Berkeley Lights Stock (BLI): Why The Price Substantially Fell Today

By Amit Chowdhry ● Jan 6, 2022
  • The stock price of Berkeley Lights Inc (NASDAQ: BLI) fell by over 35% during intraday trading today. This is why it happened.

The stock price of Berkeley Lights Inc (NASDAQ: BLI) fell by over 35% during intraday trading today. Investors are responding negatively to Berkeley Lights announcing that Eric D. Hobbs, Ph.D. will transition from his role as chief executive officer (CEO) and member of the board of directors to the president of the Antibody Therapeutics business line. Plus the company is initiating a search for a new CEO as it continues to execute its business strategy, including the addition of services to its portfolio of product offerings.

Dr. Hobbs will continue to serve in his role as CEO and member of the board of directors until the appointment of his successor. Dr. Hobbs had joined the company in 2013 to lead the commercial development of Berkeley Lights’ opto-fluidic technology, which resulted in the Beacon system that is broadly recognized as the leading platform for functional characterization of live single cells and became CEO in 2017. And in the new role as president, Antibody Therapeutics, Eric will focus on growing the company’s largest business line.

Last year, the company began to enter new markets through a partnership/service-based business model, leveraging the Berkeley Lights Platform through its BioFoundry lab. And revenue from the partnership/service business grew three-fold in 2021 and drove approximately 20% of the company’s overall 2021 revenue.

Lucier is a long-tenured life sciences executive, having served as chairman and CEO of Life Technologies, which was acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific in 2014, as well as CEO and a member of the boards of directors of several public and private companies.

The board of directors engaged Russell Reynolds Associates, an executive search consultant, to assist in its comprehensive external CEO search process.

Full Year 2021 Financial Update

The company also reported preliminary, unaudited revenue for the full year ended December 31, 2021.

The total revenue for the full year 2021 is expected to be in the range of $84.0 million to $84.5 million, representing an increase of more than 30% compared to $64.3 million in 2020. And in 2021, the company signed new contracts with a total revenue value of up to $115 million, inclusive of direct sales and approximately $42 million in partnership/services business, demonstrating the continued adoption of Berkeley Lights technology. In addition, recurring revenue grew more than 35% compared to the prior year.

These preliminary results are based on management’s initial analysis of operations for the quarter ended December 31, 2021. And the company expects to issue full financial results for the fourth quarter and full-year 2021 in late February.

2022 Outlook

The company expects revenue for 2022 to grow about 30% compared to prior year revenue. And partnership/services business revenue is expected to continue to grow, both in absolute dollars and as a percentage of total revenue, and anticipate this to fuel total company growth in 2023 and beyond.

KEY QUOTES:

“Under Eric’s leadership as CEO, Berkeley Lights has realized a more than a 10-fold revenue increase, released multiple transformational products, and completed a successful IPO in 2020. As Berkeley Lights moves into a new chapter of growth, we are grateful we will continue to benefit from Eric’s leadership, talent and insight as we revolutionize how scientists can access primary cell biology to make extraordinary discoveries.”

“As we continue to evolve our business and executive leadership, I will take a more engaged role in providing guidance and support to the management team to advance the collective goal of driving value for our customers, partners and shareholders. We are committed to conducting a thorough CEO search with a focus on identifying a new leader with a proven record of scaling operations and unlocking the potential of highly innovative companies. I remain confident and excited about the opportunities ahead for Berkeley Lights as demand for our innovative technology grows.”

“I am deeply proud of what the Berkeley Lights team has accomplished. We are at a critical transition point in the Company’s history and it’s time for a new leader to help build upon our successes. Berkeley Lights is well-positioned to advance its leadership in the digital cell biology market over the next decade as our technology proves ever more critical to the most exciting scientific advances.”

— Gregory T. Lucier, chairperson of Berkeley Lights’ board of directors