Though the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted the lab tools industry in 2020, like other sectors, the industry was able to adapt by playing pivotal roles in slowing the spread of the coronavirus. For instance, many companies provided analytical instruments for developing vaccines and therapies and/or diagnostic test kits. As a result, many companies in the industry saw sales recover in the latter half of 2020 and early 2021. Though 2021 has not spelled the end of the pandemic, the future of the lab tools industry is bright, with many companies looking beyond catering to the COVID-19 marketplace publicly listing on stock exchanges.

As outlined in the table, since early 2021, eight lab tool companies have filed IPOs and gone public: Akoya Biosciences, Alpha Teknova, Cytek Biosciences, MaxCyte, Olink Holding, Singular Genomics, SOPHiA Genetics and Trajan Scientific. All the companies except for Trajan Biosciences are currently listed on the US NASDAQ exchange. Trajan Biosciences is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

Trends amongst the companies listed in the table is that except Cytek Biosciences and Trajan Scientific they are all operating at a net loss. With the exception of Trajan Scientific, which provides both chemical analysis and life science systems, all of the companies serve the life science tools market. Unless noted otherwise, all IPO proceeds calculated are before the deduction of commissions and other expenses.

*Source: Bloomberg
**Trajan Scientific is listed on Austrailian Stock Exchange. Financial figures are in US dollars

Olink Holding: Highest Market Capitalization

The Swedish firm Olink Holding was the first lab product company in the table this year to commence an IPO, debuting on March 25. It also holds the highest market capitalization amongst the eight companies in the table. The proteomics test supplier raised about $264.7 million. Since its public listing, Olink Holding’s share price has grown double digits with its highest closing price of $39.47 on April 27. The company’s annual 2020 pro forma sales grew 16.7% to $54.1 million, yet the firm suffered a net loss of $6.8 million compared to $17.9 million in 2019. For the first quarter 2021, Olink posted a 70.4% surge in revenues to $13.6 million but suffered a net loss of $14.3 million compared to $11.1 million in first quarter 2020.

Olink product offerings, such as the mid-plex Target 96 kits, cater to customers utilizing biomarker systems, including Fluidigm’s Biomark HD qPCR platform. Explore, a 384-plex kit runs on Illumina’s next generation sequencing (NGS) systems. By 2022, the company plans to introduce more proteomics products and launch its own detection system, the Olink Signature Q100 qPCR.

IPOs for Companies Specializing in Cell Analysis Technology

Despite having their different product portfolios, Akoya Biosciences, Cytek Biosciences and MaxCyte each in cell analysis technologies.

Akoya Biosciences listed its stock on April 16 and raised approximately $151.3 million after its closing four days later. But the company’s stock performance since its debut has suffered a low-thirties percentage decline in price. Akoya Biosciences’ highest closing price, $26.05 per share, was on its first trading day. Annual 2020 sales were flat to $42.4 million, while net loss was $16.7 million compared to $14.8 million in 2019. For first quarter 2021, Akoya Biosciences reported a 10.8% revenue increase to $12.2 million but declared a net loss of $8.1 million compared to $2.1 million from the previous year. Akoya Biosciences’ business consists of instruments, software and reagents for automated tissue imaging with single-cell resolution. On June 4, the company announced a partnership with biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which will use Akoya Biosciences’ Advanced Biopharma Solutions (ABS) services to identify spatial biomarkers for immunotherapy.

In contrast, Cytek Biosciences’ stock has performed exceptionally well since its start of trading on the NASDAQ on July 23, achieving a double-digit increase in share price. The cell analysis firm raised about $200 million after the conclusion of its IPO on July 27. Cytek Biosciences manufactures of flow cytometry products and services with a customer base in the academia, clinical, CROs and pharmaceutical end-markets. Amongst the companies in the table, Cytek Biosciences has the second-highest market capitalization. Also unlike the other companies in the table, Cytek Biosciences posted a net profit for full-year 2020 and the first quarter of this year. Specifically, for 2020, the company posted a net profit of $19.4 million, a marked improvement from a net loss of $16.8 million in 2019. Additionally, Cytek Biosciences’ 2020 revenues experienced a 60.4% surge to $92.8 million. For the first quarter of 2021, the company saw its sales rise 34.9% to $24.2 million and its net income total $102,000 compared to a net loss of $839,000 in first quarter 2020. So far this year, the company has launched new products such as a new plate loader, the Automated Sample Loader (ASL), which helps streamline the workflow of cell analysis by automating the sample loading process.

MaxCyte is the most recent company in the table to begin trading publicly, debuting on July 30 and closing its IPO on August 3 with proceeds of approximately $201.8 million.  In its short time on the NASDAQ, the company has seen its closing share price fall 7.6% (as of August 5), with the highest closing price, $17.00 per share, being on its debut date at a. The cell engineering firm’s 2020 revenues grew 21.0% to $26.2 million, while it experienced a net loss of $11.8 million compared to $12.9 million in 2019. For first quarter 2021, revenues posted a 13.1% increase to $6.5 million, and the firm declared a net loss of $7.1 million compared to $3.1 million from the previous year. The company’s product offerings consist of three instruments, the ATx, the STx and the GTx, which deliver molecules into cells and cater to research, drug discovery and academic end-users. The company is planning to launch a fourth system, the VLX.

Other IPOs

Alpha Teknova completed its IPO on June 29, raising approximately $110.4 million, and is one of three companies in the table with a market capitalization under $1 billion. The company is a provider of reagents used to create biopharmaceutical products, such as vaccines, therapies and molecular diagnostics. Since its public debut on June 25, its share price has fallen in the low teens percentage-wise. Its highest closing share price was on June 28 at $27.98 per share. Alpha Teknova’s full-year 2020 sales totaled $31.3 million, a 55.8% increase, and a net profit was $3.6 million compared to a net loss of $1.3 million in 2019. For the first quarter of 2021, company sales rose 48.5% to $9.1 million thanks to broad-based gains across its business and COVID-19-pandemic-related demand. However, Alpha Teknova suffered a net loss of $655,000 for the quarter.

On May 27, NGS and multiomics system developer, Singular Genomics had a strong start with a closing price of $27.37 per share. After completing its IPO on June 1, net proceeds totaled $237.2 million and will be used to fund its first product launches scheduled for the end of 2021. The products are the G4 Integrated Solution and PX Integrated Solution sequencers with target markets including immunology, neurology and oncology sectors. The company’s price per share has tumbled in the double digits since its market debut, with a closing high of $30.95 on June 2. Singular Genomics did not report revenues for 2020 because it has yet to launch a product. However, for 2020, the company recorded a net loss of $27.9 million compared to $12.3 million in 2019 and an operating loss was $12.8 million compared to $27.5 million in 2019. For the first half of 2021, Singular Genomics recorded an operating loss of $24.1 million, an increase from $12.2 million in 2020 and a net loss of $61.4 million, a steep decline from $12.1 million in 2020.

SOPHiA Genetics is one of the most recent companies in the table to go public, listing its stock on July 23 of this year and raising more than $234 million when the IPO closed on July 27. Being the only software-based company in the table, SOPHiA Genetics specializes in cloud-based genomics health data analysis. Its product offerings cater to the biopharmaceutical, clinical and life science end-markets. For instance, its SOPHiA DDM platform is used in the clinical market for patient genomic data analysis. Also, for the biopharmaceutical market, SOPHiA Genetics provides various software, including the SOPHiA Trial Match for clinical trial recruitment based on biomarkers and the SOPHiA Awareness for NGS testing analysis.

In 2020, company revenues posted a 12.0% increase to $28.4 million, and SOPHiA Genetics declared a net loss of $39.3 million compared to $33.8 million in 2019. For the first quarter of this year, sales grew 20.0% to $8.9 million while the firm posted a net loss of $12.5 million compared to $10.5 million in 2020. Since its listing on the NASDAQ, SOPHiA Genetics’share price has risent in the high single digits and experienced its closing high of $18.00 on August 3.

Foreign IPOs

As aforementioned, Trajan Biosciences is the only company listed on a foreign stock exchange. The company, which has has the lowest market capitalization amongst the eight companies in the table, is an analytical instrument manufacturer that caters to various end-markets such as the food, environmental and medical sectors. Trajan Biosciences went public on June 7 and raised AUD 90 million ($69.2 million at AUD 1.30 = $1). The company stated it would use the proceeds to fund R&D and acquisitions in the healthcare sector.

Since listing on the Australian Stock Exchange, Trajan Scientific’s price per share has posted a double-digit uptick. Trajan Biosciences’ closing share price reached a new high on August 2, hitting $3.16 per share. Fiscal 2020 (ending June 30, 2020) pro forma sales grew 6.0% to AUD 71.9 million ($55.3 million), while fiscal first half 2021 sales rose 3.5% to AUD 37.4 million ($28.8 million). Like Cytek Biosciences, Trajan Biosciences posted a net profit for fiscal 2020 of AUD 5.3 million ($4.1 million), a 1.9% decline, and a net profit for the fiscal first-half 2021 of AUD 5.1 million ($3.9 million), a 121.7% increase.

Conclusion

The successful completion of IPOs of lab tool companies in 2021 is a good indicator of sustained long-term growth for industry. Taking advantage of the US stock market’s enthusiasm for IPOs this year, each company will be able to bring new products to market, attract new users and meet labs’ research needs, affirming the lab tool industry’s important role. A role that was heightened during the beginnings of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

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