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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
(Mark One)
xANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023
OR
oTRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934 FOR THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM             TO
Commission File Number: 001-40592
Rapid Micro Biosystems, Inc.
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its Charter)
Delaware20-8121647
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
1001 Pawtucket Boulevard West, Suite 280
Lowell, MA
01854
(Address of principal executive offices)(Zip Code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (978) 349-3200
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading Symbol(s)Name of each exchange
on which registered
Class A common stock, $0.01 par value
per share
RPID
The Nasdaq Global Select Market
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
None
(Title of class)
Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
Yes o No x
Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.
Yes o No x
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes x No o
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes x No o
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a 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 oAccelerated filer o
Non-accelerated filerxSmaller reporting company x
Emerging growth company x
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 13(a) of the Exchange Act. o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. o

If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statement. o

Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b). o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). YES NO x

The aggregate market value of Class A common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant computed by reference to the price of the registrant’s Class A common stock as of the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter (based on the last reported sale price on The Nasdaq Global Select Market as of such date) was $28,178,899.
The number of shares of the registrant’s Class A common stock, par value $0.01, outstanding as of February 28, 2024 was 37,187,884.
The number of shares of the registrant’s Class B common stock, par value $0.01, outstanding as of February 28, 2024 was 5,309,529.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement relating to its 2024 Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be filed with the SEC within 120 days after the end of the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023 are incorporated herein by reference in Part III.


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FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements. We intend such forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe harbor provisions for forward-looking statements contained in Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act. All statements other than statements of historical facts contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K may be forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terms such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “expects,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “could,” “intends,” “targets,” “projects,” “contemplates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “forecasts,” “predicts,” “potential” or “continue” or the negative of these terms or other similar expressions. Forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K include, but are not limited to, statements regarding:
our business strategy for our Growth Direct platform and systems;
our future results of operations and financial position, including our expectations regarding revenue, gross margin, operating expenses and ability to generate positive cash flow;
our expectations and assumptions related to our future funding requirements and available capital resources, which may be impacted by market uptake of our Growth Direct system, our management of inventory and supply chain, our capital expenditures, our research and development activities and the expansion of our sales, marketing, manufacturing and distribution capabilities;
our ability to maintain and expand our customer base for our Growth Direct platform and systems;
the effectiveness of enhancements of sales force and our sales processes;
anticipated trends and growth rates in our business and in the markets in which we operate;
our research and development activities and prospective new features, products and product approvals;
our ability to anticipate market needs and successfully develop new and enhanced solutions to meet those needs, including prospective products;
our ability to hire and retain necessary qualified employees to grow our business and expand our operations;
our expectations regarding the potential impact of inflation and fluctuations in interest rates on our business and operating costs;
our ability to remain in compliance with the listing requirements of the Nasdaq Global Select Market;
our expectations regarding the potential impact of ongoing conditions in the financial markets and banking system on our operations and financial results; and
our ability to adequately protect our intellectual property.
We caution you that the foregoing list may not contain all of the forward-looking statements made in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. We have based these forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations and projections about future events and financial trends that we believe may affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, the important factors discussed in Part I, Item 1A, “Risk Factors” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023.
You should read this Annual Report on Form 10-K and the documents that we reference herein and have filed as exhibits with the understanding that our actual future results, levels of activity, performance and achievements may be materially different from what we expect. We caution you not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements,
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which speak only as of the date hereof. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise, except as required by law.
TRADEMARKS
Solely for convenience, our trademarks and trade names in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are referred to without the ® and ™ symbols, but such references should not be construed as any indicator that we will not assert, to the fullest extent under applicable law, our rights thereto.
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SUMMARY RISK FACTORS

Our business is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, including those described in Part I, Item 1A. “Risk Factors” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. You should carefully consider these risks and uncertainties as part of your evaluation of an investment in our Class A common stock. The principal risks and uncertainties affecting our business include, but are not limited to, the following:
We have incurred significant losses since inception, we expect to incur losses in the future and we may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to achieve and maintain profitability;
Our limited operating history makes it difficult to evaluate our future prospects and the risks and challenges we may encounter;
Our business depends on the commercial success of our Growth Direct platform, which may not be achieved or maintained;
Our operating results have fluctuated significantly in the past and will fluctuate significantly in the future, which makes our future operating results difficult to predict and could cause our operating results to fall below expectations;
We have in the past and may in the future fail to meet our publicly announced guidance or other expectations about our business and future operating results, which could adversely affect our business, reputation and financial results and cause our stock price to decline;
If we cannot maintain the level of sales of our Growth Direct systems or the sales of our consumables and service contracts to existing customers declines, our future operating results would be adversely affected;
We may need to raise additional capital to fund our existing operations, improve our platform or develop and commercialize new products or expand our operations;
Our business relies heavily on establishing and maintaining our position in the market as a leading provider of automated microbial quality control, or MQC, testing;
We may not be successful in expanding our business with existing customers and driving adoption of our solutions with new customers;
The size of the markets and forecasts of market growth for automated MQC testing and other of our key performance indicators are based on a number of complex assumptions and estimates, and may be inaccurate;
New product development involves a lengthy and complex process and we may be unable to develop or commercialize products on a timely basis, or at all;
Our customers use our Growth Direct platform as part of their quality control workflow, which is subject to regulation by the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, and other comparable regulatory authorities;
If we are unable to manage our inventory and support demand for existing and future products on the Growth Direct platform, our business could suffer;
We have limited experience in marketing and sales, and if we are unable to improve the effectiveness of our marketing and sales organization to adequately expand our business with new and existing customers and address our customers’ needs or to expand our customer base, our business may be adversely affected;
If we cannot compete successfully, we may be unable to increase or sustain our revenue, or achieve and sustain profitability;
We must develop new products, adapt to rapid and significant technological change and respond to introductions of new products by competitors to remain competitive;
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Due to the significant resources required to enable access in new markets, we must make strategic and operational decisions to prioritize certain markets, products and services. We may expend our resources to access markets and develop products and services that do not yield meaningful revenue or we may fail to capitalize on markets, products or services that may be more profitable or with a greater potential for success;
The Growth Direct platform may contain undetected errors or defects and may not meet the expectations of our customers, which means our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could suffer;
Potential product liability lawsuits against us could cause us to incur substantial liabilities and limit commercialization of any products that we may develop;
If we lose key management, cannot recruit qualified employees, directors, officers or other significant personnel or experience increases in our compensation costs, our business may be materially harmed;
If our primary manufacturing and development facility becomes damaged or inoperable or we are required to vacate our existing facility, our ability to conduct and pursue our manufacturing and development efforts will be jeopardized;
Our manufacturing operations are dependent upon third-party suppliers, including single-source suppliers, making us vulnerable to supply shortages and price fluctuations, which could harm our business;
If we are unable to obtain and maintain sufficient intellectual property protection for our technology, including the Growth Direct platform, 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 may be impaired;
Patent terms may be inadequate to protect our competitive position on our products for an adequate amount of time;
The market price of our Class A common stock has been and may continue to be volatile and fluctuate substantially, which could result in substantial losses for our stockholders;
If our Class A common stock is delisted from the Nasdaq Stock Market, the liquidity of our Class A common stock would be adversely affected and the market price of our common stock could decrease; and
We have been, and may continue to be, subject to the actions of activist shareholders or unsolicited acquisition proposals, which could cause us to incur substantial costs, divert management’s and the board’s attention and resources, and have an adverse effect on our business and stock price.
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PART I
Item 1. Business.
Defining the future of pharmaceutical quality control
We are leading a global transformation toward fully automated microbial quality control within pharmaceutical manufacturing. Our products safeguard the most complex and critical bioprocessing workflows in the industry, enabling faster, safer, and higher capacity drug production. Through our unique expertise at the intersection of microbiology, robotic systems, and advanced vision algorithms, we are setting the foundation for end-to-end quality control automation to enable the future of advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing.
Overview
We are an innovative life sciences technology company providing mission critical automation solutions to facilitate the efficient manufacturing and fast, safe release of healthcare products such as biologics and cell and gene therapies, vaccines, and sterile injectables. Our flagship Growth Direct platform automates and modernizes the antiquated, manual microbial quality control, or MQC, testing workflows used in the largest and most complex pharmaceutical manufacturing operations across the globe. The Growth Direct platform brings the quality control lab to the manufacturing floor, unlocking the power of MQC automation to deliver the faster results, greater accuracy, increased operational efficiency, better compliance with data integrity regulations, and quicker decision making that our customers rely on to ensure safe, consistent and timely supply of important healthcare products.
Our Growth Direct platform is the only fully automated, high-throughput and secure MQC solution. Developed with over 15 years of active feedback from our customers, Growth Direct was purpose-built to meet the MQC challenges posed by the increasing scale, complexity, and regulatory scrutiny confronting global pharmaceutical manufacturers. Our platform delivers the robust and scalable automation necessary to support rapidly expanding demand for novel and complex therapeutic modalities, such as biologics and cell and gene therapies, vaccines, and sterile injectables. Our systems are designed to absorb and automate the vast majority of daily MQC test volume in any pharmaceutical manufacturing facility and can be operated in networked fleets of multiple systems per facility or campus to scale up with high-volume manufacturing.
Our Growth Direct platform improves the traditional MQC process, maintaining the fundamental trusted method of MQC testing involving growth-based detection of viable organisms, but applying advanced robotic automation, powerful optical imaging, algorithmic vision analysis, and data management to render it more scalable and efficient for the future of advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing. Our proprietary technology works by replacing human counting of growing colonies with software and algorithm detection and counting based on image analysis. We exploit the natural autofluorescent properties of microbial organisms to count microcolonies by detecting minute changes to their brightness over time using proprietary vision algorithms, without any new reagents or additional sample prep. Our system wraps this core detection technology with fully automated, high-volume, walk-away robotic sample handling and incubation, locked behind a secured interface that enables compliance with data integrity regulations.
We believe the MQC market is poised for disruption and modernization via the widespread deployment of our Growth Direct platform, and we are on a mission to transform the MQC test market by standardizing on our fully automated solution.
The Growth Direct platform fully automates and digitizes the process of pharmaceutical MQC and enables our customers to perform this critical testing process more efficiently, accurately, and securely. Our platform comprises the Growth Direct system, proprietary consumables, lab information management system, or LIMS, connection software, and comprehensive customer support and validation services. Our Growth Direct system is a fully automated, high throughput instrument for daily processing of MQC samples using our proprietary consumables—a microbiology quality control lab "in a box." We have achieved an automated method that is faster and produces more accurate, reliable and accessible data than the traditional method. The Growth Direct platform delivers results in half the time or less compared to the traditional method, and with its higher testing throughputs and capacity can absorb the vast majority of daily MQC testing in any facility. Our system increases accuracy and efficiency through full automation of the MQC process. Customers depend on Growth Direct’s robust security, connectivity, and data integrity capabilities, reinforced by its high reliability.
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We believe we are the first company to solve the existing barriers to MQC automation. Our product platform reflects our expertise at innovating and integrating across multiple technology disciplines, including systems design, robotic handling, microbiology, optical imaging, software image analysis, data management and security, and process automation. Our business was specifically built to meet the needs of pharmaceutical manufacturing and has developed a track record of delivering reliable results for our customers, which is why we believe we are the trusted standard in microbial automation.
We employ direct commercial and service teams that drive the adoption of our products globally. We create a superior user experience from pre-sales, to onboarding, consultative validation services, onsite technical training, and continued customer support throughout our relationship. We have a scalable commercial infrastructure including a direct sales force in North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region as well as distributors supporting certain territories. This is supplemented with an extensive and highly specialized customer service and validation infrastructure. This infrastructure ensures successful on-boarding of the Growth Direct through both initial validation and follow-on purchases throughout the entire customer site network, where the highest volume sites may require dozens of Growth Direct systems. We currently have customers across approximately 85 sites in 14 countries and the majority of our customers have multiple Growth Direct systems and have deployed Growth Direct across multiple facility locations.
We launched our current, second generation Growth Direct system in 2017 and have placed 141 systems and sold over 4.5 million consumables globally. Our customer base includes 70% of the top twenty largest pharmaceutical companies as measured by revenue and the manufacturers of approximately 24% of globally approved cell and gene therapies, including 100% of approved gene-modified autologous CAR-T cell therapies. Once installed and validated in our customers’ facilities, Growth Direct provides for recurring revenues through ongoing consumables and service contracts.
We seek to establish Growth Direct as the trusted global standard in automated MQC by delivering the speed, accuracy, security, data integrity and regulatory compliance that our customers depend on to ensure patient safety and consistent drug supply.
Industry background and challenges
MQC overview
MQC is the principal method by which pharmaceutical manufacturers ensure the ongoing sterility of their facilities and finished products by detecting and stopping contamination from any outside microorganisms, such as bacteria, mold, and other foreign substances. MQC is a critical component of the bioprocess and pharmaceutical production process and is regulated and mandated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or the FDA, under current good manufacturing practices, or cGMP, and by other international regulatory agencies. Current MQC testing methods are manual, laborious, and have lacked innovation over the past several decades.
To guarantee the quality of the end products and the safety of patients who receive them, pharmaceutical manufacturers must ensure that their products are free of potentially harmful microbial contamination. This requirement creates a considerable operational challenge, as the natural environment is rife with microorganisms that could pose serious risk to patients should they transit into these clean rooms and contaminate any aspect of the manufacturing process. Consequently, pharmaceutical companies must maintain strict sterility control in their manufacturing facilities by vigilantly monitoring their sites, equipment, drug inputs and finished drugs, and responding quickly to any microbial contamination. This is accomplished through MQC testing, which generally encompasses four specific applications for testing of microbial contamination:
Environmental Monitoring (EM)—tests the manufacturing environment, including circulating air, exposed surfaces, and personnel, and represents approximately 65-70% of global MQC test volume;
Water (W)—tests any purified water used at any stage of the drug production process, including water for injection, or WFI, and represents approximately 15% of global MQC test volume;
In-Process Bioburden (BB)—tests raw materials, drug substance and in-process product, and represents approximately 15% of global MQC test volume; and
Sterility Release (ST)—final testing of finished product to ensure sterility before the product is released for commercial sale, and represents less than 5% of global MQC test volume.
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MQC testing occurs at high volumes due to its importance across all dimensions of a pharmaceutical manufacturing operation and must be executed daily and implemented across all production lines. As a result, pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities may conduct as many as tens of thousands to over one million tests per year.
Legacy MQC techniques and key challenges
The traditional method of MQC testing involves detection of viable organisms by a process known as “growth promotion.” In this process, samples are collected from a manufacturing site (e.g., on equipment, water, raw materials) and deposited by various methods onto plates with a matrix (typically agar) containing growth media with nutrients that encourage microbial growth. These plates are hand-labeled, inventoried, and physically transported to a centralized MQC lab. The plates are incubated under various conditions favorable for microbial growth; a manufacturing operation may simultaneously maintain multiple different incubation conditions and processes. If the original sample is contaminated with microbial organisms, the transferred organisms will divide and expand on the test plate, eventually forming visible colonies on the surface of the growth media. Technicians inspect these plates manually, counting colonies and recording their counts by hand. Visualization of colonies indicates the original presence of viable—that is, living—organisms from the sampled location or substance, and a likely microbial contamination for investigation and remediation.
The traditional method poses several operational problems:
Delayed results — Colonies must grow to a certain size, typically around 10 million cells, before the human eye is able to detect them. Across the range of organisms and incubation protocols that facilities handle, this growth time can range from 5-14 days. Until then, no definitive result can be determined, which delays any dependent processes.
Test subjectivity — Once growth has occurred, a human operator will count the colonies and decide whether the number of colonies meets or exceeds their organization’s threshold for remediation. However, colonies can grow together or overlap completely, or can be mistaken for other artifacts, confounding operators’ ability to generate an accurate, subjective count, especially given the fact that human operators typically only check plates a few times during the incubation cycle.
Vulnerability to errors — Operators must manually categorize, label, track and manage numerous plates through a complex multi-step, multi-day process of incubation and analysis, risking the loss or mishandling of samples. Manual analysis of samples also requires human data collection and entry, introducing risk of mistakes during recording and transcription of data.
Lack of data integrity and audit controls — The manual, traditional method of data handling faces challenges in meeting the current regulatory standards requiring data integrity. Current processes, which are often paper-based, introduce risk of erroneous or fraudulent data as critical data entry points are reliant on the experience, state of mind, and motives of the individual recording them.
Laborious process — Manual growth promotion is a labor-intensive, multi-step process that requires operators to cycle samples through incubators multiple times per day as they check for growth and often requires physical transport from a manufacturing facility to a centralized lab.
Lapses in traditional MQC processes and potential contamination have resulted in increased regulatory scrutiny and organizational risk, leading to lengthy regulatory investigations and costly enforcement actions in addition to product loss and resulting lost revenue.
In the last several years alone, there have been numerous publicized incidents involving leading pharmaceutical companies that highlight the risk of poorly controlled, manual MQC testing and protocols, resulting in lengthy site closures, and complete response letters, or CRLs, resulting in delays to product approvals.
Furthermore, regulatory compliance pressures in the pharmaceutical industry have generally increased over the past decade. More specifically, the proportion of FDA warning letters containing a data integrity complaint has risen in recent years, as the agency devotes greater attention to that topic. We expect there to be continued regulatory scrutiny as the industry shifts to more complex biological manufacturing and manufacturing returns domestically.
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Key MQC automation growth drivers
We believe several industry trends are driving the need for MQC automation, including:
Increasing regulatory scrutiny — Regulatory compliance pressures in the pharmaceutical industry have increased over the past decade, as mentioned above.
Increasing data integrity scrutiny and need for remote, real-time monitoring of facilities — Facing increased data integrity scrutiny from regulatory authorities in their quality control lab and manufacturing areas, pharmaceutical manufacturers must focus on meeting these regulatory requirements as defined by the FDA and other international regulatory bodies.
Expansion of high-growth biologics and advent of new, more complex therapeutic modalities such as cell and gene therapies — The global prescription drug market is large and growing, driven in part by the rise in the burden of chronic diseases and the growing demand for innovative therapies such as biologics and cell and gene therapies. Biologics and cell and gene therapies require complex multi-step manufacturing processes which demand rapid, efficient automated MQC processes.
Greater efficiency and focus on six sigma lean manufacturing principles — The pharmaceutical industry is under significant pressure to commercialize products faster in order to maximize their patent life. There is continued focus on concepts such as lean manufacturing and six sigma to drive efficiencies in the manufacturing process and a greater emphasis on automating MQC testing to reduce errors and decrease manufacturing lead times and inventory requirements in supply chains.
Rebuilding of domestic growth supply chain / increasing scrutiny of outsourced materials with focus on reshoring drug development process — We believe the reshoring of manufacturing operations will further necessitate the need for efficient automated MQC testing.
Labor shortages — With labor shortages facing many companies in the global pharmaceutical industry, we believe that automated MQC processes can not only make their manufacturing processes more efficient and cost-effective but also help mitigate worker scarcity.
Market opportunity
Our core market of MQC testing encompasses a ubiquitous and high-volume testing process deployed across all pharmaceutical manufacturing operations.

We believe the total addressable market for MQC testing is large and growing, with a projected compound annual growth rate, or CAGR, from 2021 to 2026 of 8% and a CAGR for MQC testing in the field of biologics and cell and gene therapies of over 13%. Based on total global sales of an estimated 10,000 Growth Direct systems and our current pricing for our products, we estimate the market for system sales to be approximately $5.0 billion. In addition, based on an estimate of approximately 350 million tests conducted annually that could be addressed by our MQC testing solutions, we estimate the market for annual recurring sales of our consumables and services to be approximately $5.0 billion.
We are especially focused on serving the high-growth biologics and cell and gene therapy markets, which have the highest MQC testing intensity per batch of manufactured product, and are expected to grow at a faster rate than the broader market. We seek to drive substantial growth by establishing Growth Direct as the standard for MQC automation in advanced bioprocessing for biologics, cell, and gene therapies.
The Growth Direct platform
Our proprietary Growth Direct platform fully automates and digitizes the trusted growth-based method of MQC and enables customers to perform this critical testing process more efficiently, accurately, and securely. Our platform comprises the Growth Direct system, proprietary consumables, LIMS connection and other software, and comprehensive customer support and validation services. The platform’s suite of products reflects our expertise at innovating and integrating across multiple technology disciplines, including systems design, robotic handling, microbiology, optical imaging, image analysis, data management and security, and process automation, and is supported by our unwavering commitment to the highest level of customer support.
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Growth Direct method
The Growth Direct method relies on a fundamental property of all microorganisms—they contain cellular components required for growth, called flavins and flavoproteins, that autofluoresce, or glow, without the addition of reagents under certain frequencies of light. Our proprietary system detects microcolonies of microorganisms by illuminating them with blue-spectrum light and directing the resulting green-spectrum signal onto a Charged-Coupled Device, or CCD, chip—an array of independent photosensitive pixel elements. Our image analysis software interprets these light signals and counts the clusters of illuminated pixels representing each microcolony. The end result is an automated method that is faster and produces more reliable and accessible data than the traditional method. Our Growth Direct platform accelerates time to results by 50% or more compared to the traditional method, and reduces MQC testing to a simple two-step workflow, eliminating up to 85% of the manual steps of traditional MQC, generating significant time, operational, and cost savings for our customers.
System components and workflow
The Growth Direct system comprises two automated and temperature-controlled incubators, robotic sample transport systems, an advanced imaging system, two servers (one for system control, the other for image analysis) and associated hardware and staging required for the handling of up to 700 of our consumables.
The overall workflow of the automated Growth Direct method mirrors traditional visual plate counting assays, allowing for operator familiarity of use, ease of integration into existing MQC protocols, and a streamlined regulatory validation process.
Validation framework
We have demonstrated the accuracy, speed, and reliability of detecting microcolonies using the Growth Direct’s automated image analysis compared to conventional methods through numerous scientific studies.
Accuracy. The Growth Direct is highly accurate. Studies of the Growth Direct comparing its vision-based detection and enumeration of colonies against the MQC gold-standard United States Pharmacopeia, or USP, <61> benchmark reference set of microorganisms demonstrate that the Growth Direct delivers the same results or better as traditional, manual verification of colonies.
Speed. The Growth Direct is faster than the traditional method. Across a range of organisms of interest, the Growth Direct detects colonies in half the time or less compared to the traditional method.
Reliability. The Growth Direct is more reliable than the traditional method for accuracy of organism enumeration. In studies of environmental monitoring plates incubated for five days, which compared Growth Direct’s vision-based detection and enumeration to visual counting conducted by technicians, the Growth Direct regularly identified and counted colonies that technicians missed.
Our Growth Direct platform
We pioneered the Growth Direct platform—a combination of our novel Growth Direct system, proprietary consumables, LIMS connection software, and comprehensive customer support and validation services—to fully automate and digitize the process of MQC in the sterile manufacturing of important health care products.
The Growth Direct system
Our current, second-generation Growth Direct system, launched in 2017, reflects our deep experience with delivering automation to the MQC market. The Growth Direct system is a fully automated, high throughput system for processing MQC samples—a microbiology quality control lab in a box. The Growth Direct system contains two high-capacity incubators, an advanced imaging system and internal robotics for sample handling. The system enables walk-away bulk sample loading, holding 700 of our consumables per system. Its dual, independently controlled incubators automatically manage multi-temperature incubation protocols. Onboard imaging and vision software detects and counts microbial growth, delivering test results in half the time of the manual method. The system’s compact 57” x 39” x 95” size delivers these benefits in a footprint that allows customers to place the Growth Direct system directly in manufacturing suites of various sizes compared to the traditional method, where samples are often required to be transferred to a centralized lab.
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Co-location in manufacturing minimizes delays to incubation and errors introduced by sample transfer to the quality control lab. The Growth Direct system brings the lab to the manufacturing floor, for automated MQC testing, anywhere in the facility or manufacturing campus.
Proprietary consumables
We offer two proprietary consumables plates to capture test samples for analysis on the Growth Direct: (1) an Environmental Monitoring, or EM, consumable and (2) a Water / Bioburden, or W/BB, consumable. Both types are custom-designed proprietary consumables with specific mechanical and optical features to facilitate automated handling and image processing within our Growth Direct system and have bar codes for tracking and data integrity. Two bar codes are used—one applied during our manufacturing process to define the media type and expiration dates, and a second that is generated by the Growth Direct system at time of testing that defines the sample ID and LIMS number. The consumables incorporate multiple standard media for each application as both products are based on the traditional growth-based method.
In addition, we are preparing for the commercial launch of our proprietary growth-based rapid automated sterility test for use on the Growth Direct system by mid-year 2024. This new test will leverage our existing Growth Direct platform technology, providing customers with all the benefits they are accustomed to with the Growth Direct system. These benefits include full automation, enhanced data integrity, reduced human error and lower hands-on labor costs.
Sterility testing is utilized for final release testing in any facility that manufactures sterile products such as biologics and sterile injectables, as a final quality check before shipment. The traditional sterility test utilizes a growth method that requires at least 14 days to deliver final results, during which time dependent manufacturing steps are paused or proceed at risk, or final products are held in inventory. Similarly, autologous cell therapies require collection of patient tissue, ex vivo manipulation of these cells, and delivery via reinjection into patients — all steps which must be conducted within approximately two weeks, which the traditional method of sterility testing exceeds, causing delays or requiring release of the product at risk.
We expect our new rapid sterility test to deliver time to organism detection, or TTD, in as little as 12 hours and final time-to-result, or TTR, in as little as one to three days, enabling faster release of final pharmaceutical product, allowing manufacturers to benefit from faster time to market, less potential waste and reduced inventory and holding costs. This represents a significant improvement over widely used traditional test methods and provides compelling differentiation when compared to current rapid sterility products. The TTR and TTD data for our new rapid sterility test were obtained from testing of an expanded panel of stressed microorganisms most commonly found in biomanufacturing environments, inclusive of the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP)<71> microorganisms. Our test has been designed to meet a limit of detection of one colony forming unit (CFU) as directed by USP<1223>.

The program to develop our new rapid sterility test was historically supported by contract funding from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Biomedical Advanced Research & Development Authority, or BARDA, which is supporting the development of improvements in vaccine production methods that accelerate the availability of vaccines against viruses with pandemic potential. The contract funding with BARDA ended in December 2021.
Growth Direct LIMS connection software
Our Growth Direct software allows for two-way integration to a customer's LIMS, enabling a fully paperless workflow. The bi-directional LIMS connection uses the widely supported comma-separated values, or CSV, file format to communicate, delivering compatibility with all existing LIMS. The connection supports the use of LIMS for Growth Direct-created barcodes that are applied to our consumables. After sampling, the consumables are loaded into the Growth Direct system, which performs the incubation, detection and enumeration of colonies. Final results are automatically uploaded to the LIMS. This eliminates the risk of human error that could arise from manually entering the results, while improving efficiency. Moreover, the LIMS connection eliminates the need to use paper in the lab and delivers information to stakeholders in a secure manner, designed to enable compliance with data integrity regulations.
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Our service team works directly with customers’ IT teams to help integrate Growth Direct software into their LIMS for seamless connectivity.
Validation services
As part of our customer support experience, we offer full validation support to ensure customer success with the Growth Direct platform. Through this offering, we help our customers validate their Growth Direct system for full routine use faster, typically in just three to nine months after the Growth Direct system is placed and installed, and develop confidence in the operation of our platform.
Support begins prior to system purchase when our sales representative brings in one of our validation experts for consultation about specific application requirements. Our validation team offers a complete array of documents and services to support validation efforts, including:
Installation Qualification
Operational Qualification
Performance Qualification
Time-To-Results Qualification
21 CFR Part 11 Assessment
Method Qualification/Method Suitability
Once initial systems are validated, our customized validation approach allows customers to quickly validate follow-on systems through a Technical Transfer Method, facilitating faster adoption throughout their site network.
Customer support
We offer full 24/7 maintenance support via annual service contracts. Purchase of the Growth Direct system comes with a one-year warranty, after which customers may purchase annual service contracts. Our maintenance support package offers access to a staffed online and phone help desk with knowledge base, remote management and troubleshooting, and a 24-hour response time from our on-site field service engineer team.
Key advantages of our Growth Direct platform
We believe that several factors differentiate our technology and will continue to be significant drivers of customer adoption of Growth Direct:
Faster Results at Higher Testing Throughputs and Capacity — The Growth Direct platform uniquely combines superior detection and enumeration capabilities—translating to accurate results in half the time or less compared to the traditional method—with a high-throughput, 700-sample total capacity form factor. This allows Growth Direct to offer a large-volume automated testing solution that allows for fewer investigations, more targeted interventions, and more uptime for manufacturers, thereby saving time and money.
Increased Accuracy through Automation — The automation of both sample handling and enumeration virtually eliminates human errors from the MQC process. Samples are transferred automatically at the right time, reducing the risk of sample loss, misplacement or mislabeling. The Growth Direct platform also more reliably distinguishes distinct colonies, hence avoiding the subjectivity that human operators introduce through visual inspection of plates.
Increased Process Efficiency — Faster time to results means faster decision-making and intervention in the event of contamination, preventing production of contaminated batches, and reducing waste and overproduction. Meanwhile, elimination of unnecessary manual labor allows skilled MQC specialists to spend time on test design, interventions, standard operating procedure, or SOP, updates and other critical tasks.
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Robust Security and Connectivity — The Growth Direct platform can integrate with existing LIMS, allowing for seamless data transfer from the system to the LIMS. This connection not only makes it easier for quality control personnel to handle and process their testing data, but it also allows other stakeholders to instantly access information critical to continued production.
Superior Data Integrity — By maintaining accurate, complete, and intact records within their original context, the Growth Direct platform is designed to ensure the trustworthiness of data. Moreover, data reside in permanent form for the lifetime of the record, easily accessible to authorized users, which allows operators to analyze trends over time for timely, cost-saving decision-making. The system is designed to enable compliance with industry data integrity standards such as 21 CFR Part 11, which sets forth the FDA’s standards for electronic records and electronic signatures.
High Reliability with Clear Path to Validation — The Growth Direct platform delivers the reliability that customers need for their mission-critical manufacturing processes, with a consistent record of uptime in live production use. Our platform’s reliability is further supported by our 24/7 support infrastructure and extensive regulatory validation services to ensure quick and seamless integration with customer’s facilities and IT systems.
Competitive strengths
We believe our continued growth will be driven by the following competitive strengths.
Our proprietary technology platform offering best-in-class automated and secure MQC testing — Our platform was purpose built to meet the growing demands posed by the increasing scale, complexity, and regulatory scrutiny of global pharmaceutical manufacturing. We believe that our Growth Direct platform leads the industry in throughput, accuracy, reliability, security, and data integrity. Compared to the traditional method, our Growth Direct platform accelerates time to results by 50% or more, and reduces MQC testing to a simple two-step workflow, eliminating 85% of the manual steps of traditional MQC, generating significant time, operational, and cost savings for our customers. The Growth Direct platform is backed by our comprehensive validation and value-added service offerings, which create a continuous, positive touch point with our customers. Altogether, we believe our technology and service platform best address the growing needs of our customers.
Our investment and patent-protected innovation across multiple technology disciplines — Our platform reflects our expertise at innovating and integrating across multiple technology disciplines, including systems design, robotic handling, microbiology, optical imaging, software image analysis, data management and security, and process automation. Through multiple years of development and investments from both investors and institutional partners, we have amassed a set of technologies that form the foundation of our growing suite of products and solutions. We also believe that our first mover advantage in automated MQC testing reinforces our growing position in this market, with over 15 years of customer development and feedback, technical development, advocacy, and customer success. We continue to focus on investing in our business and have a well-defined product roadmap which includes development of new, innovative products, as well as advancements to our existing suite of technologies. Moreover, we have a strong intellectual property portfolio, including at least 95 granted and pending patents globally with eight unexpired U.S. granted patents and 14 U.S. pending patent applications as of December 31, 2023.
Top-tier customers establishing Growth Direct as an industry standard globally — We have cultivated long-standing and collaborative relationships with our significant and growing customer base. We originally developed our platform in close collaboration with our customers, and our customers’ success in validating our technology constitutes a major driver for platform deployment. Moreover, our comprehensive validation, value-added service, and customer support offerings create a continuous touch point with our customers, cementing the value and integration of our products. Through these efforts, we deliver high quality experiences at every step of the customer journey which creates and strengthens our customer loyalty.
Deep integration into heavily regulated pharmaceutical manufacturing processes — Our products are entrenched within our customers’ workflows and the majority of our customers have purchased multiple systems and 40% have them at multiple locations. For every drug product manufactured or in development, our customers are required to establish a validated QC process that they can execute consistently and reliably.
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Customers typically dismantle manual testing infrastructure after switching to our platform, creating enormous costs to switch away from our systems that are amplified by the network effect of linked systems and data aggregation across customer sites. Since initial installation, our relentless focus on providing robust validation support ensures assimilation of our platform into our customers’ standard operating procedures, further contributing to customer captivity. We believe that our first-mover advantage has further enabled us to become deeply rooted within our customer’s facilities and provide for ongoing opportunity with our existing customer base.
Our highly attractive business model that leverages our growing installed base of systems to generate persistent recurring revenues through consumables and service contracts — Our Growth Direct provides for recurring revenues through ongoing consumables and service contracts. When our customers invest in our technology, they commit to a long-term use of our products. Our customers regularly purchase our proprietary consumables to perform MQC testing and maintain their systems via annual service contracts. Our products are used daily in our customer’s facilities and their key workflows, reinforced by regulatory requirements that are driving the industry towards further automation. Once validated, additional systems can be deployed to absorb the majority of test volume in a facility. Moreover, once a Growth Direct system is installed within a customer’s facility, it provides for an opportunity to place additional systems in existing and new facilities, which can be installed and validated in a faster, more efficient manner given the comprehensive validation process for the initial system.
Ability to leverage our extensive regulatory expertise to better serve our customers’ needs — We believe we are a thought-leader with respect to regulatory requirements. We have a long history engaging with the major regulatory bodies in our industry, such as the FDA and the European Medicines Agency, or EMA, some of whom are also our customers. Our regulatory strategy has benefited our business in several ways, including: 1) by achieving the definition of the Growth Direct Technology as an “automated compendial validation” in key trade group and regulatory issuances, such as the Parenteral Drug Association, or PDA, Technical Report 33, and USP chapter <1223>; 2) by working with industry and regulatory forums to define a fast validation strategy that allows a short timeline routine testing implementation, which is described in a case study written by us and several of our customers and published in the PDA Journal of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology in November 2022; and 3) and by helping our customers obtain regulatory acceptance from the FDA and EMA for the use of our technology and validation strategy for new drug applications with the bioburden application (environmental monitoring and water do not need regulatory license changes). Our technology has also been audited regularly by regulatory inspectors as part of routine audits of customer sites, with no citations received to date. Historically, we also secured substantial long-term government contracts from BARDA to support development of our rapid sterility kit as part of a partnership concerning areas of shared strategic interest regarding accelerated pandemic vaccine release.
Our experienced management team and workforce with deep domain knowledge — Our management team combines strong subject matter expertise with a demonstrated history of commercial and operational execution. Moreover, our workforce has deep domain knowledge across a range of healthcare, technology and business disciplines, which we believe drives our continued commercial success. We have supplemented our diverse technical experience by assembling an operational team with expertise in manufacturing, legal, sales, marketing, customer service and finance. We believe this confluence of talent from multiple disciplines allows us to stay ahead of our competitors by identifying highly impactful opportunities and building products and solutions that address these opportunities.
Our growth strategy
We aim to position the Growth Direct platform as the industry standard for automated MQC testing. We believe we can achieve this through the following key growth strategies.

Leverage our first-mover advantage and our industry leadership to cement Growth Direct as the new standard of MQC automation in the rapidly growing bioprocessing market, including biologics and cell and gene therapy manufacturing — Our MQC process automation platform is particularly well-suited to the manufacturing of biologics and cell and gene therapies. Some of these products are manufactured in a highly modularized fashion where each manufacturing batch often represents an individual dose to a specific patient. These therapies are therefore exceedingly valuable, and the manufacturing methods to produce them are time-sensitive and exposed to outsized risk of contamination given the amount of material handling and process change-over. We have demonstrated the value of our platform in cell
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and gene therapy manufacturing with our early success in converting customers in this segment. Furthermore, companies in this space are developing new approaches to manufacture these complex products, including novel facility layouts, new processes and workflows, and new quality and risk management frameworks. We intend to capitalize on our first-mover advantage to define the standard of MQC automation in this growing market by moving upstream in the cell and gene therapy manufacturing design practice, creating thought leadership on MQC automation in cell and gene therapy manufacturing, partnering with facility design firms who specialize in manufacturing infrastructure for these modalities, and targeting contract development and manufacturing organizations, or CDMOs, contract manufacturing organizations, or CMOs, and contract research organizations, or CROs, with significant exposure to this segment.
Drive new customer adoption of the Growth Direct platform by converting the leading manufacturers in our core markets, including top 50 pharmaceutical companies and leading CDMOs — With the launch of our latest generation Growth Direct in 2017, 40 global customers have adopted the Growth Direct platform to automate MQC testing in 85 manufacturing facilities. We intend to drive global adoption by broadly seeking new customers in our core pharmaceutical manufacturing end markets. Our primary focus is on influential high-volume top 50 pharmaceutical companies as measured by revenue and global contract manufacturing organizations, which provide manufacturing services directly to pharmaceutical companies. Our target geographies include North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region.
Expand implementation of the Growth Direct platform within our existing customer base by deploying additional systems across their global manufacturing site network and driving increased application utilization and consumable pull through on a system-by-system basis — We pursue a land-and-expand strategy to drive broad global adoption of our systems. Our approach begins by placing initial systems within our customers’ global manufacturing network. The majority of our customers, which comprise 70% of the top twenty global pharmaceutical companies as measured by revenue, have global operations with multiple manufacturing facilities. We guide these initial sites as they gain experience with the Growth Direct, assisting their validation of initial applications, proving the value of our systems, and establishing a relationship as a trusted and reliable vendor. Our system is specifically designed to absorb the daily MQC testing volume at our customer’s facilities. We then sell additional systems to support additional suites at existing sites as well as leverage our high customer satisfaction at existing facilities to drive adoption at new sites within our customers’ global manufacturing network. The majority of our customers have multiple Growth Direct systems and have deployed Growth Direct across multiple facility locations. We accomplish this expansion via direct peer-to-peer selling facilitated by our commercial team, and seek to partner with executive decision makers to execute global customer rollout agreements. We simultaneously drive increased utilization on a system-by-system basis by providing our customers our full suite of applications that can be validated and used on the Growth Direct platform. Moreover, our customers’ strong desire to globally standardize and harmonize their MQC operations provides us a direct opportunity to grow with them, and after validating their first system we are able to install and validate more systems globally for them much faster given the initial validation process.
Increase the value of our platform by innovating and launching new applications, hardware, and software products that deliver the power of integrated automation across our customers’ QC workflows — We believe the depth, scalability and robust capabilities of our Growth Direct platform allow us to uniquely address key challenges facing MQC testing in the pharmaceutical industry. As an innovative leader in automatic MQC testing, we intend to invest in further enhancements in our existing platform as well as end-to-end workflow solutions in our core market. We have a well-defined roadmap for our existing products, which includes new consumables to expand our platform’s MQC testing applications, such as in sterility testing; improvements to on-board algorithms that enable greater insight from our image analysis, such as our RMBNucleus™ Mold Alarm software; additional imaging modalities to unlock new testing functionality; additional system formats to accommodate new customer use cases; and new software to enable fleet management and analytics. Our product roadmap also includes new products to automate upstream and downstream workflow elements, such as microbial identification and automated sample collection, and data-rich products including data management, fleet integration, and predictive analytics. By expanding and continuously enhancing the Growth Direct platform, we believe we can drive incremental revenue from existing customers as well as broaden the appeal of our solutions to potential new customers.
Pursue opportunistic strategic investments, partnerships, and acquisitions — Our strong growth to date has been entirely organic as we continue to add customers to our growing install base of Growth Direct users, while also expanding our consumables and product offering to those customers. At the appropriate stage, we may consider opportunistic investments, partnerships, and acquisitions which may strengthen our product platform, allow us to enter new markets, and enhance our growth profile.
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Commercial
We have a global commercial team that includes direct sales, commercial operations, validation, field services, strategic marketing, marketing communications and product management. This staff is located in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, and we also maintain direct customer support teams providing validation and/or field service capabilities in these territories. We intend to expand our sales, support, and marketing efforts in the future by expanding our direct footprint in North America and Europe as well as developing a comprehensive distribution and support network in the Asia-Pacific region and other markets where new opportunities exist.
We increase awareness of our products among our target customers through direct sales calls, trade shows, seminars, academic conferences, web presence, social media and other forms of internet marketing. We supplement these traditional marketing efforts by fostering an active community of users of our products through user groups, our customer advisory board, forums and blogs with internally generated and user-generated content.
We employ a high-touch, customer-centric commercial approach focused on maximizing customer success. After a system sale is closed, our team works closely with customers to install systems and provide on-site validation and training support. We focus on supporting our customer’s transition to an automated MQC protocol and aim to ensure customer success in routine use. We maintain high customer satisfaction through a robust service and maintenance offering, including online phone and help desk, remote support and on-site field service.
Gross margin improvement
The majority of our customers are large global pharmaceutical manufacturers and CDMOs. In order to meet the expectations of our customers, we have made significant investments to build infrastructure and develop capabilities in areas such as procurement, manufacturing, distribution, quality and after sales service. Given our current business scale, our revenues are not yet sufficient to fully cover these costs, impacting our current gross margin profile.
In order to improve our gross margins, we are actively targeting numerous areas including:

Reducing instrument and consumable product costs (materials and labor) through activities including strategic sourcing and product redesign;

Increasing product manufacturing efficiency through activities including increased throughput on our automated consumables manufacturing line and manufacturing process optimization; and

Increasing productivity and efficiency in our service organization.

At the same time, we also expect future revenues from both products and services to grow at rates significantly higher than the costs related to providing and supporting those products and services. As a result, we also expect increasing revenues from both products and services to contribute significantly to future gross margin expansion.
Manufacturing and supply
Our primary manufacturing facility is located in Lowell, Massachusetts. The facility has over 67,000 square feet, with 20,000 square feet of manufacturing floor space that houses multiple manufacturing spaces and functions, including assembly of Growth Direct systems, an International Organization for Standardization (ISO)-8 cleanroom with ISO-5 laminar flow hoods for consumable manufacturing, and dedicated areas for media preparation. The facility has robust quality control from materials receiving to product distribution. In addition to our primary manufacturing facility, we have a back-up manufacturing facility for consumables in Lexington, Massachusetts.
We believe that our manufacturing capacity is sufficient to meet our near-term growth targets for both systems and consumables. Our consumables manufacturing operation, in particular, is designed to meet the demands of high-volume media supply necessary to serve our market. It is centered around a state-of-the-art automated production line that we believe has enough capacity to support near and medium-term growth. To support continuous supply for our customers, we have manufacturing redundancies and maintain inventory in multiple locations, including our Lowell facility, a second redundant storage location in the metropolitan Boston area, and at our third-party logistics, or 3PL, warehouses in Schiphol, Netherlands and Frankfurt, Germany.
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Our manufacturing strategy includes direct manufacturing of certain products, and third-party outsourcing for certain components and subassemblies. We obtain components and subassemblies for our Growth Direct systems from multiple third-party suppliers and contract manufacturers. While some of these components are sourced from a single supplier, we have qualified second sources for most of our parts. We believe that having dual sources for our components helps reduce the risk of a production delay caused by a disruption in the supply of those components. We perform final assembly, commissioning, and inspection of the systems in our Lowell facility before shipping to customers. Our consumable plate assemblies and lids are manufactured to our specifications by manufacturing partners. We procure media from third-party suppliers and fill and assemble the final consumables in our Lowell facility. We contract with third party vendors to sterilize our consumables before shipping to customers.
We continue to invest in our manufacturing capabilities to enhance our current capabilities, to increase capacity ahead of future growth, to ensure continuity of supply, and to make order fulfillment consistent and convenient for our customers. Our future manufacturing plans may include expansion of our existing facilities, additional global sites, additional automation lines, and further manufacturing redundancy plans. We are continually evaluating our supply chain and may proactively optimize certain aspects of our manufacturing and supply chain footprint to meet our business objectives.
License agreement
License agreement with Thermo Fisher
In May 2013, we entered into a patent license agreement, or the Thermo Fisher license agreement, with Thermo CRS, Ltd., or Thermo Fisher, pursuant to which we obtained a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-bearing, non-sublicensable license under Thermo Fisher’s patent rights relating to robotic devices. Pursuant to the Thermo Fisher license agreement, we paid Thermo Fisher one-time fees in the aggregate of $125,000 and are also obligated to pay royalties at a fixed dollar amount ranging from the low to mid four figures for our sale of each system containing the licensed products, subject to increase or decrease upon certain events. The Thermo Fisher license agreement will remain in effect until the last to expire of the licensed patent rights in April 2024.
Intellectual property
Our success depends in part on our ability to obtain and maintain intellectual property protection for our products and technology, including by seeking and maintaining patent protection, protecting our trade secrets and other proprietary information, obtaining and maintaining our licenses to use intellectual property owned by third parties, and continually evaluating third-party technologies for further licensing opportunities. We also seek trademark protection where appropriate to protect the names that identify us as the source of our products and services.
We own certain patents, patent applications and intellectual property and license certain patents and other intellectual property from third parties. We have also entered into certain supply and commercial agreements with various vendors and suppliers under which we receive rights to their intellectual property for use in our products. Our material license agreement with Thermo Fisher is described in more detail above.
As of December 31, 2023, we own eight granted unexpired patents in the United States, 50 issued patents in foreign jurisdictions, including Australia, Canada, China, countries in Europe, India, Japan and Mexico, and 14 pending patent applications in the United States. Our issued patents and pending patent applications cover our technologies and products, including machines, manufactures, compositions of matter, and methods of use with respect thereto, related to the Growth Direct platform. Additionally, as of December 31, 2023, we license three issued patents in the United States, Canada and Europe from Thermo Fisher relating to a robotic carousel workstation. The issued patents that we own or that we in-license from Thermo Fisher and any patents that may issue from pending applications that we own have expiration dates or, in the case of patent applications, projected statutory expiration dates, between 2024 and 2043, excluding, with respect to patents that may be issued from our patent applications, any additional term for patent term adjustments or patent term extensions, if applicable.
Competition
As a life sciences technology company, we face competition from a wide array of companies in the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry. This competition includes both small companies and large companies with greater financial and technical resources and longer operating histories than our own.
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The key competitive factors affecting the success of the products that we develop are likely to be the continued growth of our market position, our ability to expand our integration with existing customers, our ability to develop new products and improve our existing products, and our ability to grow our sales and marketing capabilities. Our commercial opportunity for any of our products could be reduced or eliminated if our competitors develop and commercialize products that are more effective, are more convenient, or are less expensive than our products, or if they are able to more effectively integrate their systems with customers before we do.
We primarily compete with established manufacturers of traditional MQC testing products, such as petri dishes, incubators, and other manual testing equipment, which our products aim to displace. These companies include bioMerieux, Becton Dickinson, Charles River Labs, Merck Millipore and Thermo Fisher. We also compete with a limited number of companies that have or are attempting to enter the MQC testing market with alternative automated solutions, such as Interscience, which has developed a partially-automated system for MQC testing. There are also several established companies in the bioprocessing technology market with whom we do not currently compete, but that could develop products that will compete with us in the future.
Many of the established companies have substantially greater financial and other resources than us, including larger research and development teams or more established marketing and sales and commercial teams. Smaller or early-stage companies may also prove to be significant competitors, particularly if they establish collaborative arrangements with large companies. These competitors also compete with us in recruiting and retaining qualified engineering, sales, marketing and management personnel, as well as in acquiring technologies complementary to, or necessary for, our programs.
Seasonality
Our revenues vary from quarter to quarter as a result of factors such as our customers’ budgetary cycles and extended summer vacation periods that can impact our ability to deliver products and provide onsite services to our customers during those periods. We expect this volatility to continue for the foreseeable future, which may cause fluctuations in our operating results and financial metrics.
Government regulation
We provide products and services used for quality-control testing in pharmaceutical product and medical device manufacturing. Although our Growth Direct platform is not directly subject to regulation by the FDA, our customers’ products and product candidates are subject to extensive regulation by the FDA and other federal and state authorities in the United States, as well as comparable authorities in foreign jurisdictions. In the United States, many of our customers’ products are regulated as either medical devices or drugs under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, or the FDCA, and its implementing regulations, or as biological products under the FDCA and the Public Health Service Act, or the PHSA, and their implementing regulations, each as amended and enforced by the FDA. The FDA regulates the development, design, non-clinical and clinical research, manufacturing, safety, efficacy, labeling, packaging, storage, installation, servicing, recordkeeping, premarket clearance or approval, adverse event reporting, advertising, promotion, marketing and distribution, and import and export of medical devices, drugs and biological products to ensure that such products distributed domestically are safe and effective for their intended uses and otherwise meet the applicable requirements of the FDCA and the PHSA. Failure to comply with the applicable U.S. requirements at any time during the product development process, approval process or after approval, may subject an applicant or manufacturer to administrative or judicial civil or criminal sanctions and adverse publicity.
The manufacture of our Growth Direct system and our consumables is subject to compliance with regulatory systems, standards, guidance and other requirements, as appropriate, including, but not limited to, laws and regulations for safe working conditions and certifications from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Our products are also subject to various federal, state, local, and foreign laws, regulations and recommendations, relating to the safe and proper use, transportation and disposal of hazardous or potentially hazardous substances. In addition, U.S. and international import and export laws and regulations, including those enforced by the U.S. Departments of Commerce, State and Treasury and OFAC, require us to abide by certain standards relating to the cross-border transit of finished goods, raw materials and supplies and the handling of related information. Our logistics activities must comply with the rules and regulations of the Department of Transportation, the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, and the Federal Aviation Administration and similar foreign agencies. We are also subject to various other laws and regulations concerning the conduct of our foreign operations, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other anti-bribery laws as well as laws pertaining to the accuracy of our internal books and records. We also contract and may in the future contract with the U.S. government. As such, we are subject to certain laws and regulations applicable to companies
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doing business with the government, as well as with those concerning government contracts, including being subject to potential investigation for compliance with government contract regulations.
Human capital resources
Our key human capital objectives in managing our business include attracting, developing and retaining top talent while integrating diversity, equity and inclusion principles and practices into our core values.
Employees
As of December 31, 2023, we had 193 full-time employees across the globe, of which 41 were engaged in sales and marketing, 37 in research and development, 84 in manufacturing and service, and 31 in general and administrative. None of our employees are covered by a collective bargaining agreement. We consider our relationships with our employees to be good.
Talent Recruitment and Retention
We strive to attract a pool of diverse and exceptional candidates and support their career growth once they become employees. We emphasize in our evaluation and career development efforts internal mobility opportunities to drive professional development for every employee, which we believe also drives our retention efforts. We strive to provide learning opportunities for all our employees through the development of new learning paths, technical on-the-job training, and leadership training. We also provide our employees career development and career paths through internal promotional opportunities, tuition reimbursement and annual performance management processes. For our global managers and directors, we offer training in leadership essentials.
We provide our employees with a competitive employment opportunity through market-based compensation, equity ownership at all levels across the Company, competitive health and welfare benefits including: short-term disability, long-term disability insurance, 401k, employee stock purchase plan (ESPP), pet insurance and paid time off.
Diversity and Inclusion
We value diversity at all levels and continue to focus on expanding our diversity and inclusion initiatives from candidate attraction, employee onboarding and employee experience.

As part of our commitment to diversity and inclusion, we proudly support employee-initiated and -led employee resource groups, or ERGs, to provide business insights, solve unique business problems, build leadership skills, and represent the company within the communities we serve. For example, our Women’s ERG was established in 2021 and focuses on the engagement, empowerment, and elevation of women within the company. Membership is open and encouraged for all employees, of which membership grew by five times in 2023. Examples of program content organized by this ERG include professional career panel discussions with company leaders, attendance sponsorship to leadership conferences such as Massachusetts Conference for Women, company-wide charity drives for local Women’s shelters, and celebration of global events such as International Women’s Day.

Additional information
Rapid Micro Biosystems, Inc., a Delaware corporation, was incorporated in December 2006. We completed the initial public offering of our Class A common stock in July 2021.
Our Internet address is www.rapidmicrobio.com. On our Investor Relations website, investors.rapidmicrobio.com, we make available free of charge a variety of information for investors, including our annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and any amendments to those reports, as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file that material with or furnish it to the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC. The information found on our website is not part of this or any other report we file with, or furnish to, the SEC. In addition, our filings with the SEC may be accessed through the SEC’s Interactive Data Electronic Applications system at www.sec.gov. All statements made in any of our securities filings, including all forward-looking statements or information, are made as of the date of the document in which the statement is included, and we do not assume or undertake any obligation to update any of those statements or documents unless we are required to do so by law.
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Item 1A. Risk Factors.
Our business involves significant risks. Stockholders should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described below and the other information in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Our business, financial condition, results of operations, or prospects could be materially and adversely affected if any of these risks occurs, and as a result, the market price of our Class A common stock could decline and stockholders could lose all or part of their investment. This Annual Report on Form 10-K also contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. See “Forward-Looking Statements.” Our actual results could differ materially and adversely from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of certain important factors, including those set forth below.
Risks Related to Our Financial Position and Need for Capital
We have incurred significant losses since inception, we expect to incur losses in the future and we may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to achieve and maintain profitability.
We have incurred significant losses since our inception. For the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022, we incurred net losses of $52.5 million and $60.8 million, respectively. As of December 31, 2023, we had an accumulated deficit of $428.4 million. We expect that our operating expenses will continue to increase as we grow our business. Since our inception, we have financed our operations primarily from private placements of equity, the incurrence of indebtedness, our initial public offering, and to a lesser extent, revenue derived from our Growth Direct platform and non-commercial contracts. We have devoted substantially all of our resources to the development and commercialization of our Growth Direct platform and to development activities related to advancing and expanding our technological capabilities. We will need to generate significant additional revenue to achieve and sustain profitability, and even if we achieve profitability, we cannot be sure that we will remain profitable for any substantial period of time. We may never be able to generate sufficient revenue to achieve or sustain profitability and our recent and historical growth should not be considered indicative of our future performance.
Our limited operating history makes it difficult to evaluate our future prospects and the risks and challenges we may encounter.
We launched our current second-generation Growth Direct platform in 2017 for which we are continuing to grow our manufacturing and sales and marketing capabilities. Consequently, predictions about our future success or viability may not be as accurate as they could be if our products had a longer commercial history. While our product and services revenue has continued to increase in recent periods, if our strategy to grow and scale our business is not successful, we may not be able to achieve continued revenue growth. Our limited operating history, evolving business and rapid growth make it difficult to evaluate our future prospects and the risks and challenges we may encounter, and we may not continue to grow at or near historical rates.
In addition, as we seek to innovate in and disrupt the current microbial quality control market, we may encounter unforeseen expenses, difficulties, complications, delays and other known and unknown challenges. We are transitioning to a company capable of supporting commercial manufacturing, sales and marketing at scale in the United States and abroad. We may not be successful in such a transition and, as a result, our business may be adversely affected.
Our business depends on the commercial success of our Growth Direct platform, which may not be achieved or maintained.
Our business is dependent on sales of our Growth Direct systems and related consumables and services. Our ability to achieve and maintain commercial market acceptance of our Growth Direct platform will depend on a number of factors, including:
significant acceptance by drug manufacturers of automated microbial quality control, or MQC, testing;
our ability to increase awareness of the capabilities of automated MQC testing and our technology and solutions;
our customers’ willingness to adopt new technologies and workflows;
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our ability to integrate our platform with our customers’ existing workflows, including related to regulatory validation processes;
whether our platform reliably provides advantages over the conventional, manual method of MQC testing and other automated technologies and is perceived by customers to be cost effective;
the continued growth of the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industry, in particular biologics and cell and gene therapies;
our ability to execute on our business strategy, including continuing to expand in the market for cell and gene therapies;
the rate of adoption of our platform and solutions by drug manufacturers;
prices we charge for our systems and consumables;
the relative reliability and robustness of our platform as a whole and the components of our platform;
our ability to develop new products for existing customers and to expand our capabilities within the MQC testing workflow;
our ability to expand the use of our platform with existing customers;
other competitive automated MQC testing platforms; and
the impact of our investments in product innovation and commercial growth.
We cannot assure our stockholders that we will be successful in addressing each of these criteria or other criteria that might affect the market acceptance of our products. If we are unsuccessful in achieving and maintaining commercial market acceptance of our Growth Direct platform, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be adversely affected.
Our operating results have fluctuated significantly in the past and will fluctuate significantly in the future, which makes our future operating results difficult to predict and could cause our operating results to fall below expectations.
Our quarterly and annual operating results have fluctuated significantly in the past and may fluctuate significantly in the future, 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:
our customers’ tendency to purchase our Growth Direct system, including multiple systems, in a single transaction, resulting in significant variations in sales of our systems over time;
the level of demand for our platform and solutions, which may vary significantly;
the length of time of the sales cycle for purchases of our systems;
seasonality in our business due to our customers’ budgetary cycles and time off during the summer vacation;
lead time needed for validation prior to our customers’ using and purchasing our consumables;
changes in demand for our consumables;
the timing and cost of, and level of investment in, technology development and commercialization activities, which may change from time to time;
the start, completion, and output of manufacturing runs;
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the costs of manufacturing and shipping our products or of providing services to our customers, which may impact our operating gross margin in any given period;
system repairs or replacements that may impact our customers’ confidence in us and our products and our reputation in the market;
the relative reliability and robustness of our platform;
the introduction of new products or product enhancements by us or others in our industry;
expenditures that we may incur to acquire, develop or commercialize additional products and technologies;
expenditures involved in preparing, filing, prosecuting, maintaining, defending and enforcing patent claims;
future accounting pronouncements or changes in our accounting policies;
the ability of our sales organization to design and execute effective sales processes; and
general market conditions and other factors, including factors, such as inflation, unrelated to our operating performance or the operating performance of our competitors.
The effect of any single factor, or the cumulative effects of a combination of factors, 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. We may continue to experience fluctuations in our operating results as a result of these factors.
We have in the past and may in the future fail to meet our publicly announced guidance or other expectations about our business and future operating results, which could adversely affect our business, reputation and financial results and cause our stock price to decline.
From time to time, we release earnings guidance in our quarterly and annual earnings conference calls, quarterly and annual earnings releases, or otherwise, regarding our future performance that represents our management’s estimates as of the date of release. This guidance includes forward-looking statements based on projections prepared by our management. Projections are based upon a number of assumptions and estimates that are based on information known when they are issued, and, while presented with numerical specificity, are inherently subject to significant business, economic, and competitive uncertainties and contingencies relating to our business, many of which are beyond our control and are based upon specific assumptions with respect to future business decisions, some of which will change. 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. From time to time, we provide possible outcomes as high and low ranges, but these are not intended to imply that actual results could not fall outside of the suggested ranges.
Our actual business results may vary significantly from such guidance due to a number of factors, many of which are outside of our control, including our customers’ demand for our Growth Direct systems, the length of the sales cycle for purchases of our systems, customer site readiness and the lead time needed for validation of our systems prior to customers using and purchasing our consumables, the costs of manufacturing and shipping our products or of providing services to our customers, as well as the impact of global economic uncertainty and financial market conditions, geopolitical events, such as conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, rising inflation, rising interest rates, and public health crises, all of which have in the past and may in the future adversely affect our business and operating results. Furthermore, if we make downward revisions of our previously announced guidance, or if our publicly announced guidance of future operating results fails to meet expectations of securities analysts, investors, or other interested parties, we may experience adverse effects on our business and reputation and the price of our common stock could decline.
Guidance is necessarily speculative in nature, and it can be expected that some or all of the assumptions underlying the guidance furnished by us will not materialize or will vary significantly from actual results. Accordingly, our guidance is 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. Investors are urged to exercise caution when using our guidance in making an investment decision regarding our common stock. Any failure to successfully implement our business strategy or the occurrence of any of the events or circumstances set forth in this Risk Factors section in this Annual Report on Form
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10-K could result in the actual operating results being different from our guidance, and the differences may be adverse and material.
If we cannot maintain the level of sales of our Growth Direct systems or the sales of our consumables and service contracts to existing customers declines, our future operating results would be adversely affected.
Many of our customers purchase multiple Growth Direct systems at the same time and we expect them to use these systems for many years before needing to purchase new systems. Our ability to generate revenue depends on our ability to sell our Growth Direct system to new customers or expand the use of our system by existing customers. Our current commercial strategy includes targeting sales to customers that are receptive to entering into multi-system deals with us. As a result, in the near term, we have observed and we continue to expect that a significant portion of our revenue to primarily be generated from a small number of different customers each year. We also rely on consumables and service contracts as a source of recurring revenue from our existing customers. These consumables and service contracts are purchased on an as-needed basis and, as a result, revenue from these sources may be subject to change, as customers’ purchasing practices and policies change or their demand for our consumables and service contracts change. For example, in the past, we have experienced occasions in which customers’ facilities in which our Growth Direct systems were used have been closed or sold, which resulted in the reduction, suspension, or cessation of purchases of consumables at such sites. If we are unable to sell our Growth Direct system to new customers, if our existing customers do not expand their use of our system, or if our existing customers decide to purchase fewer of our consumables and service contracts or terminate their relationships with us, our revenue could significantly decrease, which would have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations and could adversely impact our ability to execute on our growth strategy.
We may need to raise additional capital to fund our existing operations, improve our platform or develop and commercialize new products or expand our operations.
We expect to spend significant amounts to expand our existing operations, to continue to improve our Growth Direct platform and to develop new products. Based upon our current operating plan, we believe our existing cash, cash equivalents, and investments as of December 31, 2023 of $95.0 million, and anticipated cash flow from operations, will enable us to fund our operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements for at least twelve months following the date these consolidated financial statements were issued. This estimate and our expectation regarding the sufficiency of our existing cash, cash equivalents, and investments are based on assumptions that may prove to be wrong, and we could use our available capital resources sooner than we currently expect. Until such time, if ever, as we can generate sufficient cashflow, we may finance our cash needs through a combination of equity offerings and debt financings or other sources. We do not currently have any committed external source of funds. In addition, we may seek additional capital due to favorable market conditions or strategic considerations, even if we believe that we have sufficient funds for our current or future operating plans.
Our present and future funding requirements will depend on many factors, including:
our ability to achieve revenue growth;
the costs of manufacturing and shipping our products or of providing services to our customers, which may impact our operating gross margins in any given period;
the cost of expanding our operations, including our manufacturing facilities, and our offerings, including our sales and marketing efforts;
our rate of progress in launching and commercializing new products, and the cost of the sales and marketing activities associated with, establishing adoption of our Growth Direct system;
our rate of progress in, and cost of research and development activities associated with, products in research and development;
the effect of competing technological and market developments;
the costs involved in preparing, filing, prosecuting, maintaining, defending and enforcing patent claims; and
costs related to domestic and international expansion.
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To the extent that we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or convertible debt securities, the ownership interests of our common stockholders will be diluted, and the terms of these securities may include liquidation or other preferences that adversely affect the rights of our common stockholders. In addition, debt financing and preferred equity financing, if available, may involve agreements that include covenants limiting or restricting our ability to take specific actions, such as incurring additional debt, making capital expenditures or declaring dividends. If we raise additional funds through collaborations, strategic alliances or marketing, distribution or licensing arrangements with third parties, we may be required to relinquish valuable rights to our technologies, intellectual property, future revenue streams or products or grant licenses on terms that may not be favorable to us. Furthermore, any capital raising efforts may divert our management from their day-to-day activities, which may adversely affect our ability to advance product development activities. If we are unable to raise additional funds when needed, we may be required to delay, limit, reduce or terminate product development or commercialization efforts.
Risks Related to Our Business and Strategy
Our business relies heavily on establishing and maintaining our position in the market as a leading provider of automated MQC testing.
Our future profitability will depend on our ability to successfully execute and maintain a sustainable business model and generate continuous streams of revenue. Our business model is premised on our position as a leader in automated MQC testing and the competitive advantages that such position creates. Our Growth Direct platform, among other things, is designed to reduce the amount of time for MQC testing and the opportunity for human error in what we believe is a more cost-effective manner than traditional MQC testing. However, if competitors develop and commercialize an automated MQC testing platform that is comparable to ours and are able to obtain traction with customers, we may not be able to maintain our lead position and execute our business strategy. If we are unable to expand or continue to expand our customers in growing areas of drug manufacturing, such as biologics and cell and gene therapies, continue to grow market adoption of our Growth Direct platform, and maintain our position as the industry leader in automated MQC testing, our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operation could be adversely affected.
We may not be successful in expanding our business with existing customers and driving adoption of our solutions with new customers.
Our success will depend on our ability to expand our business with existing customers and to target new drug manufacturing customers to capture a greater share of the MQC testing value chain. Our ability to grow our business with existing customers will depend on our ability to broaden the application of our automated MQC testing to a larger portion of the MQC testing workflow and to increase the number of Growth Direct systems in their manufacturing facilities. Our ability to expand our business will also depend on our ability to attract new customers and to integrate our platform with new methods of manufacturing, such as cell and gene therapies. Future revenue growth will also depend on our ability to develop and market new products, technologies and solutions to meet our customers’ evolving needs, as well as our ability to identify new applications and customers for our technology in additional industries beyond the drug manufacturing industry.
As we continue to scale our business, we may find that certain of our products, certain customers or certain industries may require a dedicated sales force or sales personnel with different experience than those we currently employ. Identifying, recruiting and training additional qualified personnel would require significant time, expense and attention. If we are unable to drive new customer conversion to automated MQC and our Growth Direct platform, expand adoption of our Growth Direct platform into new industries and markets, or increase the usage and value of our platform to our customers, then our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be adversely affected.
We may not successfully expand our Growth Direct platform to customers who manufacture cell and gene therapies.
Our ability to expand our Growth Direct platform to customers who manufacture cell and gene therapies depends upon our ability to integrate our platform with the novel manufacturing processes being developed for these therapies. Companies that manufacture cell and gene therapies are developing new approaches to handle this manufacturing method, including novel facility layouts, new processes and workflows, and new quality and risk management frameworks. Unlike traditional “small molecule” drug manufacturing, the manufacture of biologics, and cell and gene therapies in particular, is more time sensitive and subject to increased risk of contamination due to material handling and process change-over. There are also currently a small number of cell and gene therapies approved by the FDA. While we have experience providing automated MQC testing for customers that manufacture a number of these approved therapies, we may encounter
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challenges or unexpected issues as we apply our Growth Direct platform to testing a greater number of therapies as they are approved in future. We cannot be certain that we will be able to successfully or consistently integrate our platform with this novel manufacturing process. If we are unable to successfully expand our Growth Direct platform into this growing segment of therapeutic manufacturing, our business and financial position may be adversely affected.
The size of the markets and forecasts of market growth for automated MQC testing and other of our key performance indicators are based on a number of complex assumptions and estimates, and may be inaccurate.
We estimate annual total addressable markets and forecasts of market growth for our Growth Direct platform. We have also developed a standard set of key performance indicators in order to enable us to assess the performance of our business in and across multiple markets, and to forecast future revenue. These estimates, forecasts and key performance indicators are based on a number of complex assumptions, internal and third-party estimates and market studies, and other business data, including assumptions and estimates relating to our ability to generate revenue from the expansion of our platform into new drug manufacturing areas and new industries. While we believe our assumptions and the data underlying our estimates and key performance indicators are reasonable, there are inherent challenges in measuring or forecasting such information. As a result, these assumptions and estimates may not be correct and the conditions supporting our assumptions or estimates may change at any time, thereby reducing the predictive accuracy of these underlying factors and indicators. As a result, our estimates of the total addressable market and our forecasts of market growth for our current or future products may prove to be incorrect, and our key performance indicators may not reflect our actual performance. If the total addressable market or the potential market growth for our platform is smaller than we have estimated or if the key performance indicators we utilize to forecast revenue are inaccurate, it may impair our sales growth and have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
New product development involves a lengthy and complex process and we may be unable to develop or commercialize products on a timely basis, or at all.
Products from our development programs will take time and considerable resources to develop, and may include improvements or changes to our systems, software and consumables. We may not be able to complete development and commercialize them on a timely basis, or at all. There can be no assurance that our development programs will produce commercial products and solutions and before we can commercialize any new products, we will need to expend significant funds in order to:
conduct substantial research and development, which may include validation studies;
further develop and scale our engineering and manufacturing processes to accommodate different products;
further develop and scale our infrastructure to be able to analyze increasingly large amounts of data; and
utilize data and analytical insights generated from existing Growth Direct platform in our research and development programs in order to advance these programs.
Our product development processes involve a high degree of risk, and these efforts may be delayed or fail for many reasons, including:
failure of the product to perform as expected;
higher costs than anticipated; and
failure to reliably demonstrate the advantages of our products.
In addition, if we are unable to generate additional data and insights from our existing Growth Direct platforms, then we may not be able to advance these programs as quickly, or at all, or without significant additional investment, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our product development efforts.
Even if we are successful in developing new products, it will require us to make significant additional investments in marketing and selling resources in order to commercialize any such products. For example, we are currently preparing for the commercial launch of our rapid automated sterility test for use on the Growth Direct system, for which we have expended significant time and resources to develop. However, there can be no assurance that we will successfully
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commercialize this new sterility test or that this product will achieve acceptance by customers. We may be unsuccessful in commercializing new products that we develop, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
Our customers use our Growth Direct platform as part of their quality-control workflow, which is subject to regulation by the FDA and other comparable regulatory authorities.
We provide products and services used for quality-control testing in pharmaceutical product manufacturing. Our customers are subject to extensive regulations by the FDA and similar regulatory authorities in other countries, including, for example, cGMP regulations and associated requirements to validate the methods used to manufacture their products. To meet their regulatory compliance requirements, our customers have implemented quality-control workflows to monitor for microbial growth and contamination. While our Growth Direct platform is not regulated directly by the FDA or other comparable authorities and we have not verified our Growth Direct platform for compliance with such regulations, we have designed our platform to be integrated as part of a compliant quality-control workflow. If our Growth Direct platform is unable to meet regulatory standards for compliance or we are unable to update our platform to meet new regulatory requirements, we will lose customers and our business will be adversely affected. While under our agreements with our customers we are not liable for non-compliance of our Growth Direct platform, if a customer experienced a compliance failure due to our Growth Direct platform, or that the customer attributes to our Growth Direct platform, our reputation could be harmed and our business prospects adversely affected.
If we are unable to manage our inventory and support demand for existing and future products on the Growth Direct platform, our business could suffer.
As the number of customers using the Growth Direct platform grows and our volume of installed systems increases, we will need to continue to increase our capacity for customer service and support, including maintenance services of our systems, and expand our manufacturing capabilities. As a result, we will also need to purchase additional equipment, some of which can take several months or more to procure, setup and validate, and increase our personnel levels to meet increased demand. Additionally, we maintain certain levels of inventory to support future manufacturing efforts. If our inventory should exceed our customer demand, then it may not be sold at a pace that keeps up with the development of our technology and may therefore become obsolete or no longer competitive in the marketplace. There is no assurance that any of these measures taken with respect to scale, expansion of personnel, equipment, manufacturing or services will be successfully implemented, or that we will have adequate space, including in our manufacturing facility, to accommodate such required expansion.
In addition, if we commercialize additional products in the future, we will need to incorporate new equipment, implement new technology systems and processes, and hire new personnel, possibly with supplemental or different qualifications as compared to our current personnel. Failure to manage this growth or transition could result in product delays, higher cost of product revenue, declining product quality, deteriorating customer service and slower responses to competitive challenges. A failure in any one of these areas could make it difficult for us to meet market expectations for our products and could damage our reputation and the prospects for our business.
We have limited experience in marketing and sales, and if we are unable to improve the effectiveness of our marketing and sales organization with new and existing customers and address our customers’ needs or to expand our customer base, our business may be adversely affected.
We have limited experience in marketing and selling our products and we currently rely on a small team to make direct sales in countries around the world. There are significant risks involved with relying on our own marketing and sales capabilities, including our ability to design and execute effective sales processes, generate and convert sufficient sales opportunities into new customers and place additional systems with existing customers. We have recently expanded our sales organization and implemented measures designed to improve the effectiveness of our salesforce, but there can be no assurance that those efforts will translate into improved commercial outcomes.
Competition for employees capable of selling expensive instruments within the drug manufacturing industry is intense. There are significant expenses and risks involved with having our own sales and marketing team, including our ability to hire, train, retain, and appropriately incentivize a sufficient number of qualified individuals, generate sufficient sales leads and provide our sales and marketing team with adequate access to customers who may want to purchase our products, effectively manage a geographically dispersed sales and marketing team, and other unforeseen costs and expenses. We may not be able to attract and retain personnel or be able to build an efficient and effective sales organization, which could negatively impact sales and market acceptance of our products and limit our revenue growth and potential profitability. In
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addition, the time and cost of establishing a specialized sales, marketing and service force for a particular product or service may be difficult to justify in light of the revenue generated or projected.
We may engage distributors or other strategic partners for the sale of our products, such as in jurisdictions outside of the U.S. We would exert limited control over these distributors, and if their sales and marketing efforts for our products are not successful, our business would be materially and adversely affected. We may not be successful in locating, qualifying and engaging distributors with local industry experience and knowledge, or we may not be able to enter into arrangements with them on favorable terms. Even if we are successful in identifying distributors, such distributors may engage in sales practices that violate local laws or our internal policies. Furthermore, sales practices utilized by any such distributors that are locally acceptable may not comply with sales practices standards required under U.S. laws that apply to us, which could create additional compliance risk.
Any of these issues could impair our ability to successfully place our Growth Direct systems and meet our revenue expectations.
We may be unable to manage our future growth effectively, which could make it difficult to execute our business strategy.
We have devoted significant efforts to streamline our business operations and refocus our personnel strategy, with the goal of achieving resumed growth in our business operations. The volatility in our growth has required significant time and attention from our management, and placed strains on our operational and manufacturing systems and processes, financial systems and internal controls and other aspects of our business. We expect to continue to increase headcount and to hire more specialized personnel in the future as we grow our business. We will need to continue to hire, train and manage additional qualified engineers, client and account services personnel, sales and marketing staff, software, manufacturing, distribution and quality assurance personnel in order to develop and launch new products, innovate and improve our existing products and successfully commercialize our platform and solutions. We may also need to hire, train and manage individuals with expertise that is separate, supplemental or different from expertise that we currently have, and accordingly we may not be successful in hiring, training and managing such individuals. If our new hires perform poorly, if we are unsuccessful in hiring, training, managing and integrating these new employees, or if we are not successful in retaining our existing employees, our business may be harmed. In addition, our compensation arrangements, such as our equity award programs, may not always be successful in attracting new employees and retaining and motivating our existing employees. We may need to issue additional equity securities to attract job candidates or issue additional securities to retain personnel. In making employment decisions, job candidates and existing personnel often consider the value of the equity awards they would receive in connection with their employment and fluctuations in our stock price, or a perception that the market price of our stock may not increase or may increase more slowly than stock prices at other companies, may make it more difficult to attract, retain, and motivate employees.
As we have grown, our employees have become more geographically dispersed. We serve customers located in multiple countries and plan to continue to expand to new countries as part of our growth strategy, which will lead to increased dispersion of our employees, including sales employees and employees who are in our service and support groups. We may face challenges integrating, developing and motivating our rapidly growing and increasingly dispersed employee base.
We may not be able to maintain the quality, reliability or robustness of our platform, or the expected turnaround times of our services and support, or to satisfy customer demand as it grows. Our ability to manage our growth properly will require us to continue to improve our operational, financial and management controls, as well as our reporting systems and procedures. 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. The time and resources required to improve our existing systems and procedures, implement new systems and procedures and to adequately staff such existing and new systems and procedures is uncertain, and failure to complete such activities in a timely and efficient manner could adversely affect our operations and negatively impact our business and financial results.
If we cannot compete successfully, we may be unable to increase or sustain our revenue, or achieve and sustain profitability.
We currently primarily compete with established companies that provide consumables for MQC testing and with a limited number of established and early-stage companies that have automated MQC testing systems. In addition, our
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customers may also elect to continue to use the traditional MQC testing method rather than our platform and may decide to stop using our platform.
Our competitors and potential competitors may enjoy a number of competitive advantages over us, including:
longer operating histories;
larger customer bases;
greater brand recognition and market penetration;
greater financial resources;
greater technological and research and development resources;
better system reliability and robustness;
greater selling and marketing capabilities; and
better established, larger scale and lower cost manufacturing capabilities.
As a result, our competitors and potential competitors may be able to respond more quickly to changes in customer requirements, devote greater resources to the development, promotion and sale of their platforms or instruments than we can or sell their platforms or instruments, or offer services competitive with our platform and services at prices designed to win significant levels of market share. We may not be able to compete effectively against these organizations.
In addition, competitors may be acquired by, receive investments from or enter into other commercial relationships with larger, well-established and well-financed companies. Certain of our competitors may be able to secure key inputs from vendors on more favorable terms, devote greater resources to marketing and promotional campaigns, adopt more aggressive pricing policies and devote substantially more resources to product development than we can. Further, competition in the automated MQC testing market, while currently limited, may increase in future, and we may not be able to maintain our leading position in the industry as a result. If we are unable to compete successfully, we may be unable to increase market adoption and sales of our platform, which could prevent us from increasing our revenue or achieving profitability.
We must develop new products, adapt to rapid and significant technological change and respond to introductions of new products by competitors to remain competitive.
We sell our products in industries that are characterized by significant enhancements and evolving industry standards. As a result, our customers’ needs are rapidly evolving. If we do not appropriately innovate and invest in new technologies, our products and services may become less desirable in the markets we serve, and our customers could move to new technologies offered by our competitors or decide to revert to the traditional MQC testing method. Although we believe customers in our markets display a significant amount of loyalty to their supplier of a particular product, we also believe that because of the initial time investment required by many of our customers to reach a purchasing decision for a new product, it may be difficult to regain that customer once the customer migrates away from using our solutions to that of a competitor. Without the timely introduction of new products, services and enhancements, our offerings will likely become less competitive over time, thus harming our competitive position. Accordingly, we focus significant efforts and resources on the development and identification of new technologies, products and markets to further broaden our offerings. To the extent we fail to timely introduce new and innovative products or services, adequately predict our customers’ needs or fail to achieve market acceptance, our business may suffer and our operating results could be adversely affected.
Due to the significant resources required to enable access in new markets, we must make strategic and operational decisions to prioritize certain markets, products and services. We may expend our resources to access markets and develop products and services that do not yield meaningful revenue or we may fail to capitalize on markets, products or services that may be more profitable or with a greater potential for success.
We believe our platform has potential applications across a wide range of markets and we have targeted certain markets in which we believe our technology has significant advantages or a higher probability of success or greater revenue
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opportunity, such as the manufacture of cell and gene therapies. We seek to maintain a process of prioritization and resource allocation among our programs to maintain a balance between advancing near-term opportunities and exploring additional markets for our platform. However, due to the significant resources required for the development of products and services for new markets, we must make decisions on which markets to pursue and the amount of resources to allocate to each. Our decisions concerning the allocation of research, development, collaboration, management and financial resources toward particular markets, products or services may not lead to the development of any viable product or service and may divert resources away from better opportunities. Similarly, we may choose to pursue certain markets, which may not be as profitable as other markets that we did not pursue due to our limited resources. As a result, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be adversely impacted.
The Growth Direct platform may contain undetected errors or defects and may not meet the expectations of our customers, which means our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could suffer.
Our Growth Direct platform includes the Growth Direct system, proprietary consumables and our LIMS connection software. While we rigorously test our platform and its components, there could be undetected errors or defects. Disruptions or other performance problems with our platform or with the components that comprise our platform may adversely impact our customers’ manufacturing process, compliance workflow or business, harm our reputation and result in reduced revenue or increased costs, such as those associated with repairs, replacements or reacquisitions of our systems. If such challenges occur, the attention of our key personnel could be diverted, or other significant customer relations problems may arise. We may also be subject to warranty claims or breach of contract for damages related to errors or defects in our products. Additionally, we may be subject to legal claims arising from any defects or errors in our platform, and in the systems, consumables and software that comprise our platform. In the past, we have repaired, and in exceptional cases, replaced or reacquired Growth Direct systems under warranty. Our failure to prevent or adequately address any of foregoing risks could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition.
Our success depends on, among other things, the market’s confidence that the Growth Direct platform is capable of substantially enhancing quality control in the conduct of manufacturing activities as compared to the traditional method of MQC testing and will enable more efficient or improved drug manufacturing. Pharmaceutical companies and contract development and manufacturing organizations, or CDMOs, are likely to be particularly sensitive to defects and errors in the use of our platform, including if our platform fails to deliver meaningful improvements in MQC testing with results at least as good as the results generated using the traditional method of MQC testing, or new methods of automated MQC testing being developed and sold by emerging competitors. There can be no guarantee that our platform will meet the expectations or needs of these companies or CDMOs.
The complexity of our products and the amount of lead time required to deliver products to our customers have caused in the past, and may cause in the future, delays in releasing new products and workflows. In addition, we have experienced in the past, and may experience in the future, challenges with respect to the reliability of our systems. If there are delays in delivering our products to our customers, or if our products fail to perform as well as or better than traditional MQC testing and competitive products or fail to generate reliable results for our customers, our revenue could be reduced or delayed, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
These complexities also require that we train our customers to operate our Growth Direct platform, which is expensive and time consuming. Any misuse of our products, including as a result of inadequate training, could cause our products not to perform as expected or to fail to demonstrate the process advantages of our products. The training requirement may also deter some customers from utilizing our products. Any of these results could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
Potential product liability lawsuits against us could cause us to incur substantial liabilities and limit commercialization of any products that we may develop.
The use of any product we may develop and the sale of any products exposes us to the risk of product liability claims. Product liability claims might be brought against us by pharmaceutical companies, contract organizations or others selling or otherwise coming into contact with our products. If we cannot successfully defend against product liability claims, we could incur substantial liability and costs. In addition, regardless of merit or eventual outcome, product liability claims may result in:
impairment of our business reputation and significant negative media attention;
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withdrawal of customers;
significant costs to defend the litigation;
distraction of management’s attention from our primary business;
substantial monetary awards to claimants;
inability to commercialize a product;
product recalls or withdrawals;
decreased market demand for any product; and
loss of revenue.
The product liability insurance we currently carry, and any additional product liability insurance coverage we acquire in the future, may not be sufficient to reimburse us for any expenses or losses we may suffer. Moreover, insurance coverage is becoming increasingly expensive and, in the future, we may not be able to maintain insurance coverage at a reasonable cost or in sufficient amounts to protect us against losses due to liability. A successful product liability claim, or series of claims, brought against us could cause our share price to decline and, if judgments exceed our insurance coverage, could adversely affect our results of operation and business, including preventing or limiting the commercialization of any products we develop.
If we lose key management, cannot recruit qualified employees, directors, officers or other significant personnel or experience increases in our compensation costs, our business may be materially harmed.
We are highly dependent on our management and directors, including our Chief Executive Officer, Robert Spignesi, among others. Due to the specialized knowledge each of our officers and key employees possesses with respect to our products and services and our operations, the loss of service of any of our officers or directors could delay or prevent the successful sales and expansion of our platform. We do not carry key person life insurance on our Chief Executive Officer or our other officers or directors. In general, the employment arrangements that we have with our executive officers do not prevent them from terminating their employment with us at any time.
In addition, our future success and growth will depend in part on the continued service of our directors, employees and management personnel and our ability to identify, hire and retain additional personnel. If we lose one or more of our executive officers or key employees, our ability to implement our business strategy successfully could be seriously harmed. Furthermore, replacing executive officers and key employees may be difficult or costly and may take an extended period of time because of the limited number of individuals in our industry with the breadth of skills and experience required to develop, market and sell our products successfully. Competition to hire from this limited pool is intense, and we may be unable to hire, train, retain or effectively incentivize these additional key personnel on acceptable terms given the competition among numerous technology companies for similar personnel.
We depend on our information technology systems, and any failure of these systems could harm our business.
We depend on information technology and telecommunications systems for significant elements of our operations, including our knowledge management system, our customer reporting, our platform, advanced automation systems, and advanced application and LIMS connection software. We have installed, and expect to expand, a number of enterprise software systems that affect a broad range of business processes and functional areas, including for example, systems handling human resources, financial controls and reporting, contract management, compliance and other infrastructure operations. These implementations can be expensive and require significant time and effort. These information technology and telecommunications systems support a variety of functions, including manufacturing operations, data analysis, quality control, customer service and support, billing, research and development activities, and general administrative activities.
Information technology and telecommunications systems are vulnerable to damage from a variety of sources, including telecommunications or network failures, malicious software, bugs or viruses, human acts and natural disasters. Moreover, despite network security and back-up measures, some of our servers are potentially vulnerable to physical or electronic break-ins, computer viruses and similar disruptive problems. Any disruption or loss of information technology or
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telecommunications systems on which critical aspects of our operations depend could have an adverse effect on our business and our reputation.
Security breaches, loss of data and other disruptions could compromise sensitive information related to our business or prevent us from accessing critical information and expose us to liability, which could adversely affect our business and our reputation.
In the ordinary course of our business, we collect and store sensitive data, including personal information, intellectual property and proprietary business information owned or controlled by ourselves or our employees, customers and other parties. We manage and maintain our applications and data utilizing a combination of on-site systems and cloud-based data centers. We utilize external security and infrastructure vendors to manage parts of our data centers. These applications and data encompass a wide variety of business-critical information, including research and development information, customer information, commercial information and business and financial information. We, like all companies storing business-critical information, face a number of risks relative to protecting this critical information, including loss of access, inappropriate use or disclosure, unauthorized access or exfiltration, inappropriate modification, inappropriate destruction, and the risk of our being unable to adequately monitor and audit and modify our controls over our critical information. This risk extends to the third-party vendors and subcontractors we use to manage this sensitive data or otherwise process it on our behalf. The secure processing, storage, maintenance and transmission of this critical information are vital to our operations and business strategy, and we devote significant resources to protecting such information. Although we take measures to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access, use or disclosure, our information technology and infrastructure may still be vulnerable to, and we have in the past experienced, attacks by hackers or viruses or breaches due to employee error, malfeasance or other malicious or inadvertent disruptions. Further, attacks upon information technology systems, including those involving system disrupting ransomware and digital extortion, fraudulent messages purporting to be from legitimate individuals or organizations in order to induce actions directed by bad actors, sometimes known as “phishing”, and transmission of fraudulent invoices or other requests for payments by malicious organizations purporting to be legitimate vendors and suppliers, are increasing in their frequency, levels of persistence, sophistication and intensity, and are being conducted by sophisticated and organized groups and individuals with a wide range of motives, capabilities, and expertise. We may also face increased cybersecurity risks due to our reliance on internet technology and the number of our employees who are working remotely, which may create additional opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities. Furthermore, because the techniques used to obtain unauthorized access to, or to sabotage, systems change frequently and often are not recognized until launched against a target, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques or implement adequate preventative measures. While we have measures in place to identify, detect and mitigate security threats and incidents, they are not failproof, so we may also experience security incidents that may remain undetected for an extended period. Any such incident could result in the compromise of our information systems, and the data stored there could be accessed, encrypted, corrupted, modified, publicly disclosed, lost or stolen. Any such incident could result in legal claims or proceedings, including for breaches of confidential information obligations with contractual counterparties, and liability under federal or state laws that protect the privacy of personal information, and regulatory penalties. Notice of breaches may be required to affected individuals, customers, or other state, federal or foreign regulators, and for extensive breaches, notice may need to be made to the media or State Attorneys General. Such a notice could harm our reputation and our ability to compete. Although we have implemented security measures to prevent, detect and respond to security incidents, our data is currently accessible through multiple channels, and there is no guarantee we can protect our data from breach. Unauthorized access to our information systems, and the loss, destruction or, dissemination of data stored within them could also disrupt or halt our operations and damage our reputation, any of which could adversely affect our business.
We are currently subject to, and may in the future become subject to additional, U.S., state, federal, and foreign 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 customer base, and thereby decrease our revenue.
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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In the United States, various federal and state regulators, including governmental agencies like the Federal Trade Commission, have adopted, or are considering adopting, laws and regulations concerning personal information and data security. Certain state laws may be more stringent or broader in scope, or offer greater individual rights, with respect to personal information than federal, international or other state laws, and such laws may differ from each other, all of which may complicate compliance efforts. Such laws may have potentially conflicting requirements that would make compliance challenging.
A number of other states have proposed their own comprehensive privacy laws. Such proposed legislation, if enacted, may add additional complexity, variation in requirements, restrictions and potential legal risk, require additional investment of resources in compliance programs, impact strategies and the availability of previously useful data and could result in increased compliance costs and/or changes in business practices and policies. The existence of comprehensive privacy laws in different states in the country could make our compliance obligations more complex and costly and may increase the likelihood that we may be subject to enforcement actions or otherwise incur liability for noncompliance.
In addition, laws in all 50 U.S. states require businesses to provide notice to consumers whose personally identifiable information has been disclosed as a result of a data breach. Internationally, laws, regulations and standards in many jurisdictions apply broadly to the collection, use, retention, security, disclosure, transfer and other processing of personal information. For example, the EU General Data Protection Regulation, or EU GDPR, has extraterritorial reach and adds a broad array of requirements for handling personal data. In particular, the EU GDPR includes obligations and restrictions concerning the consent and rights of individuals to whom the personal data relates, the transfer of personal data out of the European Economic Area, security breach notifications and the security and confidentiality of personal data. Further, from January 1, 2021, following Brexit, companies handling personal data of individuals in the UK have to comply with the United Kingdom GDPR, or the UK GDPR, which, together with the amended UK Data Protection Act 2018, retains the EU GDPR in UK national law. The complex and evolving nature of data protection laws and regulations may lead to additional compliance costs, including as a result of diverging international data privacy laws and regulations and related uncertainties. There can be no assurances that we will be successful in our efforts to comply with the multitude of U.S., state, federal, and foreign privacy and data security laws, and violations of such laws could result in regulatory investigations and significant fines, as well as civil claims including class actions, and reputational damage.
We may evaluate strategic opportunities for our business, including through acquisitions, joint ventures or investments in other companies or technologies that could negatively affect our operating results, dilute our stockholders’ ownership, increase our debt or cause us to incur significant expense.
As part of our business strategy, we may opportunistically pursue acquisitions of businesses and assets that we believe may be complementary or synergistic with our own, or strategic alliances and joint ventures that leverage our technology and industry experience to expand our offerings or distribution. We have no experience with acquiring other businesses or assets and limited experience with forming strategic partnerships. We may not be able to find suitable collaborators or acquisition candidates, and we may not be able to complete such transactions on favorable terms, if at all. The competition for collaborators or acquisition candidates may be intense, and the negotiation process will be time consuming and complex. If we make any acquisitions, we may not be able to integrate these acquisitions successfully into our existing business, these acquisitions may not strengthen our competitive position, the transactions may be viewed negatively by customers or investors, we may be unable to retain key employees of any acquired business, relationships with key suppliers, manufacturers or customers of any acquired business may be impaired due to changes in management and ownership, and we could assume unknown or contingent liabilities. Any future acquisitions also could result in contingent liabilities or future write-offs of intangible assets or goodwill, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to fully recover the costs of any acquisition. Integration of an acquired company also may disrupt ongoing operations and require management resources that we would otherwise focus on developing our existing business. We may not realize the anticipated benefits of any acquisition, technology license, strategic alliance or joint venture. We also may experience losses related to investments in other companies, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
To fund any such acquisitions or joint ventures, we may choose from a number of financing alternatives that may be accompanied by drawbacks. For example, if we incur debt, we may be required to abide by restrictive covenants or security interests to secure such debt. If we issue equity as consideration, such issuances would dilute the ownership of our stockholders or, in the case of preferred equity, may impose preferential terms that are senior to those of our common stockholders. Additional funds may not be available on terms that are favorable to us, or at all. If the price of our Class A common stock is low or volatile, we may not be able to acquire companies or fund a joint venture project using our stock as consideration.
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Repair or replacement costs due to warranties we provide on our Growth Direct systems could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We provide a one-year limited assurance warranty on Growth Direct systems, which is included in the sales price. Existing and future warranties place us at the risk of incurring future repair or replacement costs. We establish our accrual for estimated warranty expenses based on historical information, current cost data and future forecasts. We exercise judgment in determining the expected product warranty costs, using estimated material, labor and other costs. While we believe that historical experience provides a reliable basis for estimating such warranty cost, unforeseen quality issues or component failure rates could result in future costs in excess of such estimates. As of December 31, 2023, we had an amount reserved for warranty costs of $0.7 million. Substantial amounts of warranty claims could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our insurance policies are expensive and protect us only from some business risks, which leaves us exposed to significant uninsured liabilities.
We do not carry insurance for all categories of risk that our business may encounter and our policies have limits and significant deductibles. Some of the policies we currently maintain include general liability, property, umbrella, cybersecurity, and directors’ and officers’ insurance.
Any additional product liability insurance coverage we acquire in the future, may not be sufficient to reimburse us for any expenses or losses we may suffer. Moreover, insurance coverage is becoming increasingly expensive and in the future we may not be able to maintain insurance coverage at a reasonable cost or in sufficient amounts to protect us against losses. A successful product liability claim or series of claims in which judgments exceed our insurance coverage could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects, including preventing or limiting the commercialization of any products we develop.
Operating as a public company makes it more difficult and more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to accept reduced policy limits and coverage, seek alternative insurance options or incur substantially higher costs to obtain the same or similar coverage. As a result, it may be more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified people to serve on our board of directors, our board committees or as executive officers. Any significant uninsured liability may require us to pay substantial amounts, which would adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
International expansion of our business exposes us to business, regulatory, political, operational, financial and economic risks associated with doing business outside of the United States.
Our business strategy includes achieving significant and increasing sales to customers and sites outside of the U.S. As a result, we have established relationships with customers outside of the U.S. and in the future intend to expand our international customer base. To that end, our staff is located in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, and we intend to further expand our international presence. Doing business internationally involves a number of risks, including:
multiple, conflicting and changing laws and regulations such as privacy regulations, tax laws, export and import restrictions, tariffs, economic sanctions and embargoes, employment laws, regulatory requirements and other governmental approvals, permits and licenses;
failure by us or our distributors to obtain approvals to conduct our business in various countries;
differing intellectual property rights;
complexities and difficulties in obtaining intellectual property protection, enforcing our intellectual property and defending against third-party intellectual property claims;
difficulties in staffing and managing foreign operations;
logistics and regulations associated with shipping systems and parts and components for systems and consumables, as well as transportation delays;
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travel restrictions that limit the ability of marketing, presales, sales, services and support teams to service customers;
financial risks, such as longer payment cycles, difficulty collecting accounts receivable, the impact of local and regional financial crises on demand and payment for our products and exposure to foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations;
international trade disputes that could result in tariffs and other protective measures;
natural disasters, the severity and frequency of which may be amplified by global climate change, political and economic instability, including wars, terrorism and political unrest, outbreak of disease, boycotts, curtailment of trade and other business restrictions; and
regulatory and compliance risks, including severe penalties such as criminal and civil penalties, disgorgement and other remedial measures, that relate to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the U.K. Bribery Act 2010 and similar anti-bribery and anticorruption laws in other jurisdictions.
Any of these factors could significantly harm our future international expansion and operations and, consequently, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. In addition, certain international markets are subject to significant political and economic uncertainty, including for example the effect of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. Significant political and economic developments in international markets for which we intend to operate, or the perception that any of them could occur, creates further challenges for operating in these markets in addition to creating instability in global economic conditions.
Certain legal and political risks are also inherent in foreign operations. There is a risk that foreign governments may nationalize private enterprises in certain countries where we may operate. In certain countries or regions, terrorist activities and the response to such activities may threaten our operations more than in the United States. Social and cultural norms in certain countries may not support compliance with our corporate policies, including those that require compliance with substantive laws and regulations. Also, changes in general economic and political conditions in countries where we may operate are a risk to our financial performance and future growth. In addition, in certain geographies, we may need to rely on distributors, partners and other collaborators to penetrate those markets, and there can be no assurance that we will be able to secure relationships with such parties or that such parties will comply with legal and regulatory standards that are applicable to our business. As we operate our business globally, our success will depend, in part, on our ability to anticipate and effectively manage these and other related risks. There can be no assurance that the consequences of these and other factors relating to our international operations will not have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
High inflation rates could negatively impact our revenues and profitability if increases in the prices of our Growth Direct systems or a decrease in customer spending results in lower sales. In addition, if our costs increase and we are not able to pass along these price increases to our customers, our net income would be adversely affected, and the adverse impact may be material.
Increased inflation may result in decreased demand for our products and services, increased operating costs (including our labor costs), reduced liquidity, and limitations on our ability to access credit or otherwise raise debt and equity capital. In addition, the United States Federal Reserve has raised, and may again raise, interest rates in response to concerns about inflation. Increases in interest rates, especially if coupled with reduced government spending and volatility in financial markets, may have the effect of further increasing economic uncertainty and heightening these risks. In an inflationary environment, we may be unable to raise the sales prices of our products and services at or above the rate at which our costs increase, which could/would reduce our profit margins and have a material adverse effect on our financial results and net income. We also may experience lower than expected sales and potential adverse impacts on our competitive position if there is a decrease in consumer spending or a negative reaction to our pricing. A reduction in our revenue would be detrimental to our profitability and financial condition and could also have an adverse impact on our future growth.
In operating our business, we may experience inflationary pressures on significant cost categories including labor, materials and freight. An inflationary environment, including factors such as tight labor markets and increasing freight and materials prices, could make it more costly for us to do business. In order to meet the compensation expectations of our prospective and current employees due to inflationary factors, we may be required to increase our labor costs, including wages and employee benefits, or risk losing skilled workers to competitors. In addition, changes in global shipping
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capacity and demand as well as the cost of raw materials and commodities such as oil (including derivative products including fuel and plastics) could negatively impact our freight and materials costs. If we see additional pressure on our labor, materials and freight costs, we could see negative effects on our results of operations (including product costs), cash flows and overall financial condition.
Global economic and political instability and geopolitical conflicts could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Our business could be adversely affected by unstable economic and political conditions within the United States and foreign jurisdictions. The global credit and financial markets have experienced severe volatility and disruptions in the past several years. A severe or prolonged economic downturn, such as the global financial crisis, could result in a variety of risks to our business, including our ability to raise additional capital when needed on acceptable terms, if at all. There can be no assurance that further deterioration in credit and financial markets and confidence in economic conditions will not occur. A weak or declining economy could also result in supply chain disruptions, volatile demand for our products, abrupt changes in our customers’ buying patterns, limitations on our customers’ access to financial resources and ability to satisfy obligations to us, or other adverse impacts to our ability to place our Growth Direct systems. Furthermore, although we do not have any customer or direct supplier relationships in Ukraine, Russia or the Middle East at this time, the ongoing military conflicts in those regions and related sanctions, as well as export controls or actions that may be initiated by nations including the United States, the European Union, Russia or other jurisdictions, and other potential uncertainties could adversely affect our business and/or our supply chain, business partners or customers. In the event geopolitical tensions fail to abate or deteriorate further, additional governmental sanctions may be enacted adversely impacting the global economy, its banking and monetary systems, markets or customers for our products.
Our employees, consultants and collaborators may engage in misconduct or other improper activities.
We are exposed to the risk of fraud or other misconduct by our employees, consultants and collaborators. Misconduct by these parties could include intentional failures to comply with the applicable laws and regulations in the United States and abroad, report financial information or data accurately or disclose unauthorized activities to us. These laws and regulations may restrict or prohibit a wide range of pricing, discounting and other business arrangements. Such misconduct could result in legal or regulatory sanctions and cause serious harm to our reputation. It is not always possible to identify and deter misconduct, and any precautions we take to detect and prevent this activity may not be effective in controlling unknown or unmanaged risks or losses, or in protecting us from governmental investigations or other actions or lawsuits stemming from a failure to comply with these laws or regulations. If any such actions are instituted against us, and we are not successful in defending ourselves or asserting our rights, we could be subject to significant civil, criminal and administrative penalties, which could have a material adverse impact on our business. Whether or not we are successful in defending against such actions or investigations, we could incur substantial costs, including legal fees and divert the attention of management in defending ourselves against any of these claims or investigations, which could have a material adverse impact on our business.
Risks Related to Manufacturing and Supply
If our primary manufacturing and development facility becomes damaged or inoperable or we are required to vacate our existing facility, our ability to conduct and pursue our manufacturing and development efforts will be jeopardized.
We currently conduct our primary development and manufacturing at our facility located in Lowell, Massachusetts. Our facility and equipment could be harmed or rendered inoperable or inaccessible by natural or man-made disasters, the severity and frequency of which may be amplified by global climate change, or other circumstances beyond our control, including fire, power loss, communications failure, war or terrorism, or another catastrophic event, such as a pandemic or similar outbreak or public health crisis, which may render it difficult or impossible for us to support our customers and develop products. The inability to manufacture our systems and consumables could develop if our facility is inoperable or suffers a loss of utilization for even a short period of time and may result in the loss of customers or harm to our reputation. Furthermore, our facility and the equipment we use to perform our manufacturing and development could be unavailable or costly and time consuming to repair or replace. It would be difficult, time consuming and expensive to rebuild our facility, to locate and qualify a new facility or license or transfer our proprietary technology to a third party. Even in the event we are able to find a third party to assist in manufacturing and development efforts, we may be unable to negotiate commercially reasonable terms to engage with the third party. To mitigate certain of these risks associated with the manufacture of our consumables, we have constructed a back-up consumable manufacturing facility in Lexington, Massachusetts. While we believe that we could, if necessary, transfer our manufacturing capabilities to our back-up
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facility, there can be no assurance that we would achieve such transfer in a timely manner or at all and mitigate disruption to our overall business.
Our manufacturing operations are dependent upon third-party suppliers, including single-source suppliers, making us vulnerable to supply shortages and price fluctuations, which could harm our business.
We source the components of our Growth Direct system and consumables from third-party suppliers. We do not have supply agreements with most of our suppliers beyond purchase orders and, although we maintain an inventory of components, forecasted amounts may be inaccurate and we may experience shortages as a result of serious supply problems with these suppliers. There can be no assurance that our supply of components will not be limited, interrupted, or of satisfactory quality or continue to be available at acceptable prices. For example, we experienced disruptions to our supply chain as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and may experience additional disruptions in the future.
Certain critical components of our Growth Direct system and consumables we obtain from single suppliers and the loss of supply from any of these suppliers could materially adversely affect our business. To protect against such loss, we maintain, or are working to obtain, sufficient inventory of these components to allow us to continue to manufacture our systems and consumables during the period required to qualify a new supplier. For example, the manufacturer of the camera used in our Growth Direct system discontinued production of the camera, and we have obtained a supply we believe is sufficient to allow us to meet customer demand while qualifying a new camera supplier. While we believe we have, or will have, sufficient inventory to provide protection against changes in our sole suppliers, our estimates of the length of time required to qualify a new supplier or inventory level required to manufacture our systems and consumables during that time may be incorrect, and we may run out of inventory sooner than we anticipate. In addition, we have not obtained sufficient inventory for all of our single-source components and we may not be able to do so in the amounts we predict will be required. In addition, any change to a new supplier will require us to devote substantial time and resources, result in additional costs, and could involve a period in which our products might not be produced in a timely or consistent manner. We may also be unable to enter into agreements with new suppliers on commercially reasonable terms or at all. The occurrence of any of these events could adversely affect our business and customer relationships. In addition, loss of any critical component provided by a single-source supplier could require us to change the design of our manufacturing process based on the functions, limitations, features and specifications of the replacement components.
Several other non-critical components and materials that comprise our Growth Direct platform are currently manufactured by a single supplier or a limited number of suppliers. In many of these cases, we have not yet qualified alternate suppliers and rely upon purchase orders, rather than long-term supply agreements. A supply interruption or an increase in demand beyond our current suppliers’ capabilities could harm our ability to manufacture our products unless and until new sources of supply are identified and qualified. Our reliance on these suppliers subjects us to a number of risks that could harm our business, including:
interruption of supply resulting from modifications to or discontinuation of a supplier’s operations;
delays in product shipments resulting from uncorrected defects, reliability issues, or a supplier’s variation in a component;
a lack of long-term supply arrangements for key components with our suppliers;
inability to obtain adequate supply in a timely manner, or to obtain adequate supply on commercially reasonable terms;
difficulty and cost associated with locating and qualifying alternative suppliers for our components in a timely manner;
a modification or change in a manufacturing process or part that unknowingly or unintentionally negatively impacts the operation of our products;
production delays related to the evaluation and testing of products from alternative suppliers, and corresponding regulatory qualifications;
delay in delivery due to our suppliers prioritizing other customer orders over ours;
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damage to our brand reputation caused by defective components produced by our suppliers;
increased cost of our warranty program due to product repair or replacement based upon defects in components produced by our suppliers; and
fluctuation in delivery by our suppliers due to changes in demand from us or their other customers.
Any interruption in the supply of components or materials, or our inability to obtain substitute components or materials from alternate sources at acceptable prices in a timely manner, could impair our ability to meet the demand of our customers, which would have an adverse effect on our business.
We forecast sales to determine requirements for components and materials used in our products, and if our forecasts are incorrect, we may experience delays in shipments or increased inventory costs.
To manage our operations with our third-party suppliers, we forecast anticipated product orders and material requirements to predict our inventory needs and enter into purchase orders on the basis of these requirements. Our limited historical commercial experience and recent growth may not provide us with enough data to consistently and accurately predict future demand. If our business expands and our demand for components and materials increases beyond our estimates, we or our suppliers may be unable to meet our demand. In addition, if we underestimate our component and material requirements, we may have inadequate inventory, which could interrupt, delay, or prevent delivery of our products to our customers. By contrast, if we overestimate our component and material requirements, we may have excess inventory, which would increase our expenses. Any of these occurrences would negatively affect our financial performance and business results.
Shipping is a critical part of our business and 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.
Shipments of our products are subject to various regulations in the various countries in which we provide our products. For example, shipments of our growth media consumables may be required to comply with the shipping requirements promulgated by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, as well as shipment rules established by the International Air Transport Association. If we are unable to comply with any of these rules or regulations, our ability to deliver our products in a timely manner may be adversely affected. In addition, even if we are able to comply with these rules and regulations, compliance can result in increased costs. In either event, our financial results and condition may be adversely affected.
We also currently rely on third-party vendors for our shipping. If we are not able to negotiate acceptable pricing and other terms with these entities or they experience performance problems or other difficulties, it could negatively impact our operating results and our customers’ experience. Our products could sustain serious damage or be lost in transit. If a product is damaged in transit, including damage due to consumable temperature excursion, 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. 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.
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 that could be hazardous to human health and safety or the environment. Our operations 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. We are subject to periodic inspections by federal, state and local authorities to ensure compliance with applicable laws. Compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations is expensive, and current or future environmental laws and regulations may restrict our operations. If we do not comply with applicable regulations, we may be subject to fines and penalties. In addition, we cannot eliminate the risk of accidental injury or contamination from these materials or wastes, which could cause an interruption of our commercialization efforts, research and development programs and business operations, as well as environmental damage resulting in costly clean-up and liabilities under applicable laws and regulations. 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.
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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.
Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property
If we are unable to obtain and maintain sufficient intellectual property protection for our technology, including the Growth Direct platform, 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 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 technologies, all of which provide limited protection and may not adequately protect our rights or permit us to gain or keep any competitive advantage. If we fail to maintain, protect or enforce our intellectual property, third parties may be able to compete more effectively against us.
Our success depends in large part on our ability to obtain and maintain protection of the intellectual property related to our products and technologies, particularly patents, in the United States and other countries. Obtaining, maintaining and enforcing patents in our industry is costly, time consuming and complex, and we may fail to do so with respect to patents on important products, services and technologies in a timely fashion, at a reasonable cost or at all, in the U.S. or in other potentially relevant jurisdictions. If we delay in filing a patent application, and a competitor files a patent application on the same or a similar technology before we do, we may face a limited ability to secure patent rights. Even if we can patent the technology, the patent may be limited in scope, and such limitation may be inadequate to protect our products, or to block competitor products that are similar or adjacent to ours. In addition, the USPTO and various non-U.S. governmental patent agencies require compliance with a number of procedural, documentary, fee payment and other similar provisions during the patent application process. 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. Therefore, these patents and applications may not be prosecuted and enforced in a manner consistent with the best interests of our business.
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, or may be challenged and invalidated by third parties. It is possible that others will design around our current or future patented technologies.
The issuance of a patent is not conclusive as to its inventorship, scope, validity or enforceability. Some of our patents or patent applications may be challenged in opposition, derivation, reexamination, inter partes review, post-grant review, interference, or in court proceedings. See “Risk Factors—We may become involved in lawsuits to protect or enforce our intellectual property, which could be expensive, time consuming and unsuccessful.” Any successful challenge to our patents could result in the unenforceability or invalidity of such patents, which could harm our business. In addition, in patent litigation in the United States, defendant counterclaims alleging invalidity or unenforceability are commonplace. The outcome following legal assertions of invalidity and unenforceability during patent litigation is unpredictable. If a defendant 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 platform technologies. 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, develop or commercialize current or future products.
Patent terms may be inadequate to protect our competitive position on our products for an adequate amount of time.
Patents have a limited lifespan. In the United States, if all maintenance fees are timely paid, the natural expiration of a patent is generally 20 years from its earliest U.S. non-provisional filing date, subject to applicable extensions. Once expired, we may be open to competition from competitive products. If one of our products requires extended development or testing, patents protecting such products might expire before or shortly after such products are commercialized. For example, while our patents and, if issued, our patent applications have terms that will expire through 2043, certain of our earliest unexpired U.S. patents covering the Growth Direct system and its use are scheduled to expire in 2024. Although we own other patents with later expiration dates that cover various improvements and consumables for the Growth Direct platform, these other patents may not provide the same protection as the earliest-filed patents. As a result, our patent portfolio may not provide us with sufficient rights to exclude others from commercializing similar or identical products to ours, which would have a material adverse effect on our business.
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The United States government may exercise certain rights with regard to certain of our inventions developed using government funding.
The United States federal government retains certain rights in inventions produced with its financial assistance under the Patent and Trademark Law Amendments Act, or the Bayh-Dole Act. Certain of our inventions for which we have pursued, and in some cases obtained, patent protection were developed using federal funding from BARDA. As a result, the U.S. government may have certain rights, including so-called march-in rights, to any patent rights that were funded in party by the U.S. government and any products or technology developed from such patent rights. When new technologies are developed with U.S. government funding, the U.S. government generally obtains certain rights in any resulting patents, including a nonexclusive license authorizing the U.S. government to use the invention for non-commercial purposes. These rights may permit the U.S. government to disclose our confidential information to third parties and to exercise march-in rights to use or to allow third parties to use our licensed technology. The U.S. government can exercise its march-in rights if it determines that action is necessary because we fail to achieve the practical application of government-funded technology, because action is necessary to alleviate health or safety needs, to meet requirements of federal regulations, or to give preference to U.S. industry. In addition, our rights in such inventions may be subject to certain requirements to manufacture products embodying such inventions in the United States. Any exercise by the U.S. government of such rights could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
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 on trade secrets and confidentiality agreements to protect our unpatented know-how, technology and other proprietary information, including parts of our technology platform, and to maintain our competitive position and we expect our reliance to increase in the near term as the terms for certain of our earliest patents expire. Any disclosure, either intentional or unintentional, by our employees, consultants or vendors, or misappropriation by third parties (such as through a cybersecurity breach) of our trade secrets or proprietary information could enable competitors to duplicate or surpass our technological achievements, thus eroding our competitive position in our market. From time to time, we may share trade secrets with customers, collaborators, suppliers, vendors and other third parties, which increases the possibility that a competitor will discover them or that our trade secrets will be misappropriated or disclosed.
Trade secrets and know-how can be difficult and expensive to protect. We take steps to protect our intellectual property and proprietary technology by maintaining physical and electronic security measures and by entering into agreements, including confidentiality, non-disclosure and intellectual property assignment agreements, with our employees, consultants, advisors, collaborators and customers. 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 will not otherwise gain access to our trade secrets or independently develop substantially equivalent information and techniques. For example, if any of these parties breach the agreements and disclose our proprietary information, including our trade secrets, we may expend significant time and resources to assert our rights against such parties and we ultimately may not be able to obtain adequate remedies for such breaches. Such agreements may not be enforceable or may not provide meaningful protection 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 materially adversely impact our business and financial position.
We rely on in-licenses from third parties and may in the future in-license additional intellectual property related to our product offerings. If we lose these rights, our business may be materially adversely affected, our ability to develop improvements to our Growth Direct platform and to develop new technologies may be negatively and substantially impacted, and if disputes arise, we may be subjected to future litigation as well as the potential loss of or limitations on our ability to develop and commercialize products and technology covered by these license agreements.
We are party to a non-exclusive, royalty-bearing license agreement with Thermo CRS, Ltd., or Thermo Fisher, that grants us rights to exploit certain patent rights that are related to our Growth Direct platform, which expires in April 2024. In the future, we may need to obtain additional licenses from others to advance our research, development and commercialization activities. These and other intellectual property license agreements that we enter into with third parties may impose various development, regulatory and/or commercial diligence obligations, payment of milestones and/or royalties and other obligations on us. Our rights to use the technology we license are subject to the continuation of and compliance with the terms of these agreements. Licenses can be terminated and their terms may be materially modified in ways that are significantly adverse to our business interest for any number of reasons. For example, we may fail to comply with our obligations under these agreements, we may use the licensed intellectual property in an unauthorized manner or
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we may become subject to bankruptcy-related proceedings. Similarly, disputes may arise with respect to our licensing agreements and/or our licensors might conclude that we have materially breached our obligations under our license agreements. If any such in-license agreement is terminated, or if licensed intellectual property fail to provide the intended exclusivity, competitors or other third parties might have the freedom to market or develop products similar to ours. In addition, absent the rights granted to us under such license agreements, we may infringe the intellectual property rights that are the subject of those agreements, we may be subject to litigation by the licensor, and if such litigation by the licensor is successful we may be required to pay damages to the licensor, or we may be required to cease our development and commercialization activities that are deemed infringing, and in such event we may ultimately need to modify our activities or products to design around such infringement, which will consume time and resources and may not be ultimately successful. 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 our intellectual property rights throughout the world.
We intend to continue to expand our commercial operations in territories outside the United States, including in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. The laws of some foreign countries do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as the laws of the United States, and 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 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. 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 other 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.
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.
Our trademarks or trade names may be challenged, infringed, diluted, circumvented, declared generic or determined to be infringing on other marks. We may not be able to protect our rights in these trademarks or trade names or may be forced to stop using these names, which we need for name recognition by potential partners or customers in our markets of interest. We have not yet registered certain of our trademarks in all of our potential markets. During the trademark registration process, we may receive objections that we may be unable to overcome. In addition, third parties may be given an opportunity to oppose pending trademark applications and/or to seek the cancellation of registered trademarks. If we are unable to obtain a registered trademark or establish name recognition based on our trademarks and trade names, we may not be able to compete effectively and our business may be adversely affected.
We may be subject to claims challenging the inventorship and 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 patents, trade secrets or other intellectual property as an inventor or by contract. Inventorship disputes may arise from conflicting views regarding the contributions of different individuals named as inventors, the effects of foreign laws where foreign nationals are involved in the development of the subject matter of the patent, conflicting obligations of third parties involved in our development activities or as a result of questions regarding co-ownership of potential joint inventions. Litigation may be necessary to defend against these and other claims challenging inventorship of patents, trade secrets or other intellectual property. Alternatively, or additionally, we may enter into agreements to clarify the scope of our rights in such intellectual property. If we fail in defending any such claims, in addition to paying monetary damages, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights, such as exclusive ownership of, or right to use, important intellectual property. 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.
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. Any of the foregoing could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
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We may be involved in litigation claiming that we have infringed on a third party’s intellectual property, which could be time consuming and costly and may adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
We may be involved with litigation or actions at the USPTO or foreign patent offices with various third parties that claim we or our collaborators or customers using our solutions and services have infringed, misappropriated or misused other parties’ intellectual property rights. We expect that the number of such claims may increase as the number of our products grows, we expand our market share and the level of competition in our markets increases. Moreover, as the automated MQC testing industry expands and more patents are issued, the risk increases that our products may be subject to claims of infringement of third party patent and other proprietary rights. Any infringement claim, regardless of its validity, could harm our business by, among other things, resulting in time consuming and costly litigation, diverting management’s time and attention from the development of the business, requiring the payment of monetary damages, fees and expenses or royalty payments, or result in potential or existing customers delaying purchases of our products or entering into engagements with us pending resolution of the dispute.
There can be no assurance that we will prevail in any suit initiated against us by third parties, successfully settle or otherwise resolve patent infringement claims. Third parties making claims against us may be able to obtain injunctive or other relief, which could block our ability to develop, commercialize and sell products or services, and could result in the award of substantial damages against us, including treble damages, attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses, if we are found to have willfully infringed. In the event of a successful claim of infringement against us, we may be required to pay damages and ongoing royalties, and obtain one or more licenses from third parties, or be prohibited from selling certain products or services. We may not be able to obtain these licenses on acceptable or commercially reasonable terms, if at all, or these licenses may be non-exclusive, which could result in our competitors gaining access to the same intellectual property. In addition, we could encounter delays and incur significant costs, in product or service introductions while we attempt to develop alternative products or services, or redesign our products or services, to avoid infringing third party patents or proprietary rights. Defense of any lawsuit or failure to obtain any of these licenses or to develop a workaround could prevent us from commercializing products or services, and the prohibition of sale or the threat of the prohibition of sale of any of our products or services could materially affect our business and our ability to gain market acceptance for our products or services. Some of our competitors may be able to sustain the costs of complex patent litigation more effectively than we can because they have substantially greater resources. Further, even if we were successful in defending against a lawsuit, such a defense would distract our management team from our operations, which could have an adverse effect on our business. In addition, 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, results of operations, financial condition and prospects. Furthermore, because of the substantial amount of discovery required in connection with intellectual property litigation or other legal proceedings relating to our intellectual property rights, there is a risk that some of our confidential information could be compromised by disclosure during this type of litigation or other proceedings.
In addition, our agreements with some of our customers, suppliers or other entities with whom we do business may require us to defend or indemnify these parties to the extent they become involved in infringement claims, including the types of claims described above. We could also voluntarily agree to defend or indemnify third parties in instances where we are not obligated to do so if we determine it would be important to our business relationships. If we are required or agree to defend or indemnify third parties in connection with any infringement claims, we could incur significant costs and expenses that could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
We may become involved in lawsuits to protect or enforce our intellectual property, which could be expensive, time consuming and unsuccessful.
Third parties, including our competitors, could be infringing, misappropriating or otherwise violating our intellectual property rights. Monitoring unauthorized use of our intellectual property is difficult and costly. 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 proprietary rights may not be adequate to enforce our rights against such infringement, misappropriation or violation of our intellectual property. We may not be able to detect unauthorized use of, or take appropriate steps to enforce, our intellectual property rights. Any inability to meaningfully enforce our intellectual property rights could harm our ability to compete and reduce demand for our products and services.
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Litigation may be necessary for us to enforce our patent and proprietary rights or to determine the scope, coverage and validity of the proprietary rights of others. If we do not prevail in such legal proceedings, we may be required to pay damages, we may lose significant intellectual property protection for our products or services, such that competitors could copy our products or services and we could be forced to cease commercialization of certain of our products or services. Even if resolved in our favor, any award of monetary damages or other remedy we receive may not be commercially valuable.
Any litigation 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. In any lawsuit we bring to enforce our intellectual property rights, a court may refuse to stop the other party from using the technology at issue on grounds that our intellectual property rights 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. The outcome in any such lawsuits are unpredictable. Even if we do prevail in any future litigation related to intellectual property rights, the cost and time requirements of the litigation could negatively impact our financial results. Some of our competitors may be able to sustain the costs of such litigation or proceedings more effectively than we can because of their greater financial resources. Uncertainties resulting from the initiation and continuation of patent litigation or other proceedings could compromise our ability to compete in the marketplace.
Our use of open-source software could compromise our ability to offer our services and subject us to possible litigation.
We use open-source software licensed to us by third-party authors under “open source” licenses in connection with our products and services. Use and distribution of open-source software may entail greater risks than use of third-party commercial software, as open-source licensors generally do not provide support, warranties, indemnification or other contractual protections regarding infringement claims or the quality of the code.
Further, some open-source software licenses require users who distribute software containing open-source software to publicly disclose all or part of the source code to the licensee’s software that incorporates, links or uses such open-source software, and make available to third parties for no cost, any derivative works of the open source code created by the licensee, which could include the licensee’s own valuable proprietary code. While we monitor our use of open-source software and try to ensure that none is used in a manner that would require us to disclose our proprietary source code or that would otherwise breach the terms of an open source agreement, such use could inadvertently occur, or could be claimed to have occurred, in part because open source license terms are often ambiguous. Additionally, we may from time to time face claims from third parties claiming ownership of, or seeking to enforce the terms of, an open source license, including by demanding release of source code for the open-source software, derivative works or our proprietary source code that was developed using, or that is distributed with, such open-source software. These claims could also result in litigation and could require us to make our proprietary software source code freely available, require us to devote additional research and development resources to change re-engineer our platform, seek costly licenses from third parties or otherwise incur additional costs and expenses, any of which could result in reputational harm and would have a negative effect on our business and operating results.
Risks Related to Our Common Stock
The market price of our Class A common stock has been and may continue to be volatile and fluctuate substantially, which could result in substantial losses for our stockholders.
The market price of our Class A common stock has been and may continue to be volatile. The stock market in general and the market for smaller technology companies in particular has experienced extreme volatility that has often been unrelated to the operating performance of particular companies. As a result of this volatility, our stockholders may not be able to sell their Class A common stock at or above the price they paid for them. The market price for our Class A common stock may be influenced by many factors, including:
actual or anticipated fluctuations in our financial condition and operating results, including fluctuations in our quarterly and annual results;
the introduction of new products or product enhancements by us or others in our industry;
variances in product and system reliability;
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overall conditions in our industry and the markets in which we operate;
disputes or other developments with respect to our or others’ intellectual property rights;
actual or anticipated changes in our operating results or growth rate as a result of our competitors’ operating results;
our ability to develop and market new and enhanced products and expand into new markets on a timely basis;
fluctuations in the valuation of companies perceived by investors to be comparable to us;
product liability claims or other litigation;
announcement or expectation of additional financing effort;
sales of our common stock by us or our stockholders;
share price and volume fluctuations attributable to inconsistent trading volume levels of our shares;
media exposure of our products or of those of others in our industry;
changes in earnings estimates or recommendations by securities analysts;
general market conditions and other factors, including factors unrelated to our operating performance or the operating performance of our competitors; and
the other factors described in this “Risk Factors” section and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
If our Class A common stock is delisted from the Nasdaq Stock Market, the liquidity of our Class A common stock would be adversely affected and the market price of our common stock could decrease.
Our Class A common stock is currently listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market and closed at $1.00 on February 28, 2024. The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC, or Nasdaq, has minimum requirements that a company must meet in order to remain listed on Nasdaq markets, including that we maintain a minimum closing bid price of $1.00 per share for our Class A common stock. We have previously received notifications from Nasdaq that we were not in compliance with its minimum bid price requirements. Most recently, on February 2, 2024, we received a letter from Nasdaq notifying us that the closing bid price of our Class A common stock was below $1.00 per share for the preceding 30 consecutive trading days. The notification has no immediate effect on the listing of the our common stock on Nasdaq. We have a period of 180 calendar days to regain compliance with the bid price requirement, which will expire on July 31, 2024. To regain compliance, the closing bid price of our common stock must be at least $1.00 or higher for a minimum of ten consecutive business days, though Nasdaq has the discretion to extend the ten business day period to up to 20 consecutive business days.

If we do not regain compliance by July 31, 2024, we may be eligible for an additional 180 calendar compliance period. To qualify, we would need to transfer the listing of our common stock to the Nasdaq Capital Market, provided that we meet the continued listing requirement for market value of publicly held shares and all other initial listing standards, with the exception of the bid price requirement. If we are not eligible or it appears to Nasdaq that we will not be able to cure the deficiency during the additional compliance period, Nasdaq will provide written notice that our common stock will be subject to delisting. In the event of such notification, we may appeal Nasdaq’s delisting determination. However, there can be no assurance that, if we receive a delisting notice and appeal the delisting determination by Nasdaq, such appeal would be successful. We intend to monitor the closing bid price of our common stock and take such reasonable measures to regain compliance with the bid price requirement, which may include the implementation of a reverse stock split. There can be no assurance that we will be able to regain compliance with the bid price requirement for continued listing on Nasdaq.

Even if we regain compliance with the bid price requirement, there can be no assurance that we will continue to comply with the other continued listing standards of Nasdaq. If we fail to comply with one or more other Nasdaq listing rules, our Class A common stock may also become subject to delisting as a result of such deficiencies.

A delisting of our Class A common stock from Nasdaq could materially reduce the liquidity of our Class A common stock and result in a corresponding material reduction in the price of our Class A common stock. In addition, delisting
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could harm our ability to raise capital on terms acceptable to us, or at all, and may result in the potential loss of confidence by investors and employees and fewer business development opportunities. Further, any potential delisting of our Class A common stock from Nasdaq would also make it more difficult for our stockholders to sell their shares in the public market.
Sales of a substantial number of shares of our Class A common stock in the public market, or the perception in the market that the holders of a large number of shares intend to sell shares, could depress the market price of our Class A common stock.

Except for shares of our Class A common stock that are held by our directors, officers and affiliates, which are subject to certain restrictions on resale under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, all other shares of our Class A common stock listed on Nasdaq are generally freely tradable. These include shares held by stockholders, including those that hold large positions in our securities, that are not our affiliates as such term is defined under Rule 144 of the Securities Act. Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock by such stockholders, particularly at a time when daily trading volumes in our stock are low, has had and may continue to have the effect of depressing the trading price of our common stock. Such downward pressure in the trading price of our common stock may also be exerted by investors' expectations or perceptions that such sales could occur.
An active trading market for our Class A common stock may not be sustainable.
It is possible that an active or liquid market for our Class A common stock may not be sustainable. In the absence of an active trading market for our Class A common stock, it may be difficult for stockholders to sell our shares without depressing the market price for the shares, or at all. Further, an inactive market may also impair our ability to raise capital by selling shares of our Class A common stock and may impair our ability to enter into strategic collaborations or acquire companies or products by using our shares of Class A common stock as consideration.
Our executive officers, directors and principal stockholders, if they choose to act together, have the ability to control all matters submitted to stockholders for approval.
Based on the number of shares of Class A common stock outstanding as of December 31, 2023, our executive officers, directors and stockholders who owned more than 5% of our outstanding common stock and their respective affiliates hold, in the aggregate, a majority of our outstanding voting stock. The holders of shares of our Class B common stock have the ability to convert any portion of their Class B common stock into Class A common stock. Our Class B common stock cannot be converted if, immediately following such conversion, the holder would beneficially own more than 4.9% of the issued and outstanding Class A common stock. Due to this conversion right, holders of our Class B common stock could, at any time, increase their voting control of us. As a result of their combined voting power, if our executive officers, directors and stockholders who own more than 5% of our outstanding common stock choose to act together, they would be able to control all matters submitted to our stockholders for approval that require a majority vote, as well as our management and affairs. For example, these persons, if they choose to act together, would control the election of directors, the composition of our management and approval of any merger, consolidation or sale of all or substantially all of our assets.
The dual class structure of our common stock and the option of the holders of shares of our Class B common stock to convert into shares of our Class A common stock may limit our Class A stockholders’ ability to influence corporate matters.
Our Class A common stock has one vote per share, while our Class B common stock is non-voting. Nonetheless, each share of our Class B common stock may be converted at any time into one share of issued and outstanding Class A common stock at the option of its holder, subject to the limitations provided for in our restated certificate of incorporation that prohibit the conversion of our Class B common stock into shares of Class A common stock to the extent that, upon such conversion, such holder would beneficially own in excess of 4.9% of our Class A common stock. Consequently, if holders of Class B common stock exercise their option to make this conversion, such exercise will have the effect of increasing the relative voting power of those prior holders of our Class B common stock (subject to the ownership limitation described in the previous sentence) and increasing the number of outstanding shares of our voting common stock, and correspondingly decreasing the relative voting power of the current holders of our Class A common stock, which may limit our current Class A stockholders’ ability to influence corporate matters.
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We are an “emerging growth company,” and a "smaller reporting company," and the reduced disclosure requirements applicable to us may make our Class A common stock less attractive to investors.
We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the JOBS Act, and may remain an emerging growth company until the last day of the fiscal year following the fifth anniversary of the closing of the IPO. However, if certain events occur prior to the end of such five-year period, including if we become a “large accelerated filer,” our annual gross revenues exceed $1.07 billion or we issue more than $1.0 billion of non-convertible debt in the previous three-year period, we will cease to be an emerging growth company prior to the end of such five-year period. For so long as we remain an emerging growth company, we are permitted and intend to rely on exemptions from certain disclosure requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies. These exemptions include:
not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements in the assessment of our internal control over financial reporting;
reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation;
exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved and from providing the pay ratio between our Chief Executive Officer and employees; and
an exemption from compliance with the requirements of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board regarding the communication of critical audit matters in the auditor’s report on the financial statements.
We are also a “smaller reporting company” and are therefore entitled to rely on certain reduced disclosure requirements for as long as we remain a smaller reporting company, such as presenting two years of audited financial statements in our annual Form 10-K or reduced disclosure requirements for executive compensation. This reduced disclosure in our SEC filings due to our status as a smaller reporting company may make it harder for investors to analyze our results of operations and financial prospects.
We cannot predict whether investors will find our Class A common stock less attractive if we rely on these exemptions. If some investors find our Class A common stock less attractive as a result, there may be a less active trading market for our Class A common stock and our stock price may be reduced or 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 these accounting standards until they would otherwise apply to private companies. We intend to utilize the extended transition period and, as a result, we will not be required to comply with new or revised accounting standards on the same timeline as other public companies.
If we fail to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting and effective disclosure controls and procedures, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results in a timely manner or prevent fraud, which may adversely affect investor confidence in our company.
As a public company, we are required to maintain internal control over financial reporting and to report any material weaknesses in such internal controls. Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 requires that we evaluate and determine the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting and provide a management report on our internal controls on an annual basis. However, while we remain an emerging growth company, we are not required to include an attestation report on internal control over financial reporting issued by our independent registered accounting firm. If we have material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, we may not detect errors on a timely basis and our consolidated financial statements may be materially misstated. We will need to maintain and enhance the systems, processes and documentation necessary to comply with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act as we grow, and we will require additional management and staff resources to do so.
Additionally, even if we conclude our internal controls are effective for a given period, we may in the future identify one or more material weaknesses in our internal controls, in which case our management will be unable to conclude that our internal control over financial reporting is effective. Our independent registered public accounting firm will be required to issue an attestation report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting following the date we are no longer an emerging growth company. Even if our management concludes that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, our independent registered public accounting firm may in the future conclude that there are material
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weaknesses with respect to our internal controls or the level at which our internal controls are documented, designed, implemented or reviewed.
If we are unable to conclude that our internal control over financial reporting is effective or if our auditors were to express an adverse opinion on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting because we had one or more material weaknesses, investors could lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial disclosures, which could cause the price of our common stock to decline. Irrespective of compliance with Section 404, any failure of our internal control over financial reporting could have a material adverse effect on our reported operating results and harm our reputation. Internal control deficiencies could also result in a restatement of our financial results.
Our disclosure controls and procedures may not prevent or detect all errors or acts of fraud.
We are subject to the periodic reporting requirements of the Exchange Act. We are continuing to refine our disclosure controls and procedures to provide reasonable assurance that information we must disclose in reports we file or submit under the Exchange Act is accumulated and communicated to management, and recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in the rules and forms of the SEC. We believe that any disclosure controls and procedures, no matter how well conceived and operated, can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurance that the objectives of the control system are met.
These inherent limitations include the realities that judgments in decision-making can be faulty, and that breakdowns can occur because of simple error or mistake. Additionally, controls can be circumvented by the individual acts of some persons, by collusion of two or more people or by an unauthorized override of the controls. Accordingly, because of the inherent limitations in our control system, misstatements due to error or fraud may occur and not be detected, which could have a material adverse effect on investors’ confidence in our reporting and the price of our Class A common stock.
Provisions in our restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws and under Delaware law could make an acquisition of our company, which may be beneficial to our stockholders, more difficult and may prevent attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management.
Provisions in our restated certificate of incorporation and our amended and restated bylaws may discourage, delay or prevent a merger, acquisition or other change in control of our company that stockholders may consider favorable, including transactions in which our stockholders might otherwise receive a premium for their shares. These provisions could also limit the price that investors might be willing to pay in the future for shares of our Class A common stock, thereby depressing the market price of our Class A common stock. In addition, because our board of directors is responsible for appointing the members of our management team, these provisions may frustrate or prevent any attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management by making it more difficult for stockholders to replace members of our board of directors. Among other things, these provisions include those establishing:
a classified board of directors with three-year staggered terms, which may delay the ability of stockholders to change the membership of a majority of our board of directors;
no cumulative voting in the election of directors, which limits the ability of minority stockholders to elect director candidates;
the exclusive right of our board of directors to elect a director to fill a vacancy created by the expansion of the board of directors or the resignation, death or removal of a director, which prevents stockholders from filling vacancies on our board of directors;
the ability of our board of directors to authorize the issuance of shares of preferred stock and to determine the terms of those shares, including preferences and voting rights, without stockholder approval, which could be used to significantly dilute the ownership of a hostile acquirer;
the ability of our board of directors to alter our bylaws without obtaining stockholder approval;
the required approval of the holders of at least two-thirds of the shares entitled to vote at an election of directors to adopt, amend or repeal our bylaws or repeal the provisions of our restated certificate of incorporation regarding the election and removal of directors;
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the required approval of the holders of at least two-thirds of the shares entitled to vote thereon to (i) effect a reorganization, recapitalization, share exchange, share classification, consolidation, conversion or merger, (ii) sell, lease, exchange, transfer or otherwise dispose of all or substantially all of our assets, or (iii) dissolve our company or revoke a dissolution of our company;
a prohibition on stockholder action by written consent, which forces stockholder action to be taken at an annual or special meeting of our stockholders;
the requirement that a special meeting of stockholders may be called only by the chairman of the board of directors, the chief executive officer, the president or the board of directors, which may delay the ability of our stockholders to force consideration of a proposal or to take action, including the removal of directors; and
advance notice procedures that stockholders must comply with in order to nominate candidates to our board of directors or to propose matters to be acted upon at a stockholders’ meeting, which may discourage or deter a potential acquirer from conducting a solicitation of proxies to elect the acquirer’s own slate of directors or otherwise attempting to obtain control of us.
We have been, and may continue to be, subject to the actions of activist stockholders or unsolicited acquisition proposals, which could cause us to incur substantial costs, divert management’s and the board’s attention and resources, and have an adverse effect on our business and stock price.
From time to time, we may be subject to proposals by stockholders urging us to take certain corporate actions, such as changing the composition of our board of directors, our management team, selling our company or similar strategic initiatives. If activist stockholder initiatives ensue, our business could be adversely affected, as responding to such actions can be costly and time-consuming, disrupt our operations and divert the attention of management and our board of directors. For example, in connection with the unsolicited proposal from a stockholder to acquire all of our outstanding common stock in June 2022, we retained the services of various advisors, including legal, financial, and communications professionals, to advise us in considering the stockholder's proposal and during our review of strategic alternatives, the costs of which negatively impacted our financial results, and we may be required to retain such services in the future, which could have a further negative impact on our financial results. In addition, perceived uncertainties as to our future direction, strategy or leadership created as a consequence of activist stockholder initiatives may result in the loss of potential business opportunities, harm our ability to attract new investors, customers, and employees, and cause our stock price to experience periods of volatility or stagnation.
Our restated certificate of incorporation designates specific courts as the exclusive forum for certain litigation that may be initiated by our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us.
Our restated certificate of incorporation specifies that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will be the sole and exclusive forum for most legal actions involving claims brought against us by stockholders; provided that, the exclusive forum provision will not apply to suits brought to enforce any liability or duty created by the Securities Act, the Exchange Act, the rules and regulations thereunder or any other claim for which the federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction; and provided further that, if and only if the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware dismisses any such action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, such action may be brought in another state or federal court sitting in the State of Delaware. Our restated certificate of incorporation further provides that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the federal district courts of the United States of America shall, to the fullest extent permitted by law, be the sole and exclusive forum for the resolution of any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act. Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in shares of our capital stock shall be deemed to have notice of and to have consented to the provisions of our restated certificate of incorporation described above; provided, however, that stockholders cannot and will not be deemed to have waived our compliance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder.
These provisions may have the effect of discouraging lawsuits against our directors, officers, employees and agents as it may limit any stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that such stockholder finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers, employees or agents and result in additional litigation costs in pursuing any such claims. In addition, while the Delaware Supreme Court ruled in March 2020 that federal forum selection provisions purporting to require claims under the Securities Act be brought in federal court are “facially valid” under Delaware law, there is uncertainty as to whether other courts will enforce our Federal Forum Provision. If a court were to find the choice of forum
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provision contained in our restated certificate of incorporation to be inapplicable or unenforceable in an action, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such action in other jurisdictions, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations. The choice of forum provision contained in our restated certificate of incorporation may also impose additional litigation costs on stockholders who assert that the provision is not enforceable or invalid. The Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware and the federal district courts of the United States may also reach different judgments or results than would other courts, including courts where a stockholder considering an action may be located or would otherwise choose to bring the action, and such judgments may be more or less favorable to us than our stockholders.
Our ability to use our net operating losses and research and development tax credits to offset future taxable income or income tax liabilities are subject to certain limitations.
As of December 31, 2023, we had U.S. federal and state net operating loss, or NOL, carryforwards of $229.3 million and $100.4 million, respectively. These NOLs may be available to offset future taxable income, if any, that begin to expire in 2038 and 2032, respectively. Additionally, we had federal NOLs of $216.5 million generated since 2018, which do not expire. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) enacted on December 22, 2017 limits a taxpayer’s ability to utilize NOL deduction in a year to 80% taxable income for federal NOL arising in tax years beginning after 2017. In addition, we had federal and state research and development tax credits of $2.2 million and $3.2 million, respectively. These tax credits may be available to offset future tax liabilities and begin to expire in 2038 and 2024, respectively.
In general, under Sections 382 and 383 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code, a corporation that undergoes an “ownership change,” generally defined as a greater than 50 percentage point change by value in its equity ownership by one or more stockholders or groups of stockholders owning at least 5% of the corporation’s stock over a rolling three-year period, is subject to limitations on its ability to utilize its pre-ownership change NOLs and tax credits to offset future taxable income or income tax liabilities for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Similar rules may apply under state tax laws. The Company has completed a Section 382 study through July 31, 2020 to assess the limitations on use of NOLs and research and development credits due to changes in control. The study determined that ownership changes materially limited the NOL carryforwards and research and development tax credits available to offset future tax liabilities and the limitations have been reflected in the amounts of NOL carryforwards, research and development tax credits, and deferred tax assets disclosed above. The Company has not completed a Section 382 study for post July 31, 2020 transactions which could create an additional limitation although materially all of the current federal NOL carryforwards can be carried forward indefinitely. We have in the past experienced, and we may in the future experience ownership changes, some of which are outside our control. For these reasons, we are not able to utilize a material portion of the NOLs and tax credits even if we attain profitability. For additional information on our use of NOLs, see the section entitled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Components of results of operations—Income tax (benefit) expense” and Note 11—Income taxes to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
General risk factors
Because we do not anticipate paying any cash dividends on our common stock in the foreseeable future, capital appreciation, if any, would be stockholders’ sole source of gain.
We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our common stock. We currently anticipate that we will retain all available funds and future earnings for the development, operation and expansion of our business and do not anticipate declaring or paying any cash dividends for the foreseeable future. As a result, capital appreciation, if any, of our common stock will be the sole source of gain on an investment in our common stock for the foreseeable future.
If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or reports about our business, or if they issue an adverse or misleading opinion regarding our stock, our stock price and trading volume could decline, even if our business is doing well.
The trading market for our Class A common stock will be influenced by the research and reports that industry or securities analysts publish about us or our business. If the analysts who cover us issue an adverse or misleading opinion regarding us, our business model, or our stock performance, or if our product development or marketing and sales results fail to meet the expectations of analysts, our stock price could decline. If one or more of these analysts ceases coverage of us or fails to publish reports on us regularly, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which in turn could cause our stock price or trading volume to decline.
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If our estimates or judgments relating to our critical accounting policies are based on assumptions that change or prove to be incorrect, our operating results 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 Class A common stock.
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in our consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes. We base our estimates on historical experience 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. If our assumptions change or if actual circumstances differ from our assumptions, 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 Class A common stock.
We could be subject to securities class action litigation.
In the past, securities class action litigation has often been brought against a company following a decline in the market price of its securities. This risk is especially relevant for us because early-stage technology companies have experienced significant stock price volatility in recent years. If we face such litigation, it could result in substantial costs, a diversion of management’s attention and resources, and negative publicity, all of which could harm our business.
Conditions in the banking system and financial markets, including the failure of banks and financial institutions, could have an adverse effect on our operations and financial results.
Actual events involving limited liquidity, defaults, non-performance or other adverse developments that affect financial institutions, transactional counterparties or other companies in the financial services industry or the financial services industry generally, or concerns or rumors about any events of these kinds or other similar risks, have in the past and may in the future lead to market-wide liquidity problems. For example, on March 10 and March 12, 2023, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation took control and was appointed receiver of Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank and Silvergate Capital Corp, respectively, after each bank was unable to continue their operations. Since then, additional financial institutions have experienced similar failures and have been placed into receivership. It is possible that other banks will face similar difficulty in the future.
Although we do not maintain any deposit accounts, credit agreements or letters of credit with any financial institution currently in receivership, we are unable to predict the extent or nature of the impacts of these evolving circumstances at this time. If, for example, other banks and financial institutions enter receivership or become insolvent in the future in response to financial conditions affecting the banking system and financial markets, our ability to access our existing cash, cash equivalents and investments may be threatened. While it is not possible at this time to predict the extent of the impact that the failure of these financial institutions or the high market volatility and instability of the banking sector could have on economic activity and our business in particular, the failure of other banks and financial institutions and the measures taken by governments, businesses and other organizations in response to these events could adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.
None.
Item 1C. Cybersecurity.
Risk Management and Strategy

In an effort to protect our business against cybersecurity threats, we have implemented a cybersecurity risk management program that is integrated with our internal risk management processes and designed to identify and protect against cyber threats as well as to respond to and recover from cyber incidents, as applicable. Our cybersecurity risk management program is informed by industry standards, such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework, and is supported by periodic internal and external information security assessments and testing.

We have also established incident response policies and procedures, overseen by our Information Technology, or IT, Director, to review and classify cybersecurity incidents and to define roles and responsibilities for response and
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remediation in the event of a cyber incident. We also have implemented a process to provide cybersecurity awareness training to employees during onboarding and on an annual basis thereafter.

In addition, we collaborate with third-party advisory firms to periodically review and evaluate our security measures, which informs our ongoing strategy and execution of our cybersecurity program. We also leverage third-party providers to augment our internal security resources, including to support our ongoing monitoring and threat detection capabilities. We have a process to evaluate certain critical third-party providers before engagement as well as periodically thereafter, which may include a review of available audit reports, security documentation, operating controls, and industry reputation, as well as contractual requirements, as appropriate.

We have not identified any cybersecurity incidents or threats that have materially affected us or are reasonably likely to materially affect us, including our business strategy, results of operations, or financial condition; however, like other companies in our industry, we and our third-party vendors have from time to time experienced threats and security incidents that could affect our information or systems. For more information, please see our Risk Factors.

Governance Related to Cybersecurity Risks

Our board of directors considers cybersecurity risk as part of its risk oversight and has delegated the Audit Committee of the board of directors oversight of cybersecurity risks. The Audit Committee oversees management’s implementation of the cybersecurity program. We have also established a process for escalation of major cyber incidents, if applicable, to be reported to the Executive Leadership Team and the Audit Committee. Additionally, we conduct periodic meetings to keep the Executive Leadership Team and Audit Committee apprised of our risk management and overall cyber strategy, as appropriate.

Our IT Director leads day-to-day IT operations across all areas of the business and is responsible for advising on the strategic and operational processes related to our cyber risk management program. Our current IT Director has over 25 years of IT management experience, including over 15 years of experience in cybersecurity management in both public and private companies. In addition, we have assembled an IT Steering Committee, or ITSC, which is comprised of the Executive Leadership Team as well as IT management, to support management and to maintain visibility of the status and ongoing strategy of our cybersecurity program.
Item 2. Properties.
Our principal office is located in Lowell, Massachusetts, where we lease 67,663 square feet of office, laboratory, manufacturing and inventory-storage space. We lease this space under a lease agreement, as amended, which expires in July 2029. In June 2021, we entered into a sublease agreement for 33,339 square feet of office, back-up manufacturing, sales demonstration lab and research and development innovation space in Lexington, Massachusetts, which expires in June 2029. Further, we maintain inventory at storage a warehouse in Noord-Brabant, Netherlands as well as various offsite warehouses in the United States and Europe. We believe that our facilities are sufficient to meet our current needs.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings.
From time to time, we may become involved in litigation or other legal proceedings. We are not currently a party to any litigation or legal proceedings that, in the opinion of our management, are probable to have a material adverse effect on our business. Regardless of outcome, litigation can have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects because of defense and settlement costs, diversion of management resources and other factors.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.
Not Applicable.
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PART II
Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.
Market Information
On July 15, 2021, our Class A common stock began trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “RPID.” Prior to that time, there was no public market for our common stock. There is no established public trading market for our Class B common stock.
Holders
As of February 28, 2024, there were 35 holders of record of our Class A common stock and 1 holder of record of our Class B common stock.
Dividend Policy
We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our capital stock. We currently intend to retain all available funds and future earnings, if any, for the operation and expansion of our business and do not anticipate declaring or paying any dividends in the foreseeable future.
Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities; Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer or Affiliated Purchaser
None.
Use of Proceeds
On July 14, 2021, the registration statement on Form S-1 (File No. 333-257431) relating to our IPO was declared effective by the SEC. There has been no material change in the expected use of the net proceeds from our IPO as described in our final prospectus filed with the SEC pursuant to Rule 424(b) of the Securities Act and other periodic reports previously filed with the SEC.
Item 6. Reserved
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Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.
You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations together with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes appearing at the end of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Some of the information contained in this discussion and analysis or set forth elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including information with respect to our plans and strategy for our business, includes forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. As a result of many factors, including those factors set forth in the “Risk Factors” section of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, our actual results could differ materially from the results described in or implied by the forward-looking statements contained in the following discussion and analysis.
Overview
We are an innovative life sciences technology company that enables the safe and efficient manufacture of pharmaceutical products through our rapid automated microbial quality control, or MQC, detection platform. We develop, manufacture, market and sell the Growth Direct system and related proprietary consumables, and value-added services to enable rapid MQC testing in the manufacture of biologics and cell and gene therapies, vaccines, sterile injectables, and other healthcare products. Our system delivers the power of industrial automation to bioprocessing and pharmaceutical manufacturing firms by modernizing and digitizing their MQC operations. Our Growth Direct platform, developed with over 15 years of active feedback from our customers, was purpose-built to meet the growing demands posed by the increasing scale, complexity, and regulatory scrutiny confronting global pharmaceutical manufacturing. Our Growth Direct platform comprises the Growth Direct system, optional laboratory information management system, or LIMS, connection software (which the majority of our customers purchase), proprietary consumables, and comprehensive field service, validation services and post-warranty service contracts. Once embedded and validated in our customers’ facilities, our Growth Direct platform provides for recurring revenues through ongoing sales of consumables and service contracts.
Our technology fully automates and digitizes the process of pharmaceutical MQC and is designed to enable our customers to perform this critical testing process more efficiently, accurately, and securely. Our Growth Direct platform accelerates time to results by 50% or more compared to the traditional method, and reduces MQC testing to a simple two-step workflow, eliminating up to 85% of the manual steps of traditional MQC, generating significant time, operational, and cost savings for our customers. We seek to establish the Growth Direct as the trusted global standard in automated MQC by delivering the speed, accuracy, security, and data integrity compliance that our customers depend on to ensure patient safety and consistent drug supply.
Since inception, we have devoted a majority of our resources to designing, developing, and building our proprietary Growth Direct platform and associated products, launching our Growth Direct platform commercially, expanding our sales and marketing infrastructure to grow our sales, building a global customer support team to deliver our value-added services, investing in robust manufacturing and supply chain operations to serve our customers globally, and providing general and administrative support for these operations. Prior to our IPO, we funded our operations primarily with proceeds from sales of preferred stock, borrowings under loan agreements and product and service sales as well as our cost-reimbursement contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Biomedical Advanced Research & Development Authority, or BARDA.
On August 11, 2022, our board of directors approved an organizational restructuring plan, or the Restructuring Plan, to right-size our cost structure based on our lowered 2022 outlook. The Restructuring Plan involved an approximately 20% reduction in our workforce, including employees, contractors and temporary employees, which was focused on non-commercial functions. We recorded a restructuring charge of $1.1 million in the third quarter of 2022 primarily related to severance, employee benefits, outplacement and related costs under the Restructuring Plan. We had no remaining payments under the Restructuring Plan as of December 31, 2023.
On August 12, 2022, we announced our board of directors' decision to reject an unsolicited, non-binding proposal we received from a shareholder to acquire all of our outstanding common stock for $5.00 per share in cash and to commence a process to review our strategic alternatives. On December 1, 2022, we announced the conclusion of our strategic alternative review process. As a result of the process, our board of directors determined that the best path to deliver shareholder value is for us to continue executing our strategy to improve our commercial execution to drive system placement growth, advance our new product development programs and expand the market for our Growth Direct system.
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Since our inception, we have incurred net losses in each year. We generated revenue of $22.5 million and $17.1 million for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022, respectively, and incurred net losses of $52.5 million and $60.8 million for those same years. As of December 31, 2023, we had an accumulated deficit of $428.4 million. We expect to continue to incur net losses in connection with our ongoing activities, including:
growing sales of our products in both the United States and international markets by further expanding our sales and marketing capabilities;
scaling our manufacturing and supply chain processes and infrastructure to meet growing demand for our products;
investing in research and development to develop new products and further enhance our existing products;
protecting and building on our intellectual property portfolio; and
attracting, hiring and retaining qualified personnel.
Until such time as we can generate revenue sufficient to achieve profitability, we expect to finance our operations through a combination of equity offerings and debt financings. If we are unable to raise capital or enter into such agreements as, and when, needed, we may have to significantly delay, scale back or discontinue our expansion plans including the further development and commercialization efforts of one or more of our products, or may be forced to reduce or terminate our operations.
We believe that our cash, cash equivalents and investments as of December 31, 2023 will enable us to fund our operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements for at least twelve months following the date these consolidated financial statements were issued. We have based this estimate on assumptions that may prove to be wrong, and we could exhaust our available capital resources sooner than we expect. See “Liquidity and Capital Resources.”
Effects of inflation and interest rates
The current inflationary environment and rising interest rates could have a negative impact on our results of operations, cash flows and overall financial condition. We may experience inflationary pressures on significant cost categories including labor, materials and freight. We continue to monitor the impact of inflation on these costs in order to minimize its effects through productivity improvements and cost reductions. There can be no assurance, however, that our operating results will not be affected by inflation in the future. In addition, inflation and increased interest rates may decrease demand for our Growth Direct systems, as our customers may face economic uncertainty or higher cost of capital as a result. A decrease in demand for our products or increases in our costs, as well as any steps we may take to mitigate changes, could impact our overall growth. However, the related financial impact cannot be reasonably estimated at this time.
Factors affecting our performance
We believe that our financial performance has been, and in the foreseeable future will continue to be, primarily driven by multiple factors as described below, each of which presents growth opportunities and challenges for our business. Our ability to successfully address these opportunities and challenges is subject to various risks and uncertainties, including those described under the heading “Risk Factors.”
New customer adoption of the Growth Direct platform
Our financial performance has largely been driven by, and a key factor to our future success will be, our ability to increase the global adoption of our Growth Direct platform in our key markets. We plan to drive global customer adoption through both direct and indirect sales and marketing organizations in North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region.
We are focused on enhancing customer engagement and experience and continuing to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our sales team. We are making targeted investments in these organizations and expect to continue to do so in the future. Examples of these investments include new tools and training for our sales organization, targeted marketing, expanding lead generation capabilities and hosting customer-related Growth Direct demonstrations and other customer-focused events.
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Expansion within our existing customer base
There is an opportunity to increase broader adoption and utilization of our Growth Direct platform throughout our existing customers’ organizations by existing customers purchasing more systems. These additional systems will allow our existing customers to convert more of their test volume at existing locations, to support multiple locations, to meet redundancy requirements, or to increase capacity. As of December 31, 2023, approximately 40% of our customers have purchased Growth Direct systems for multiple sites, and approximately 55% of our customers have purchased multiple Growth Direct systems. Increased utilization amongst existing customers can also occur as customers advance through the Growth Direct platform adoption cycle, from early validation of initial applications to validation and conversion of multiple applications on the Growth Direct platform, or as the result of new product approvals or increases in their manufacturing volumes for existing products.
Innovating and launching new products on the Growth Direct platform
We believe the depth, scalability and robust capabilities of our Growth Direct platform allow us to address key opportunities and challenges facing MQC testing in the pharmaceutical industry. As an innovative leader in automated MQC testing, we intend to invest in further enhancements in our existing Growth Direct platform as well as end-to-end workflow solutions in our core market. We plan to further invest in research and development to support the expansion of our Growth Direct platform through development and launch of new applications, such as our rapid sterility application, to capture greater share of customer testing volume, new product formats to broaden our ability to serve different market segments and launch of new products and technologies to address adjacent segments of the overall MQC workflow. We plan to continue to hire employees with the necessary scientific and technical backgrounds to enhance our existing products and help us introduce new products to market. We expect to incur additional research and development expenses as a result. By expanding and continuously enhancing the Growth Direct platform, we believe we can drive incremental revenue from existing clients as well as broaden the appeal of our solutions to potential new customers.
Revenue mix
Our revenue is derived from sales of our Growth Direct systems, our LIMS connection and other software, proprietary consumables, and services. Growth Direct system revenue involves a capital selling process and tends to be somewhat concentrated within a relatively small (but varied) group of customers each year, so it is subject to variability from quarter to quarter.
Gross margin improvement
The majority of our customers are large global pharmaceutical manufacturers and CDMOs. In order to meet the expectations of our customers, we have made significant investments to build infrastructure and develop capabilities in areas such as procurement, manufacturing, distribution, quality and after sales service. Given our current business scale, our revenues are not yet sufficient to fully cover these costs, impacting our current gross margin profile.
In order to improve our gross margins, we are actively targeting numerous areas including:

Reducing instrument and consumable product costs (materials and labor) through activities including strategic sourcing and product redesign;

Increasing product manufacturing efficiency through activities including increased throughput on our automated consumables manufacturing line and manufacturing process optimization; and

Increasing productivity and efficiency in our service organization.

At the same time, we also expect future revenues from both products and services to grow at rates significantly higher than the costs related to provide and support those products and services. As a result, we also expect increasing revenues from both products and services to contribute significantly to future gross margin expansion. We have experienced positive trends in gross margin, improving from (49.8)% to (24.4)% for the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2023, respectively.
Key business metrics
We regularly review the following key business metrics to evaluate our business, measure our performance, identify trends affecting our business, formulate financial projections and make strategic decisions. We believe that the following
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metrics are representative of our current business; however, we anticipate these may change or be substituted for additional or different metrics as our business grows and evolves.
Year Ended
December 31,
Change
Amount
%
20232022
(dollars in thousands)
Systems placed:
Systems placed in period169777.8 %
Cumulative systems placed1411251612.8 %
Systems validated:
Systems validated in period1819(1)(5.3 %)
Cumulative systems validated1211031817.5 %
Product and service revenue — total$22,519 $17,133 $5,386 31.4 %
Product and service revenue — recurring$13,546 $10,983 $2,563 23.3 %
Growth Direct system placements
We consider a Growth Direct system to be “placed” upon transfer of control of the system to the customer, at which point the revenue for that system is recognized. We regularly review the number of Growth Direct systems placed and cumulative Growth Direct system placements in each period as a leading indicator of our business performance. Our revenue has historically been driven by, and in the future will continue to be impacted by, the rate of Growth Direct system placements as a reflection of our success selling and delivering our products. We expect our Growth Direct system placements to continue to grow over time as we increase penetration in our existing markets and expand into new markets.
The number of Growth Direct system placements and rate of growth varies from period-to-period due to factors including, but not limited to, Growth Direct system order volume and timing, and access to customer sites (including coronavirus related restrictions in 2022 and the timing of customer site construction activities). As a result, we expect to experience continued variability in our period-to-period number of Growth Direct system placements due to the aforementioned factors.
Validated systems
We regularly review the number of Growth Direct systems validated and cumulative Growth Direct systems validated in each period as indicators of our business performance. Management focuses on validated Growth Direct systems as a leading indicator of likely future recurring revenue as well as a reflection of our success supporting our customers’ validating placed systems. We expect our validated Growth Direct systems to continue to grow over time as we increase our base of cumulative systems placed and then validate those systems. After a Growth Direct system is placed with a customer and installed, we work with the customer to validate the system, which typically takes anywhere from three to nine months. Once a validation has been completed, we generally expect our customers to transition from their legacy manual method to our automated method and begin regular utilization of consumables over a period of up to three months after we complete our validation. However, the timeline for such transition may be longer depending on the needs of individual customers. In addition, in exceptional cases, we have reacquired Growth Direct systems from customers that were previously placed and, in some cases, previously validated. Our metrics showing cumulative systems placed and cumulative systems validated are not reduced to reflect these reacquired systems.
The number of validated Growth Direct systems and rate of growth varies from period-to-period due to factors including, but not limited to, Growth Direct system order volume and timing, whether customers have previously validated Growth Direct systems within their site or network, access to customer sites, customer site readiness and the time to install and validate each individual system. As a result, we expect to experience continued fluctuations in our period-to-period number of Growth Direct systems validated due to the aforementioned factors.
Recurring revenue
We regularly assess trends relating to recurring revenue, which is the revenue from consumables and service contracts, based on our product offerings, our customer base and our understanding of how our customers use our products.
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Recurring revenue was 60.2% and 64.1% of our total revenue for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022, respectively. Our recurring revenue as a percentage of the total product and service revenue will generally vary based upon the number of Growth Direct systems placed and the cumulative number of systems validated and in routine use in the period, as well as other variables such as the volume of tests being conducted, and the test application(s) being used on those Growth Direct systems.
Components of results of operations
Revenue
We generate revenue from sales of our Growth Direct system (including our LIMS connection and other software), consumables, validation services, service contracts and field service. We primarily sell our products and services through direct sales representatives. The arrangements are noncancellable and nonrefundable after ownership passes to the customer.
Year Ended
December 31, 2023
Percentage
of total
revenue
Year Ended
December 31, 2022
Percentage
of total
revenue
(in thousands)(in thousands)
Product revenue$14,805 65.7 %$11,056 64.5 %
Service revenue7,714 34.3 %6,077 35.5 %
Total revenue$22,519 100.0 %$17,133 100.0 %
Product revenue
We derive product revenue primarily from the sale of our Growth Direct systems and related consumables as well as our LIMS connection software, which the majority of our customers purchase. As of December 31, 2023, we had placed 141 Growth Direct systems to forty customers globally, including 70% of the top twenty pharmaceutical companies as measured by revenue and the manufacturers of approximately 24% of globally approved cell and gene therapies, including manufacturers of 100% of approved gene-modified autologous CAR-T cell therapies..
Growth Direct systems
Growth Direct system revenue is a non-recurring product revenue stream that we recognize as revenue upon transfer of control of the system to the customer. The Growth Direct system is fully functional for use by the customer upon delivery as we do not require our customers to use our installation and validation services, however it is unusual for our customers to not purchase those services. As such, transfer of control occurs at shipment or delivery depending on contractual terms.
We expect our Growth Direct system revenue to continue to grow over time as we increase system placements in our existing customers and markets and expand into new customers and markets.
Consumables
Our consumable revenue is a recurring product revenue stream composed of two proprietary consumables to capture test samples for analysis on the Growth Direct system, an Environmental Monitoring, or EM, consumable, and a Water/Bioburden consumable, or W/BB, consumable. Both proprietary consumables support the growth-based compendial method for MQC testing mandated by global regulators and provide results that are comparable to traditional consumables. Our consumables are designed with features that enable automation on the Growth Direct system, with bar coding for tracking and data integrity, and physical characteristics for robotic handling, to support vision detection, and to prevent counterfeiting.
We expect consumable revenue to increase in future periods as our base of cumulative validated Growth Direct systems grows and those systems enter routine use and utilize our consumables on a recurring, ongoing basis.
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LIMS Connection Software
Our LIMS connection software is a non-recurring product revenue stream. Although optional, the majority of our customers elect to purchase this software, which allows Growth Direct systems to export result reports and securely link to a customer’s two-way LIMS connection software to completely eliminate manual data entry and drive productivity.
Service revenue
We derive service revenue from validation services, field service including installations, and service contracts sold to our customers. Revenue from validation services and field service are non-recurring service revenue streams, while revenue from service contracts is a recurring service revenue stream.
We offer our customers validation services (including related documentation) that enable them to replace their existing manual testing method and utilize their Growth Direct systems in compliance with relevant MQC regulations. Validation services are recognized as revenue over time as these services are provided to the customer.
We offer our customers service contracts that can be purchased after the expiration of the one-year assurance warranty that all of our customers receive with the purchase of a Growth Direct system. Under these contracts, they are entitled to receive phone support, emergency on-site maintenance support and two preventative maintenance visits per year. These service contracts generally have fixed fees and a term of one year. We recognize revenue from the sale of service contracts over time as these services are provided over the respective contract term.
We also offer our customers field service which primarily consists of services provided by our field service engineers to install Growth Direct systems at customer sites. We recognize revenue from field service over time as these services are provided to the customer.
We expect service revenue to increase in future periods as the number of placed and validated Growth Direct systems grows and we are able to generate increasing non-recurring revenue from validation services and field service for newly placed systems and increasing recurring revenue from service contracts for validated systems.
Costs and operating expenses
Costs of revenue
Cost of product revenue primarily consists of costs for raw material parts and associated freight, shipping and handling costs, salaries and other personnel costs including stock-based compensation expense, contract manufacturer costs, scrap, warranty cost, inventory reserves, royalties, depreciation and amortization expense, allocated information technology and facility-related costs, overhead and other costs related to those sales recognized as product revenue in the period.
Cost of service revenue primarily consists of salaries and other personnel costs including stock-based compensation expense, travel costs, materials consumed when performing installations, validations and other services, allocated information technology and facility-related costs, costs associated with training, and other expenses related to service revenue recognized in the period.
Research and development
Research and development expenses consist primarily of costs incurred for our research activities, product development, hardware and software engineering and consultant services and other costs associated with our technology Growth Direct platform and products, which include:
employee-related expenses, including costs for salaries, bonuses and other personnel costs including stock-based compensation expense, for employees engaged in research and development functions;
the cost of developing, maintaining and improving new and existing product designs;
the cost of hardware and software engineering;
research materials and supplies;
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external costs of outside consultants engaged to conduct research and development associated with our technology and products; and
allocated information technology and facility-related costs, which include headcount-related costs for those functions as well as expenses for information technology systems and services, software, rent, facilities maintenance, and insurance as well as related depreciation and amortization.
Our research and development costs are expensed as incurred. We believe that our continued investment in research and development is essential to our long-term competitive position, and we expect these expenses to increase in future periods.
Sales and marketing
Sales and marketing expenses consist primarily of salaries, commissions, benefits and other personnel costs including stock-based compensation expense as well as costs relating to travel, consulting, public relations and allocated information technology and facility-related costs for our employees engaged in sales and marketing activities. We expect sales and marketing expenses to increase in future periods as the number of sales and marketing personnel grows and we continue to expand our geographic reach and capabilities, broaden our customer base and introduce new products.
General and administrative
General and administrative expenses consist primarily of salaries, bonuses and other personnel costs including stock-based compensation expense for our executive, finance, legal, human resources and general management employees, as well as director and officer insurance costs and professional fees for legal, patent, accounting, audit, investor relations, recruiting, consulting, regulatory, compliance, board of directors' fees and other services. General and administrative expenses also include direct and allocated information technology and facility-related costs. General and administrative expenses are expected to increase in future periods as the number of administrative personnel grows to support increasing business size and complexity.
Other income (expense)
Interest income, net
Interest income, net is comprised of interest income from investments.
Other (expense) income, net
Other (expense) income , net primarily consists of other miscellaneous income and expense unrelated to our core operations.
Income tax expense (benefit)
We generated significant taxable losses during the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022, and, therefore, have not recorded any U.S. federal or state income tax expense during those periods. However, we did record an immaterial amount of foreign income tax expense during each of those periods. Additionally, as a result of a favorable outcome related to a tax examination for our German subsidiary, Rapid Micro Biosystems Europe GmbH, we recorded an income tax benefit of $0.6 million during the year ended December 31, 2022.
We have not recorded any U.S. federal or state income tax benefits for the net operating losses, or NOLs, we have incurred in each year or for the research and development tax credits we have generated in the United States. As of December 31, 2023, we had U.S. federal and state NOL carryforwards of $229.3 million and $100.4 million, respectively. These NOLs may be available to offset future taxable income and begin to expire in 2038 and 2032, respectively. Additionally, we had a U.S. federal NOL carryforward of $216.5 million generated since 2018, which do not expire. As of December 31, 2023, we also had U.S. federal and state research and development tax credit carryforwards of $2.2 million and $3.2 million, respectively. These tax credits may be available to offset future tax liabilities and begin to expire in 2038 and 2024, respectively. Utilization of the U.S. federal and state NOL carryforwards and research and development tax credit carryforwards may be subject to a substantial annual limitation due to ownership changes that have occurred previously or that could occur in the future.
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We completed a Section 382 study through July 31, 2020 to assess whether a change of control has occurred or whether there have been multiple changes of control. The study determined that ownership changes materially limited the NOL carryforwards and research and development tax credits available to offset future tax liabilities and the limitations have been reflected in the amounts of NOL carryforwards, research and development tax credits, and deferred tax assets disclosed above through that date. We have not completed a Section 382 study of transactions subsequent to July 31, 2020 which may have created additional limitations although materially all of the current U.S. federal NOL carryforwards can be carried forward indefinitely. For additional information, see the risk factor entitled “Our ability to use our net operating losses and research and development tax credits to offset future taxable income or income tax liabilities are subject to certain limitations” and Note 11—Income taxes to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We have recorded a full valuation allowance against our net deferred tax assets at each balance sheet date because of uncertainty about future taxable income to permit use of the assets.
Results of operations
Comparison of the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022
Year Ended
December 31,
2023
December 31,
2022
Change
Amount%
(dollars in thousands)
Revenue:
Product revenue$14,805 $11,056 $3,749 33.9 %
Service revenue7,714 6,077 1,637 26.9 %
Total revenue$22,519 $17,133 $5,386 31.4 %
Revenue
Product revenue increased by $3.7 million, or 33.9%, with the increase primarily attributable to 16 Growth Direct system placements in 2023, compared to 9 in the prior year, as well as higher consumable shipment volumes due to an increase in cumulative validated Growth Direct systems. The mix of consumable products sold also had a positive impact on revenue partially offset by lower net system pricing.
Service revenue increased by $1.6 million, or 26.9%. The increase was largely attributable to increased recurring service maintenance contracts due to our growing number of validated Growth Direct systems at customer sites. The increase in Growth Direct system placements also led to increased validation services revenue.
During 2022, coronavirus-related restrictions had a negative effect on our product and service revenue. These restrictions have since eased and our increased access to customers (including customer sites) positively impacted our product and service revenue for the year ended December 31, 2023 as compared to prior periods.
Costs of revenue
Year Ended
December 31,
2023
December 31,
2022
Change
Amount%
(dollars in thousands)
Cost of product revenue$20,060 $18,477 $1,583 8.6 %
Cost of service revenue$7,944 $7,196 $748 10.4 %
Cost of product revenue increased by $1.6 million, or 8.6%. The increase was driven by costs related to higher volume of both Growth Direct system placements and consumable shipments. This increase was partially offset by a net
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improvement in production costs driven in part by higher production volumes in systems and the benefit of cost reduction activities in consumables.
Cost of service revenue increased by $0.7 million, or 10.4%. This increase was primarily due to higher employee-related costs due to increases in headcount to support the growing number of Growth Direct systems placed and validated.
Research and development
Year Ended
December 31,
Change
20232022Amount%
(dollars in thousands)
Research and development$12,820 $12,866 $(46)(0.4)%
Percentage of total revenue56.9 %75.1 %
Research and development expenses remained relatively flat year over year. The slight decrease in expense was attributable to a decrease in spending on third-party contractors, which was largely offset by an increase in compensation and benefit costs as a result of higher headcount.
Year Ended
December 31,
Change
20232022Amount%
(dollars in thousands)
Sales and marketing$13,322 $14,994 $(1,672)(11.2)%
Percentage of total revenue59.2 %87.5 %
Sales and marketing expenses decreased by $1.7 million, or 11.2%. This decrease was primarily attributable to reductions in severance expense due to the impact of the Restructuring Plan in the prior year as well as the timing of turnover and hiring in both periods.
General and administrative
Year Ended
December 31,
Change
20232022Amount%
(dollars in thousands)
General and administrative$24,936 $26,819 $(1,883)(7.0)%
Percentage of total revenue110.7 %156.5 %  
General and administrative expenses decreased by $1.9 million, or 7.0%. This decrease was driven by a reduction in legal- and investor relations-related costs following an unsolicited non-binding proposal from a stockholder to acquire the Company that concluded in December 2022. Reductions in consulting expenses and lower business insurance premiums also contributed to the overall decrease. These decreases were largely offset by several increases including the impact of the retention bonus program we put into place in connection with our Restructuring Plan, which replaced the annual bonus for eligible employees in 2022 and thereby decreased net bonus expense in the prior-year period. Additionally, we incurred higher stock compensation expenses due mainly to additional equity award grants during 2023. We also incurred higher utility, facility and information-technology-related costs due to additional leased space in our Lowell, Massachusetts headquarters, which partially offset the decreases described above.
Other income (expense)
Interest income
Interest income for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022 was $4.2 million and $1.8 million, respectively. The increase of $2.4 million, or 136.8%, was the result of higher interest income due to higher interest rates earned on our investments.
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Other (expense) income
Other (expense) income, which is comprised of miscellaneous expenses unrelated to our core business, remained relatively flat for the year ended December 31, 2023.
Income tax expense (benefit)
Income tax expense (benefit) was an expense of $0.1 million and a benefit of $0.6 million for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022, respectively. Both the expense and the benefit recorded related to our German subsidiary. During the year ended December 31, 2022, we adjusted an uncertain tax liability we had recorded for that subsidiary as a result of the favorable outcome of an examination for the tax years 2016 through 2018, resulting in an income tax benefit in that year.
Liquidity and capital resources
Since our inception, we have incurred operating losses. To date, we have funded our operations primarily through proceeds from sales of redeemable convertible preferred stock, borrowings under loan agreements, revenue from sales of our products, services and contracts and proceeds from our IPO.
On December 15, 2023, we entered into a sales agreement, or the ATM Agreement, to establish an "at-the-market" facility with Cowen and Company, LLC, or Cowen, pursuant to which we may issue and sell shares of our Class A common stock having aggregate sales proceeds of up to $50,000,000 from time to time through Cowen, acting as sales agent and/or principal. The prospectus we filed related to the ATM Agreement permits us to issue and sell up to $10,000,000 of shares of Class A common stock from time to time through Cowen. Under the ATM Agreement, we agreed to pay Cowen a commission of up to 3.0% of the gross proceeds from any sales of shares of our Class A common stock under this facility. During the year ended December 31, 2023 through the filing date of this Annual Report, we did not issue or sell any shares of our Class A common stock under this facility.

We believe that our cash, cash equivalents and short and long-term investments will enable us to fund our operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements for at least twelve months following the date the consolidated financial statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2023 were issued.

As of December 31, 2023, we had the following cash and investment-related assets on our consolidated balance sheet (in thousands):

December 31, 2023
Cash and cash equivalents$24,285 
Short-term investments67,768 
Long-term investments2,911 
Restricted cash284 
Total$95,248 
Contractual obligations and commitments
In October 2013, we entered into an operating lease for office and manufacturing space in Lowell, Massachusetts. In March 2022, we amended the lease to increase the amount of facility space subject to the lease and extend the expiration of the lease from July 2026 to July 2029. The terms of the amendment include options for a one-time, five-year extension of the lease and early termination of the lease in July 2026 (subject to an early termination fee). Monthly rent payments are fixed and future minimum lease payments under the lease (as amended) are $3.7 million as of December 31, 2023, including $0.6 million in short-term obligations.
In June 2021, we entered into a sublease agreement for office and back-up manufacturing space in Lexington, Massachusetts, which expires in June 2029. The sublease agreement includes an option to terminate the sublease in July 2026, subject to an early termination fee. Monthly rent payments are fixed and future minimum lease payments over the term of the sublease are $4.2 million as of December 31, 2023, including $0.7 million in short-term obligations. Concurrent with entering into the sublease agreement, we executed an option agreement with the property owner which provides us the
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option to enter into a new direct lease for the Lexington facility for an additional five years following expiration of the sublease.
For additional information on our contractual obligation and commitments please see Note 14 — Commitments and Contingencies to our consolidated financial statements.
Cash flows
The following table summarizes our sources and uses of cash for each of the periods presented:
Year Ended December 31,
20232022
Net cash used in operating activities$(45,081)$(58,547)
Net cash provided by (used in) investing activities
42,153 (93,469)
Net cash provided by financing activities149 693 
Net decrease in cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash
$(2,779)$(151,323)
Operating activities
During the year ended December 31, 2023, net cash used in operating activities was $45.1 million, a decrease of $13.5 million compared to the prior year. The lower use of net cash was primarily a result of working capital and inventory management activities resulting in significantly lower inventory purchases throughout 2023. The timing of payments to vendors and the timing of employee bonus payments also had a positive impact on net cash used in operating activities.
Investing activities
During the year ended December 31, 2023, net cash provided by investing activities was $42.2 million, compared to net cash used in investing activities of $93.5 million during the year ended December 31, 2022. The change was largely attributable to an increase in investment maturities as well as fewer purchases of both investments and property and equipment.
Financing activities
During the year ended December 31, 2023, net cash provided by financing activities was $0.1 million, a decrease of $0.5 million compared to the year ended December 31, 2022. In both periods, substantially all of the net cash provided by financing activities related to proceeds from stock option exercises and purchases from our ESPP.
Nasdaq notice of failure to satisfy a continued listing rule
On February 2, 2024, we received a notification letter from the Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Staff of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC, or Nasdaq, notifying us that the bid price for our Class A common stock, par value $0.01 per share, had closed below $1.00 per share for thirty (30) consecutive business days and that, as a result, we were not in compliance with the minimum bid price requirement for continued inclusion on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under Nasdaq Listing Rule 5550(a)(2), or the Bid Price Requirement. We have a period of 180 calendar days to regain compliance with the Bid Price Requirement, which will expire on July 31, 2024. To regain compliance, the closing bid price of our Class A common stock must be at least $1.00 or higher for a minimum of ten consecutive business days, though Nasdaq has the discretion to extend the ten business day period to up to 20 consecutive business days. Previously, in September 2023, we received a similar notification letter from Nasdaq related to a deficiency in the Bid Price Requirement, for which we regained compliance later in that month.
Seasonality
Our revenues can vary from quarter to quarter as a result of factors such as our customers’ budgetary cycles and extended summer vacation periods that can impact our ability to deliver products and provide onsite services to our customers during those periods. We expect this volatility to continue for the foreseeable future, which may cause fluctuations in our operating results and financial metrics.
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Critical accounting policies and significant judgments and estimates
Our consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States. 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. Our estimates are based on our 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 — Summary of Significant Accounting Policies — to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we believe that the following critical accounting policies are those most important to the judgments and estimates used in the preparation of our consolidated financial statements.
Revenue recognition
Product revenue
We derive product revenue primarily from the sale of Growth Direct systems and related consumables. Product revenue is recognized when control of the promised systems and consumables is transferred to our customers, in an amount that reflects the consideration we expect to be entitled to in exchange for those products or consumables (the transaction price). For Growth Direct systems and consumables sold by us, control transfers to the customer at a point in time.
Service revenue
We derive service revenue primarily from the sale of validation services, service contracts and field service (including installation). Revenue is recognized when services are provided to our customers, in an amount that reflects the consideration we expect to be entitled to in exchange for those services (the transaction price). Service revenue is recognized over time using an input method based on time lapsed for service contracts and using an output method based on milestones achieved for validation services and field service.
Performance obligations
A performance obligation is a promise in a contract to transfer a distinct product or service to a customer that are both capable of being distinct, whereby the customer can benefit from the product or service either on its own or together with other resources that are readily available, and are distinct in the context of the contract, whereby the transfer of the product or service is separately identifiable from other promises in the contract. Our main performance obligations in customer arrangements are Growth Direct systems, LIMS connection software, proprietary consumables, validation services, field service (including installation services) and services due under service contracts.
Multiple performance obligations
Our contracts may include multiple performance obligations when customers purchase a combination of products and services such as Growth Direct system sold together with the LIMS connection software, proprietary consumables or services. For these arrangements, we allocate the contract’s transaction price to each performance obligation on a relative standalone selling price basis using our best estimate of the standalone selling price of each distinct product or service in the contract. The primary methods used to estimate standalone selling prices are based on the prices observed in standalone sales to customers or cost-plus margin depending on the nature of the obligation and available evidence of fair value. Allocation of the transaction price is determined at contract’s inception.
Stock-based compensation
We measure stock-based option awards granted to employees, officers and directors based on their fair value on the date of grant using the Black-Scholes option-pricing model. Compensation expense for those awards is recognized over the requisite service period, which is generally the vesting period of the respective award. We account for forfeitures as they occur. The straight-line method of expense recognition is applied to all awards with service-only conditions.
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The fair value of each stock option is estimated on the grant date using the Black-Scholes option-pricing model, which uses inputs such as 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, and our expected dividend yield.
We measure all restricted common stock and restricted stock units granted to employees based on the common stock value on the date of grant. The purchase price of the restricted common stock was the common stock value on the date of grant.
Valuation of inventory
We value inventory at the lower of cost or net realizable value. Cost is computed using the first-in, first-out method. We regularly review inventory quantities on-hand for excess and obsolescence and, when circumstances indicate, we record charges to write down inventories to their estimated net realizable value after evaluating future demand, expected product life cycles and current inventory levels. Such charges are classified as cost of product revenue in the statements of operations. Any write-down of inventory to net realizable value creates a new cost basis.
Recently issued accounting pronouncements
A description of recently issued accounting pronouncements that may potentially impact our financial position, results of operations or cash flows is disclosed in Note 2 — Summary of Significant Accounting Policies to our consolidated financial statements appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Emerging growth company status
The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, or the JOBS Act, permits an “emerging growth company” such as us to take advantage of an extended transition period to comply with new or revised accounting standards applicable to public companies until those standards would otherwise apply to private companies. We have elected to use this extended transition period for complying with new or revised accounting standards that have different effective dates for public and private companies until the earlier of the date we (i) are no longer an emerging growth company or (ii) affirmatively and irrevocably opt out of the extended transition period provided in the JOBS Act. As a result, we will not be subject to the same new or revised accounting standards as other public companies that are not emerging growth companies, and our financial statements may not be comparable to other public companies that comply with new or revised accounting pronouncements as of public company effective dates. We may choose to early adopt any new or revised accounting standards whenever such early adoption is permitted for private companies.
We will cease to be an emerging growth company on the date that is the earliest of (i) the last day of the fiscal year in which we have total annual gross revenues of $1.07 billion or more, (ii) the last day of our fiscal year following the fifth anniversary of the date of the closing of the IPO, (iii) the date on which we have issued more than $1.0 billion in nonconvertible debt during the previous three years or (iv) the date on which we are deemed to be a large accelerated filer under the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Further, even after we no longer qualify as an emerging growth company, we may still qualify as a “smaller reporting company,” which would allow us to take advantage of many of the same exemptions from disclosure requirements, including reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements.
Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk.
Interest rate risk
As of December 31, 2023, we had cash, cash equivalents and short- and long-term investments of $95.0 million, which consisted of cash, money market funds, U.S. treasury bills, certificates of deposit, and U.S. treasury notes. 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 interest rates would not have a material effect on the fair market value of our investment portfolio.
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Foreign currency exchange risk
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.
Inflation risk
While we have experienced some impact from inflation related mainly to our materials, labor and freight costs, we have been able to mitigate further impacts through the maintenance of increased inventory levels and long-term contracts and commitments with key suppliers. As a result, we do not believe that inflation has had a material effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations. If our costs were to become subject to significant incremental inflationary pressures, we may not be able to meaningfully offset such higher costs through price increases. Our inability or failure to do so could harm our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.
The financial statements required to be filed pursuant to this Item 8 are appended to this Annual Report on Form 10-K. An index of those financial statements is found in Item 15 of Part IV of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure.
None.
Item 9A. Controls and Procedures.
Limitations on effectiveness of controls and procedures
In designing and evaluating our disclosure controls and procedures, management recognizes that any controls and procedures, no matter how well designed and operated, can provide only reasonable assurance of achieving the desired control objectives. In addition, the design of disclosure controls and procedures must reflect the fact that there are resource constraints and that management is required to apply judgment in evaluating the benefits of possible controls and procedures relative to their costs.
Evaluation of disclosure controls and procedures
Our management, with the participation of our principal executive officer and principal financial officer, evaluated, as of the end of the period covered by this Annual Report on Form 10-K, the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures (as defined in Rules 13a-15(e) and 15d-15(e) under the Exchange Act). Based on that evaluation, our principal executive officer and principal financial officer concluded that, as of December 31, 2023, our disclosure controls and procedures were effective at the reasonable assurance level.
Management’s annual report on internal control over financial reporting
Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting. Internal control over financial reporting is defined in Rules 13a-15(f) and 15d-15(f) promulgated under the Exchange Act as a process designed by, or under the supervision of, the company’s principal executive and principal financial officers and effected by the company’s board of directors, management and other personnel, to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and includes those policies and procedures that:

Pertain to the maintenance of records that in reasonable detail accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company;
Provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company;
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and
Provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use or disposition of the company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.
Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Therefore, even those systems determined to be effective can provide only reasonable assurance with respect to financial statement preparation and presentation. Projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.
Under the supervision and with the participation of our management, including our principal executive officer and principal financial officer, we conducted an evaluation of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting based on the 2013 framework in Internal Control—Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission. Based on our evaluation under that framework, our management concluded that our internal control over financial reporting was effective as of December 31, 2023.
Changes in internal control over financial reporting
There were no changes in our internal control over financial reporting (as defined in Rules 13a-15(f) and 15d-15(f) under the Exchange Act) during the quarter ended December 31, 2023 that have materially affected, or are reasonably likely to materially affect, our internal control over financial reporting.
Item 9B. Other Information.

(a) None.

(b) Director and Officer Trading Arrangements

None of our directors or officers adopted or terminated a Rule 10b5-1 trading arrangement, or adopted or terminated a non-Rule 10b5-1 trading arrangement (as defined in Item 408(c) of Regulation S-K) during the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2023.

Item 9C. Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections.
Not Applicable.
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PART III
Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance.
The information required by this Item 10 will be set forth in our Proxy Statement for the 2024 Annual Meeting of Stockholders and is incorporated in this Annual Report on Form 10-K by reference.
Item 11. Executive Compensation.
The information required by this Item 11 will be set forth in our Proxy Statement for the 2024 Annual Meeting of Stockholders and is incorporated in this Annual Report on Form 10-K by reference.
Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters.
The information required by this Item 12 will be set forth in our Proxy Statement for the 2024 Annual Meeting of Stockholders and is incorporated in this Annual Report on Form 10-K by reference.
Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence.
The information required by this Item 13 will be set forth in our Proxy Statement for the 2024 Annual Meeting of Stockholders and is incorporated in this Annual Report on Form 10-K by reference.
Item 14. Principal Accountant Fees and Services.
Our independent public accounting firm is PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Boston, Massachusetts (PCAOB Auditor ID: 238).
The information required by this Item 14 will be set forth in our Proxy Statement for our 2024 Annual Meeting of Stockholders and is incorporated in this Annual Report on Form 10-K by reference.
PART IV
Item 15. Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules
The following documents are filed as part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K:
(a)(1) Financial Statements.
For a list of consolidated financial statements included herein, see Index to Consolidated Financial Statements on page F-1 attached to this Annual Report on Form 10-K, incorporated into this item by reference.
(a)(2) Financial Statement Schedules.
Financial statement schedules have been omitted because they are either not required or not applicable or the information is included in the consolidated financial statements or the notes thereto.
(a)(3) Exhibits.
The exhibits filed as part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K are listed in the Exhibit Index immediately preceding the signature page, which Exhibit Index is incorporated herein by reference.
Item 16. Form 10-K Summary.
We may voluntarily include a summary of information required by Form 10-K under this Item 16. We have elected not to include such summary information.
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EXHIBIT INDEX
Exhibit
Number
Description of Exhibit
10.3
10.4  
10.9†   
10.10†   
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Exhibit
Number
Description of Exhibit
10.11†  
10.12†  
10.13†  
21.1  
101.INS*Inline XBRL Instance Document – the instance document does not appear in the Interactive Data File because its XBRL tags are embedded within the Inline XBRL document
101.SCH*Inline XBRL Taxonomy Extension Schema Document.
101.CAL*Inline XBRL Taxonomy Extension Calculation Linkbase Document.
101.DEF*Inline XBRL Taxonomy Extension Definition Linkbase Document
101.LAB*Inline XBRL Taxonomy Extension Label Linkbase Document
101.PRE*Inline XBRL Taxonomy Extension Presentation Linkbase Document
104*Cover Page Interactive Data File (formatted as Inline XBRL and contained in Exhibit 101)
______________________________
*            Filed herewith.
#            Furnished herewith.
†            Indicates management contract or compensatory plan.
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**          Portions of this exhibit (indicated by asterisks) have been redacted in compliance with Regulation S-K Item 601(b)(10)(iv).
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SIGNATURES
Pursuant to the requirements of Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, the registrant has duly caused this Annual Report on Form 10-K to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned, thereunto duly authorized.
RAPID MICRO BIOSYSTEMS, INC.
Date: March 1, 2024
By:/s/ Robert Spignesi
Robert Spignesi
President and Chief Executive Officer
POWER OF ATTORNEY AND SIGNATURES
Each person whose individual signature appears below hereby authorizes and appoints Robert Spignesi and Sean Wirtjes, and each of them, with full power of substitution and resubstitution and full power to act without the other, as his or her true and lawful attorney-in-fact and agent to act in his or her name, place and stead and to execute in the name and on behalf of each person, individually and in each capacity stated below, and to file any and all amendments to this Annual Report on Form 10-K and to file the same, with all exhibits thereto, and other documents in connection therewith, with the Securities and Exchange Commission, granting unto said attorneys-in-fact and agents, and each of them, full power and authority to do and perform each and every act and thing, ratifying and confirming all that said attorneys-in-fact and agents or any of them or their or his or her substitute or substitutes may lawfully do or cause to be done by virtue thereof.
Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, this Annual Report on Form 10-K has been signed below by the following persons on behalf of the registrant in the capacities and on the dates indicated.
NameTitleDate
/s/ Robert SpignesiPresident, Chief Executive Officer and DirectorMarch 1, 2024
Robert Spignesi(principal executive officer)
/s/ Sean WirtjesChief Financial OfficerMarch 1, 2024
Sean Wirtjes(principal financial officer and principal accounting officer)
/s/ Kirk D. Malloy, Ph.D.
Chair of the Board of Directors
March 1, 2024
Kirk D. Malloy, Ph.D.
/s/ David Hirsch, M.D., Ph.D.DirectorMarch 1, 2024
David Hirsch, M.D., Ph.D.
/s/ Richard KollenderDirectorMarch 1, 2024
Richard Kollender
/s/ Melinda LitherlandDirectorMarch 1, 2024
Melinda Litherland
/s/ Inese LowensteinDirectorMarch 1, 2024
Inese Lowenstein
/s/ Natale RicciardiDirectorMarch 1, 2024
Natale Ricciardi
/s/ Jeffrey SchwartzDirectorMarch 1, 2024
Jeffrey Schwartz
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INDEX TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
Page
F-2
F-3
F-4
F-5
F-6
F-7
F-8
F-1

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Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

To the Board of Directors and Stockholders of Rapid Micro Biosystems, Inc.

Opinion on the Financial Statements

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Rapid Micro Biosystems, Inc. and its subsidiaries (the “Company”) as of December 31, 2023 and 2022, and the related consolidated statements of operations, of comprehensive loss, of stockholders’ equity and of cash flows for the years then ended, including the related notes (collectively referred to as the “consolidated financial statements”). In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of December 31, 2023 and 2022, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for the years then ended in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

Basis for Opinion

These consolidated financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s consolidated financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audits of these consolidated financial statements in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the consolidated financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. The Company is not required to have, nor were we engaged to perform, an audit of its internal control over financial reporting. As part of our audits we are required to obtain an understanding of internal control over financial reporting but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the Company's internal control over financial reporting. Accordingly, we express no such opinion.

Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the consolidated financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the consolidated financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.



/s/ PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Boston, Massachusetts
March 1, 2024

We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2010.
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Table of Contents
RAPID MICRO BIOSYSTEMS, INC.
Consolidated balance sheets
(In thousands, except share and per share amounts)
December 31,
20232022
Assets
Current assets:
Cash and cash equivalents$24,285 $27,064 
Short-term investments67,768 81,584 
Accounts receivable5,532 5,369 
Inventory19,961 21,187 
Prepaid expenses and other current assets2,869 3,372 
Total current assets120,415 138,576 
Property and equipment, net12,832 13,818 
Right-of-use assets 6,240 7,063 
Long-term investments2,911 29,790 
Other long-term assets770 1,119 
Restricted cash284 284 
Total assets$143,452 $190,650 
Liabilities and Stockholders’ Equity
Current liabilities:
Accounts payable$1,973 $5,428 
Accrued expenses and other current liabilities9,907 8,150 
Deferred revenue5,974 4,706 
Lease liabilities, short-term 1,132 766 
Total current liabilities18,986 19,050 
Lease liabilities, long-term6,214 7,202 
Other long-term liabilities263 229 
Total liabilities25,463 26,481 
Commitments and contingencies (Note 14)
Stockholders’ equity:
Class A common stock, $0.01 par value; 210,000,000 shares authorized at December 31, 2023 and 2022; 37,099,909 shares and 36,538,805 shares issued and outstanding at December 31, 2023 and 2022, respectively
371 366 
Class B common stock, $0.01 par value; 10,000,000 shares authorized at December 31, 2023 and 2022; 5,309,529 shares and 5,553,379 shares issued and outstanding at December 31, 2023 and 2022, respectively
53 55 
Preferred stock, $0.01 par value: 10,000,000 shares authorized at December 31, 2023 and 2022; zero shares issued and outstanding at December 31, 2023 and 2022
  
Additional paid-in capital546,051 540,775 
Accumulated deficit(428,385)(375,918)
Accumulated other comprehensive loss(101)(1,109)
Total stockholders’ equity117,989 164,169 
Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity$143,452 $190,650 
The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.
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RAPID MICRO BIOSYSTEMS, INC.
Consolidated statements of operations
(In thousands, except share and per share amounts)
Year Ended December 31,
20232022
Revenue:
Product revenue$14,805 $11,056 
Service revenue7,714 6,077 
Total revenue22,519 17,133 
Costs and operating expenses:
Cost of product revenue20,060 18,477 
Cost of service revenue7,944 7,196 
Research and development12,820 12,866 
Sales and marketing13,322 14,994 
General and administrative24,936 26,819 
Total costs and operating expenses79,082 80,352 
Loss from operations(56,563)(63,219)
Other income (expense):
Interest income, net4,210 1,778 
Other (expense) income, net(83)59 
Total other income, net4,127 1,837 
Loss before income taxes(52,436)(61,382)
Income tax expense (benefit)31 (576)
Net loss$(52,467)$(60,806)
Net loss per share — basic and diluted$(1.22)$(1.43)
Weighted average common shares outstanding — basic and diluted43,024,03942,454,403
The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.
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RAPID MICRO BIOSYSTEMS, INC.
Consolidated statements of comprehensive loss (In thousands)
Year Ended December 31,
20232022
Net loss$(52,467)$(60,806)
Other comprehensive income (loss):
Unrealized gain (loss) on investments, net of tax1,008 (1,093)
Comprehensive loss$(51,459)$(61,899)
The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.
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RAPID MICRO BIOSYSTEMS, INC.
Consolidated statements of stockholders’ equity
(In thousands, except share amounts)
Class A
Common stock
Class B
Common stock
Additional
paid-in
capital
Accumulated
deficit
Accumulated
other
comprehensive
loss
Total
SharesAmountSharesAmount
Balances at December 31, 202236,538,805$366 5,553,379$55 $540,775 $(375,918)$(1,109)$164,169 
Conversion of Class B common stock to Class A common stock243,8502 (243,850)(2)— — —  
Issuance of Class A common stock upon exercise of common stock options8,830— — 6 — — 6 
Issuance of Class A common stock under ESPP186,0372 — 180 — — 182 
Vesting of restricted stock units122,3871 — (1)— —  
Restricted stock award liability accretion— — 341 — — 341 
Stock-based compensation expense— — — — 4,750 — — 4,750 
Net loss— — — (52,467)— (52,467)
Other comprehensive income— — — — — 1,008 1,008 
Balances at December 31, 202337,099,909$371 5,309,529$53 $546,051 $(428,385)$(101)$117,989