the lowest error rate in the industry, as low as one per 80,000 base pairs, resulting in high fidelity genes.
Protein engineering is another synthetic biology enabled workflow of significant importance and caters to the growing need for improved enzymes and bioproducts for industrial production. Enzyme engineering typically begins with research to find a candidate with the best starting properties to use as a template followed by engineering cycles to find enzymes with enhanced properties.
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After enzyme discovery, the build phase involves iterative rounds of library synthesis with an improved variant from the previous round selected as the template for the subsequent round. Subsequent build phase construction is rate limiting because of its sequential nature: design iterations cannot be conducted in parallel because the output from the previous phase is required as input for the next phase. Finding ways to shorten the time in this phase is key to reducing the overall project timeline. A second consideration is the burden of screening. Library synthesis can generate thousands or even hundreds of thousands of variants that must be screened to identify beneficial ones. Limiting the number of variants with a rational approach to library design combined with an automation system that amplifies and assembles constructs with high fidelity is a key strategy to minimizing project timelines while also maximizing the probability of identifying the most beneficial variants in an unbiased manner.
BioXp system benefits: Our BioXp system provides an accelerated path for generating combinatorial libraries, variant gene fragments and clones across all steps, including screening, optimization and expression, which increases the quantity and quality of suitable candidates to advance into additional downstream applications and reduces build phase time by over 80%. As a result, the BioXp system can deliver up to 32 libraries in 8 to 24 hours once the reagents are received, compared to the traditional method, which, depending on the method used, can take weeks to months. We believe adopting the BioXp system into the antibody or protein engineering workflow often results in the increased generation of validated leads.
5.Immune monitoring. Immune monitoring for patients receiving cancer immunotherapy is vital for understanding the process and efficacy throughout the course of the treatment. Characterizing the immune status for insights into the therapy’s potential is essential, particularly in patients who are receiving novel immune-modulating therapies. Speed and efficiency of immune assays allow for real-time feedback and the ability to be agile in a patient’s treatment regimen.
BioXp system benefits: The BioXp system’s high-throughput gene synthesis and flexible cloning modalities allow for quick screening and design of novel chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), engineered TCRs, and artificial transcription factors. Different CAR designs can therefore be investigated to enhance their tumor specificity or to fine-tune T cell activity. Further, the development of novel gene circuits or CARs to increase effectiveness of CAR-T therapy by engineering T cell mobility or mitigating immunosuppressive cues in the cancer microenvironment can help drive improved efficacy.
Synthetic mRNA Application Workflows
With the BioXp system, scientists can perform rapid, high-throughput synthesis of biologically active mRNA in a hands-off, automated fashion in 8 to 24 hours. Our BioXp system is able to fully automate mRNA synthesis for the research market and offers a comprehensive value proposition that includes reduced turnaround time from weeks to days, enhanced quality and complete workflow control. Our solutions allow customers to address many target applications across multiple market segments.
1.Synthetic mRNA for infectious disease vaccine discovery and development. The need for rapid vaccine development in response to emerging pathogens has become increasingly clear during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, vaccine manufacturing is consistently complicated for manufacturers, regulators and public health officials, especially for endemic viruses (e.g., influenza), where manufacturers must adjust the vaccine to counter the virus’ constant antigenic variation. To start a new influenza vaccine manufacturing campaign, a key material, the vaccine seed virus, must be changed frequently to match circulating strains in order to track the virus’ antigenic evolution. The existing systems for accomplishing vaccine strain changes have required the shipment of viruses and other biological materials around the globe, which have caused delays in vaccine availability. Existing systems have also used legacy techniques such as egg-based virus cultivation, resulting in vaccine mismatches.
In comparison, mRNA vaccine production is simple, cost-effective and can be easily adapted to accommodate new candidates within an established manufacturing pipeline. Given this, vaccinology has recently seen a shift toward synthetic mRNA approaches, which allow for rapid, scalable and cell-free manufacturing of prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines. For development of mRNA vaccines, de novo gene synthesis allows for increased specificity of antigen proteins, more efficient vaccine adjuvants, and safer specialized vectors. Through codon-optimization of these genes and vectors,
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targeted and safe vaccines can be created rapidly to treat newly emerging viral threats, such as influenza, coronaviruses and Ebola.
Gene synthesis with codon-optimization and mutant libraries using the BioXp system can accelerate the speed of vaccine development by improving the efficacy and safety of the resulting recombinant genes, adjuvants and vectors. Also, pairing antigen epitope mapping technology with the BioXp system’s ability to rapidly iterate is accelerating rational design strategies for vaccine development.
BioXp system benefits: We believe our end-to-end solution for the rapid and accurate production of cell free synthetic DNA and mRNA, when combined with our BioXp protein kit that is currently in development, positions the BioXp system for rapid adoption within high-growth vaccine and therapeutic markets, as it allows for the acceleration of product development cycles by addressing critical bottlenecks. This is especially important for infectious disease vaccine development, such as for influenza, where the key bottleneck is the lack of quick strain design-build-test cycles close to flu season that makes vaccine response unpredictable.
2.mRNA-based vaccines for precision medicine. Neoantigens, or tumor mutated specific antigens, are major tumor rejection antigens, allowing tumors to activate the immune system and induce an efficient anti-tumor response. As personalized medicine for cancer therapeutics ramps up and becomes more feasible and affordable, individual patient neoantigen development is increasingly important. Identification of these neoantigens has greatly improved with recent advancements in deep sequencing and bioinformatics technologies. Gene synthesis and mRNA production then allow for these predicted neoantigens to be synthesized and tested for T cell reactivity, differentiating true immunogenic neoepitopes from putative ones. Since patients’ mutated antigens are largely unique to the individual, speed is one of the most important goals in identifying and verifying true neoantigens for induction of the T cell-mediated immune response.
BioXp system benefits: The BioXp system’s on demand high-throughput gene and mRNA synthesis and flexible cloning into a variety of vectors allow for quick screening and development of the best personalized cancer treatments. In addition, our Gibson Assembly RapidAMP cloning and amplification process avoids the use of E. coli, thus eliminating endotoxin contamination and unwanted immunogenicity.
Figure 15: Our solution can deliver up to 10 micrograms of biologically active mRNA in 8 to 24 hours for mRNA-based vaccine and therapeutics workflows
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3.mRNA-based therapeutics. With COVID-19 vaccines leading the way, mRNA has become one of the more promising classes of therapeutics and is being validated by key industry players (e.g., Avantor, Inc., Moderna, Inc., and Maravai LifeSciences Holdings, Inc.) and emerging mRNA delivery companies (Precision NanoSystems Inc., Nutcracker Therapeutics, Inc.). Monoclonal antibody-based drugs require complex production and purification processes and aberrant post-translational modifications of the antibody are a problem. An mRNA-based approach is a possible solution, whereby the genetic information of the antibody, not the antibody itself, is delivered. Transient gene transfer aims at
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administering the mAb-encoding nucleotide sequences in DNA or mRNA form, rather than the mAb protein itself, directly to patients. This allows for the in situ production of biologicals in a cost- and labor-effective manner, potentially for a prolonged period of time. Although past research has been mainly focused on the development of plasmid DNA, the limitations associated with these “classical” approaches and the recent improvements in stability and translatability of in vitro transcribed (IVT) mRNA have recently led to an increased interest in mRNA as a delivery vector. In addition to safer pharmaceutical properties, such as no risk of genome integration, the transient expression of mRNA-encoded antibodies enables a more controlled exposure, with more protein production during peak expression compared to plasmid DNA.
4.BioXp system benefits: Our BioXp system can be used to rapidly produce small-scale, biologically active mRNA for accelerated iteration of the design-build-test paradigm for the identification of therapeutic candidates. In addition, a wide menu of on demand automated library synthesis enables the customer to further speed up iterative design-build-test paradigm during the drug discovery and development continuum. When library synthesis is used in combination with mRNA production, we estimate that a customer can reduce turnaround times by weeks or months when using the BioXp system for screening and optimizing the mRNA products that have the most desirable pharmaceutical properties.
Workflow solutions in development
1.Global distributed manufacturing of vaccines: We aim to transform public health by enabling a new approach to producing vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. Based on our proprietary automated synthesis technology, we are building a self-contained system that can print life-saving treatments, starting only from information delivered digitally on our DBC system.
Figure 16: We envision our BioXp vaccine-printer could significantly impact manufacturing times and supply chains in the future.
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By activating a global network of DBC systems, we believe it will be possible to accelerate the development and delivery of “on-demand” vaccines anywhere in the world, ultimately allowing rapid responses to disease outbreaks. We believe that the instantaneous electronic exchange of sequence data, followed by local gene synthesis and vaccine production, may replace the cumbersome isolation and shipment of viruses and nucleic acids between geographically dispersed sites where vaccines are manufactured. Also, by stocking systems with all of the materials needed for vaccine synthesis, the DBC network is designed to overcome many of the supply chain challenges that have emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, we believe our technology will be able to replace antiquated centralized manufacturing systems with a modern distributed manufacturing systems.
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2.Synthetic DNA for digital data storage: DNA data storage has been a growing area of interest due to its encoding power with a capacity to store more than 200 petabytes (each one million gigabytes) of data per gram of DNA. Our technology can be mapped to nearly all of the critical steps in the DNA data storage workflow, including (1) encoding a binary digital file into a DNA sequence data file, (2) synthesizing the DNA data file, (3) storing millions of DNA data files in one tube of DNA and (4) retrieving the DNA data file from the tube. Using our BioXp system, which is designed to have the capacity to store 108 kilobytes of data (e.g., single web pages and small images) per instrument per day, the entire DNA data storage workflow can be collapsed into a single automated system.
Figure 17: We envision our BioXp digital data storage solutions will be critical to enabling the broad-based use of distributed applications.
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Our Technology
Our system is powered by many key innovations that provide unparalleled capabilities, notably:
Gene synthesis
Our robust gene synthesis process is proprietary and enables the simultaneous assembly of hundreds of oligonucleotide pools of up to several thousand kilobase pairs in length, including a wide range of complexity (e.g., 20-70% GC content, repetitive DNA sequence). Our proprietary error-correction process produces synthetic DNA sequences, virtually error-free, from beginning to end. BioXp Gene synthesis kits leverage this proprietary gene synthesis technology, which involves:
the design of single-stranded oligonucleotide sequences comprising a DNA sequence, and novel chemistry and thermal cycling parameters for the robust assembly of those chemically synthesized oligonucleotides into long double-stranded DNA products; and
a two-step error-correction process where error-containing DNA products are removed through a combination of a mismatch-specific endonuclease working in concert with an exonuclease.
In the final step, only error-free genes are amplified by PCR resulting in high yields of error-free DNA. Because all applications currently rely on gene synthesis, this technology is used within every BioXp kit. We have also developed a second proprietary gene synthesis process that uses ultra-short oligonucleotides that assemble into high-fidelity synthetic genes without enzymatic error correction procedures.
Library synthesis
Our robust gene synthesis technology enables the construction of several DNA variant library types including:
scanning libraries with varied single, contiguous amino acid sites, including site-saturation and alanine scanning libraries;
combinatorial libraries with varied, multiple non-contiguous amino acids sites using degenerate bases to optimize protein binding and function; and
targeted libraries, with specific mutations distributed over the sequence space to achieve the desired diversity.
Our library synthesis technologies are powerful tools for manipulating protein structures for optimization studies in biologics discovery, protein engineering and several other disciplines. This technology is included in our BioXp library kits and enables the BioXp system to generate as many as 96 libraries per instrument in 8 to 24 hours, with each library containing an amino acid diversity as high as 1022.
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DNA cloning
Our robust molecular cloning method is proprietary and commonly referred to as Gibson Assembly across the industry. The method can simultaneously combine as many as 10 DNA fragments based on sequence identity. It requires that the DNA fragments contain approximately 20 to 40 base pair overlaps with adjacent DNA fragments. These DNA fragments are mixed with a cocktail of three enzymes, along with buffer components. The three required enzyme activities are: exonuclease, DNA polymerase, and DNA ligase. The exonuclease splits DNA from one of its ends resulting in single-stranded regions on adjacent DNA fragments, which can anneal to each other. The DNA polymerase incorporates nucleotides to fill in any gaps. The DNA ligase covalently joins the DNA of adjacent segments, thereby removing any imperfections in the DNA. The resulting product is different DNA fragments joined into one. Either linear or closed circular molecules can be assembled. With over 6,000 citations in scientific literature, Gibson Assembly is one of the most widely-used molecular cloning methods used to create recombinant DNA. It is named after its creator, Dr. Daniel Gibson, who is our Chief Technology Officer and co-founder. The Gibson Assembly method can be used to rapidly clone multiple DNA fragments into any vector in one hour or less without the use of restriction enzymes.
Figure 18: Gibson Assembly technologies for DNA assembly
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The BioXp cloning kits leverage Gibson Assembly in a proprietary fashion to bring together up to four gene fragments in up to four vectors, permitting larger DNA to be constructed and providing increased flexibility in cloning strategies. Multi-fragment assembly and cloning on the BioXp system gives customers the power to design, build, test and iterate genes more rapidly.
Cell-free amplification of cloned DNA
The Gibson Assembly process generates circular products that are permanently sealed by DNA ligase. We have taken advantage of these two essential features to develop a proprietary cell-free amplification process that combines our Gibson Assembly technology with components of the well-established rolling circle amplification (RCA) technology. Once the Gibson Assembly reactions are complete, reaction products are incubated for several hours in a mixture containing a DNA polymerase and random hexamers. The BioXp RapidAMP cell-free DNA amplification kit and the benchtop Gibson Assembly RapidAMP kit leverages this technology to allow users to assemble and amplify constructs to achieve transfection-ready DNA in a single day. With this technology, high-quality, high-fidelity DNA can be rapidly produced, all while eliminating tedious tasks associated with transformation, cell culture and E. coli harvest. Gibson Assembly RapidAMP reagents are available as a benchtop reagent kit or an automated cell-free amplification solution for the BioXp system. Benefits include:
accelerated design-build-test c