SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
|o||REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
|x||ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
(For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022)
|o||TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
|o||SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
Commission file number: 001-40627
SOPHiA GENETICS SA
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
Rue du Centre 172
+41 21 694 10 60
(Address of principal executive offices)
SOPHiA GENETICS, Inc.
185 Dartmouth Street Floor 5
Boston, MA 02116
(Name, telephone, e-mail and/or facsimile number and address of company contact person)
Securities registered or to be registered, pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act.
Title of each class
Name of each exchange on which registered
|Ordinary shares, par value CHF 0.05 per share||SOPH|
The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act: None
Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital stock or common stock as of the close of business covered by the annual report. Ordinary shares, nominal value CHF 0.05 per share: 64,231,220
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. o Yes x No
If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. o Yes x No
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. x Yes o No
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). x Yes o No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large Accelerated Filer||o||Accelerated Filer||x|
|Non-accelerated Filer||o||Emerging growth company||x|
If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, 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
† The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.
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 statements. 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 which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:
U.S. GAAP o
International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board x
If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow. Item 17 o Item 18 o
If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). o Yes x No
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ABOUT THIS ANNUAL REPORT
Unless otherwise indicated or the context otherwise requires, all references in this Annual Report to “SOPHiA GENETICS,” “SOPH,” the “Company,” “we,” “our,” “ours,” “us” or similar terms refer to SOPHiA GENETICS SA and its consolidated subsidiaries.
We own various trademark registrations and applications, and unregistered trademarks, including for “SOPHiA GENETICS,” “SOPHiA DDMTM,” “Alamut,” “SOPHiA Trial Match,” “SOPHiA Insights,” “SOPHiA CDx,” “SOPHiA Awareness” and our corporate logo. All other trade names, trademarks and service marks of other companies appearing in this Annual Report are the property of their respective owners. Solely for convenience, the trademarks and trade names in this Annual Report may be referred to without the ® and ™ symbols, but such references should not be construed as any indicator that their respective owners will not assert, to the fullest extent under applicable law, their rights thereto. We do not intend to use or display other companies’ trademarks and trade names to imply a relationship with, or endorsement or sponsorship of us by, any other companies.
Presentation of Financial Information
Our consolidated financial statements are presented in U.S. dollars and have been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (“IFRS”). None of the consolidated financial statements were prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States (“U.S. GAAP”). The terms “dollar,” “USD” and “$” refer to U.S. dollars and the terms “Swiss franc” and “CHF” refer to the legal currency of Switzerland, unless otherwise indicated. We have made rounding adjustments to some of the figures included in this Annual Report. Accordingly, any numerical discrepancies in any table between totals and sums of the amounts listed are due to rounding.
Our fiscal year ends on December 31. References in this Annual Report to a fiscal year relate to our fiscal year ended on December 31 of that calendar year.
Market and Industry Data
This Annual Report contains industry, market and competitive position data that are based on general and industry publications, surveys and studies conducted by third parties, some of which may not be publicly available, and our own internal estimates and research. Third-party publications, surveys and studies generally state that they have obtained information from sources believed to be reliable, but do not guarantee the accuracy and completeness of such information. While we are not aware of any misstatements regarding the industry, market and competitive position data presented herein, these data involve a number of assumptions and limitations and contain projections and estimates of the future performance of the industries in which we operate that are subject to a high degree of uncertainty.
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report contains statements that constitute forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical facts contained in this Annual Report, including statements regarding our future results of operations and financial position, business strategy, technology, collaborations and partnerships, as well as plans and objectives of management for future operations are forward-looking statements. Many of the forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report can be identified by the use of forward-looking words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “expect,” “should,” “plan,” “intend,” “estimate,” “will” and “potential,” among others.
Forward-looking statements appear in a number of places in this Annual Report and include, but are not limited to, statements regarding our intent, belief or current expectations. Forward-looking statements are based on our management’s beliefs and assumptions and on information currently available to our management. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements due to various factors, including, but not limited to, those identified in the section titled “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors” in this Annual Report. These forward-looking statements include, among others:
•our expectations regarding our revenue, gross margin, expenses and other operating results;
•our plans regarding further development of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and its expansion into additional features, applications and data modalities;
•future investments in our business, our anticipated capital expenditures and our estimates regarding our capital requirements, future revenues, expenses, reimbursement rates and needs for additional financing;
•our expectations regarding the market size for our platform, applications, products, and services and the market acceptance they will be able to achieve;
•our expectations regarding changes in the healthcare systems in different jurisdictions, in particular with respect to the manner in which electronic health records are collected, distributed and accessed by various stakeholders;
•the timing or outcome of any domestic and international regulatory submissions;
•impact from future regulatory, judicial, and legislative changes or developments in the United States and foreign countries;
•our ability to acquire new customers and successfully engage and retain customers;
•the costs and success of our marketing efforts, and our ability to promote our brand;
•our ability to increase demand for our applications, products, and services, obtain favorable coverage and reimbursement determinations from third-party payors and expand geographically;
•our expectations of the reliability, accuracy and performance of our applications, products, and services, as well as expectations of the benefits to patients, medical personnel and providers of our applications, products and services;
•our expectations regarding our ability, and that of our manufacturers, to manufacture our products;
•our efforts to successfully develop and commercialize our applications, products, and services;
•our competitive position and the development of and projections relating to our competitors or our industry;
•our ability to identify and successfully enter into strategic collaborations in the future, and our assumptions regarding any potential revenue that we may generate thereunder;
•our ability to obtain, maintain, protect and enforce intellectual property protection for our technology, applications, products, and services, and the scope of such protection;
•our ability to operate our business without infringing, misappropriating or otherwise violating the intellectual property or proprietary rights of third parties;
•our ability to attract and retain qualified key management and technical personnel; and
•our expectations regarding the time during which we will be an emerging growth company under the Jumpstart our Business Startups Act of 2012 (“JOBS Act”) and a foreign private issuer.
These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this Annual Report and are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions described in the sections in this Annual Report titled “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors” and “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” and elsewhere in this Annual Report. Because forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, some of which cannot be predicted or quantified and some of which are beyond our control, you should not rely on these forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. The events and circumstances reflected in our forward-looking statements may not be achieved or occur and actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Moreover, we operate in an evolving environment. New risk factors and uncertainties may emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all risk factors and uncertainties. Except as required by applicable law, we do not plan to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements contained herein, whether as a result of any new information, future events, changed circumstances or otherwise.
In addition, statements that “we believe” and similar statements reflect our beliefs and opinions on the relevant subject. These statements are based upon information available to us as of the date of this Annual Report, and while we believe such information forms a reasonable basis for such statements, such information may be limited or incomplete, and our statements should not be read to indicate that we have conducted an exhaustive inquiry into, or review of, all potentially available relevant information. These statements are inherently uncertain and investors are cautioned not to unduly rely upon these statements.
Item 3. Key Information
D. Risk Factors
Our business faces significant risks and uncertainties. You should carefully consider all of the information set forth in this Annual Report and in other documents we file with or furnish to the SEC, including the following risk factors, before deciding to invest in or to maintain an investment in our securities. If any of the events or developments described below were to occur, our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects could suffer materially and the trading price of our ordinary shares could decline. The risks and uncertainties described below are not the only ones we face. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently believe to be immaterial may also adversely affect our business.
•We may not be successful in expanding features, applications and data modalities of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services.
•We may experience challenges with the acquisition, development, enhancement and deployment of technology necessary for our data analytics platform technologies.
•If we are unable to expand our sales and marketing capabilities, including through additional strategic relationships, in a cost-effective manner, we may not be able to grow our revenue.
•The coverage and reimbursement status of newly developed applications and products, such as data analytics platforms and related solutions, applications, products, and services, particularly in a new category of diagnostics and therapeutics, is uncertain. An inability to obtain or maintain adequate coverage and reimbursement could limit the commercial potential of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services.
•If we cannot maintain our current relationships and enter into new relationships with hospitals, reference and specialty laboratories and biopharmaceutical companies, our revenue prospects could be reduced.
•We are highly dependent on our senior management team and other key personnel, and our business could be harmed if we are unable to retain and attract such personnel.
•Our industry is subject to rapid change, which could make our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services obsolete. If we are unable to continue to innovate and improve our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services, we could fail to attract new customers and expand our market share and we could lose existing customers and market share.
•We face competition from many sources and we may be unable to compete successfully.
•Cyber security or data privacy breaches, other unauthorized or improper access, or (distributed) denial service lack of access (e.g., ransomware, persistent DoS/DDoS) could result in additional costs, loss of revenue, significant liabilities, harm to our brand and decreased use of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, or services.
•If we are not able to obtain, maintain, defend and enforce patent and other intellectual property protection or if the scope of such patent and other intellectual property protection is not sufficiently broad, our competitors could develop and commercialize applications, products, services and technology similar or identical to ours.
•We license patent rights from third-party owners. If such owners do not properly or successfully obtain, maintain, defend and enforce the patents underlying such licenses, or if they retain or license to others any competing rights, our competitive position and business prospects may be adversely affected. If we fail to comply with our obligations in the agreements under which we license intellectual property rights from third parties or otherwise experience disruptions to our
relationships with any of our licensors, we could lose license rights that are important to our business.
•We have incurred net losses since our inception and expect to continue to incur losses for the foreseeable future. We may never achieve or sustain profitability.
•We believe that we were a passive foreign investment company, or PFIC, for U.S. federal income tax purposes for the 2022 taxable year, which could result in adverse U.S. tax consequences to certain U.S. investors.
Risks Related to the Development of Our SOPHiA DDM Platform and Related Solutions, Applications, Products, and Services
We may not be successful in expanding features, applications and data modalities of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services.
Our SOPHiA DDM Platform offers a broad range of genomics applications across oncology, rare diseases, infectious diseases, cardiology, neurology, metabolism and other disease areas. A major part of our long-term strategy is bringing new high-impact content to our customers through updates to our platform, which may include expanding our platform with additional features, applications and data modalities and related solutions, applications, products, and services. We expect to make significant investments to advance these efforts.
Enhancing our platform and developing new related solutions, applications, products, and services is a speculative and risky endeavor. Features, applications, data modalities and services that initially show promise may fail to achieve the desired results or may not achieve acceptable levels of analytical accuracy or utility. We may need to alter our platform, solutions, applications, products, or services in development and repeat studies before we identify a potentially successful feature, application, data modality, product or service. Platform, solution, application, service, and product development is expensive, may take years to complete and can have uncertain outcomes. Failure can occur at any stage of the development. Even if we confirm that our platform can be successfully employed for additional features, applications and data modalities, those features, applications and data modalities may be limited in scope to only some diseases, disease segments, patient markets or geographies. If, after development, a new feature, application, data modality, solution, service or product appears successful, we or our collaborators may, depending on the nature of the feature, application, data modality, service or product, need to obtain U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the “FDA”), European Medicines Agency (the “EMA”), United Kingdom (the “UK”) Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (the “MHRA”) and other regulatory clearances, authorizations or approvals before we can market the feature, application, data modality, solution, service or product. The FDA’s, EMA’s and MHRA’s clearance, authorization or approval pathways are likely to require significant time and expenditures. The FDA, EMA, MHRA or other applicable regulatory authority may not clear, authorize or approve any feature, application, data modality, solution, service or product we develop. Even if we develop a feature, application, data modality, solution, service or product that receives regulatory clearance, authorization or approval, we or our collaborators would need to commit substantial resources to commercialize, sell and market the feature, application, data modality, solution, service or product and the feature, application, data modality, solution, service or product may never achieve significant market acceptance among various stakeholders and be commercially successful. Furthermore, we purposefully built our SOPHiA DDM Platform in a decentralized manner and strategically positioned it as a “universal operating-system” for multiomics and multimodal data analytics in order to provide for a broad range of application, product, and service expansion opportunities. However, certain jurisdictions, such as the Netherlands, have implemented centralized services architectures for electronic healthcare records (“EHR”) where all patient data passes through a single, often government-run, entity rather than being shared directly between the healthcare providers. Such centralized systems, if widely implemented, may limit the development of our platform in a decentralized manner across different data modalities. Any of the foregoing could adversely affect our business, revenue growth and results of operations.
In addition, we generally sell our platform, solutions, applications, products, and services in industries that are characterized by rapid technological changes, frequent new application and product introductions and changing industry standards. If we do not develop platform enhancements based on technological innovation on a timely
basis, our platform may become obsolete over time and our financial and competitive position may suffer. Our success will depend on several factors, including but not limited to our ability to:
•correctly identify customer needs and preferences and predict future needs and preferences;
•allocate our research and development funding to areas with higher growth prospects;
•anticipate and respond to our competitors’ development of new solutions, applications, products, services, and technological innovations;
•innovate and develop new technologies and applications, and acquire or obtain rights to third-party technologies that may have valuable applications in the markets we serve;
•successfully develop and commercialize new technologies and applications in a timely manner; and
•convince customers to adopt new technologies and applications.
The expenses or losses associated with unsuccessful platform innovation or expansion could adversely affect our business revenue growth and results of operations.
Strong platform, application, product, and service performance, security and reliability are necessary to maintain and grow our business.
We need to maintain and continuously improve the performance, security and reliability of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services. Our platform, solutions, applications, and other products may contain errors or defects, and while we have made efforts to test them and are not aware of any widespread material errors, defects or other performance-related issues, there can be no assurance that our platform, solutions, applications, products, and services do not or will not have performance problems. As we continue to launch more platform features, applications, data modalities, solutions, products and services, these risks may increase. Poor performance, security and reliability could adversely impact our customers and lead to customer dissatisfaction, adversely affect our reputation and revenues and increase our application, service, and product care, and distribution costs and working capital requirements.
We may experience challenges with the acquisition, development, enhancement and deployment of technology necessary for our data analytics platform technologies.
Our business requires sophisticated computer systems and software in order to accurately and efficiently capture, service and process increasing volumes of health data, in particular a growing number of genomic profiles generated by our customers through various NGS test kits, sequencers and sample materials from different manufacturers. Some of the technologies are changing rapidly and we must continue to adapt to these changes in a timely and effective manner at an acceptable cost. There can be no assurance that we will be able to develop, acquire, enhance, deploy or integrate new technologies, including technologies needed to integrate new genomics test kits into our data analytics platform, that these new technologies will be effective and efficient, will meet our needs or achieve our expected goals or that we will be able to do so as quickly or cost-effectively as our competitors. Significant technological change could render our data analytics platform and technologies obsolete and incompatible with new or improved genomics test kits. In addition, we may face challenges in expanding into markets without suitable cloud infrastructure compatible with our SOPHiA DDM Platform. Our continued success will depend on our ability to adapt to changing technologies, manage and process ever-increasing amounts of data and information and improve the performance features of our data analytics platform technologies in response to an ever-changing patient population. We may experience difficulties that could delay or prevent the successful design, development, testing and introduction of new versions of our data analytics platform technologies, limiting our ability to identify new solutions, applications, products, and services. Any of these challenges could have a material adverse effect on our operating results and financial condition.
Any failure to offer high-quality support for our applications, products, and services may adversely affect our relationships with customers and collaborators and negatively impact our reputation and our business, financial condition and results of operations.
In implementing and using our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services, our customers and collaborators depend on our support to resolve issues in a timely manner. We may be unable to respond quickly enough to accommodate short-term increases in demand for customer support. Increased customer demand for support could increase costs and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. In addition, we need highly trained technical support personnel. Hiring technical support personnel is very competitive in our industry due to the limited number of people available with the necessary scientific and technical backgrounds and ability to understand our technology at a technical level. Our sales are highly dependent on our reputation and on positive recommendations from our customers, users, care collaborators, providers, laboratories, hospitals and clinics. If we do not maintain high-quality customer support, or if the market perceives that we do not maintain high-quality customer support, our reputation and our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.
Delays in the commencement and successful completion of multimodal clinical studies, and negative or ambiguous data generated from such studies, could increase costs and delay or prevent regulatory approval of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, and products.
To further improve our SOPHiA DDM Platform and its capabilities, for example by developing new predictive algorithmic models that we can deploy on our platform, we are sponsoring, and in the future intend to sponsor, observational multimodal clinical studies in various disease areas. There can be no assurance that any multimodal clinical study that we sponsor will be conducted as planned or be completed on schedule, if at all. These clinical studies are subject to numerous risks, and a failure, delay or termination of one or more such studies can occur at any stage of the process. Events that may prevent successful or timely commencement and completion of multimodal clinical studies include:
•delays in receiving the required regulatory clearance from the appropriate regulatory authorities to commence the studies;
•delays in reaching, or a failure to reach, an agreement on acceptable terms with prospective clinical research organizations (“CROs”) and participating sites, the terms of which can be subject to extensive negotiation and may vary significantly among different CROs and participating sites;
•difficulties in obtaining required Institutional Review Board (“IRB”) or ethics committee approval at each participating site;
•challenges in recruiting and enrolling suitable patients that meet the study criteria to participate in the studies;
•the inability to enroll a sufficient number of patients in the studies;
•our CROs or participating sites failing to comply with regulatory requirements or meet their contractual obligations to us in a timely manner, or at all, deviating from the protocol or dropping out of a study;
•lower than anticipated patient retention rates;
•difficulties in maintaining contact with patients, resulting in incomplete data;
•ambiguous or negative interim or final results;
•changes in regulatory requirements and guidance that require amending or submitting new protocols;
•lack of adequate funding to continue the study; or
•delays and disruptions as a result of unforeseen external events
The commencement and successful and timely completion of a multimodal clinical study will require us to enroll a sufficient number of eligible patients to participate in such study. Any delay or difficulty in patient enrollment could significantly delay or otherwise hinder our research and development efforts, including potential regulatory submissions and approvals and commercialization efforts. Patient enrollment is affected by many factors, including the size and nature of the patient population; the severity of the disease under investigation; the eligibility criteria for the study in question, including any misjudgment of, and resultant adjustment to, the appropriate ranges applicable to the exclusion and inclusion criteria; the number of participating sites and the proximity of patients to those sites; the commitment of participating sites to identify eligible patients; competing studies with similar eligibility criteria; and other disruptions. The risks related to patient enrollment may be heightened for any clinical study that seeks to enroll patients with characteristics that are found in a small population. In addition, patients may also be unwilling to participate in our studies because of data security and privacy concerns.
Furthermore, there can be no assurance that any multimodal clinical study will produce the data necessary to support further development of our platform in a particular disease area or to support any potential regulatory submission. Even if a study is completed, the data generated may be negative, ambiguous or otherwise insufficient. To obtain sufficient data, we may be required to conduct additional studies beyond those that we current plan for, which would increase our costs and delay potential regulatory submissions and commercialization activities.
If we do not have the support of key opinion leaders or clinical data using our applications and products is not published in peer-reviewed journals, it may be difficult to drive adoption of our applications and products.
We have established relationships with leading thought leaders. If these key opinion leaders determine that our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services are not accurate or that alternative technologies, applications, products and services are more accurate or more cost-effective, or if we fail to establish new relationships with key opinion leaders in different markets, geographies and among various stakeholders, we may see lower demand for our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services, which would limit our revenue growth and our ability to achieve profitability.
The publication of clinical data using our applications and products in peer-reviewed journals is also crucial to our success. For instance, as of December 31, 2022, our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services have been utilized in clinical trials and research projects discussed in more than 465 peer-reviewed publications. We are unable to control when, if ever, results of current or future trials and projects are published, which may delay or limit adoption of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services. Such peer-reviewed publications may be limited by many factors, including delays in the completion of, poor design of, or lack of compelling data from, clinical studies, as well as delays in the review, acceptance and publication process. If our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services do not receive sufficient favorable exposure in peer-reviewed publications, the rate of adoption of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services among medical personnel and positive reimbursement coverage determinations for them could be adversely affected.
Risks Related to Commercialization
If we are unable to expand our sales and marketing capabilities, including through additional strategic relationships, in a cost-effective manner, we may not be able to grow our revenue.
Our future sales will depend in large part on our ability to develop, train, retain and substantially expand, our sales force, to increase the scope of our marketing efforts, including into markets and geographies where our presence is currently limited, and to maintain our current strategic relationships and enter into new strategic relationships. Our current target market of hospitals, reference and specialty laboratories, and biopharmaceutical companies is a large and diverse market. As a result, we believe it is necessary to continue to develop a sales force that includes sales representatives with specific technical backgrounds and industry expertise. Competition for such personnel is intense. We may not be able to retain and attract personnel or be able to continue to build and maintain an efficient and effective sales and marketing force, which could adversely impact sales of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services and their market acceptance and limit our revenue growth and potential profitability.
We currently have multiple strategic relationships with third-party providers of solutions, applications, products, and services that can be bundled with our SOPHiA DDM Platform, including Integrated DNA Technologies, Inc. (“IDT”), Twist Biosciences Corporation (“Twist”), Agilent Technologies, Inc. (“Agilent”) and New England Biolabs (“NEB”), Inc., Qiagen NV (“Qiagen”), as well as additional strategic relationships to develop and commercialize solutions, applications, products, and services with GE Healthcare Technologies Inc. (“GE Healthcare”), See “Item 10. Additional Information—C. Material Contracts.” We also offer our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services through various global and local distributors. See “—Risks Related to Our Relationships with Third Parties—Our operating results depend on the performance of third-party distributors” and “—Risks Related to Our Relationships with Third Parties—We intend to rely on third-party distributors to realize our expansion strategy.” In addition, we have a direct sales force to market and sell our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services, including a dedicated BioPharma Business Development and Operations team, focusing on expanding our collaborations with biopharmaceutical companies, both advanced and early stage. Sales and marketing activities in the healthcare space are subject to various rules and regulations. In addition, our marketing messaging can be complex and nuanced, and there may be errors or misunderstandings in our sales force’s communication of such messaging. As we continue to grow our sales and marketing efforts, we face an increased need to continuously monitor and improve our policies, processes and procedures to maintain compliance with a growing number and variety of laws and regulations. To the extent that there is any violation, whether actual, perceived or alleged, of our policies or applicable laws and regulations, we could incur additional training and compliance costs, receive inquiries from third parties or be held liable or otherwise responsible for such acts of noncompliance. Any of the foregoing could adversely affect our business, reputation and results of operations.
We intend to continue to expand and leverage our sales and marketing infrastructure. Identifying, recruiting and training qualified sales and marketing personnel requires significant time, expense and attention. It often takes several months or more before a sales representative is fully trained and productive, depending on the target market or geography. Our sales force may subject us to higher fixed costs than that incurred by our competitors that utilize independent third parties, which could place us at a competitive disadvantage.
Our ability to increase our customer base and achieve broader market acceptance of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services will depend on to a significant extent our ability to expand our marketing efforts. We plan to dedicate significant resources to our marketing programs. However, marketing activities may not generate medical personnel awareness or increase revenue, and even if they do, any increase in revenue may not offset the costs and expenses we incur in building our brand. If we fail to successfully promote, maintain and protect our brand, we may fail to attract or retain the market acceptance necessary to realize a sufficient return on our brand building efforts, or to achieve the level of brand awareness that is critical for broad use of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services.
The commercial success of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and current and future applications, products, and services depend on attaining significant market acceptance.
Our commercial success depends, in part, on market acceptance of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and our applications, products, and services. We cannot predict how quickly, if at all, our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services will attain significant market acceptance or, if accepted, how frequently they will be used. These constituents must believe that our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services offer benefits over other available alternatives. The degree of market acceptance of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services depends on a number of factors, including:
•whether there is adequate utilization of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services based on their potential and perceived advantages over those of our competitors;
•the safety, accuracy and ease of use of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services relative to those currently on the market;
•our ability to develop, commercialize and obtain regulatory clearance or approval for in vitro diagnostic (“IVD”) applications and products for diagnostic use and our compliance with the FDA’s “Distribution of In Vitro Diagnostic Products Labeled for Research Use Only or
Investigational Use Only” (the “RUO Guidance”) and other laws and regulations governing Research Use Only (“RUO”) and IVD applications and products in the United States, the European Union (the “EU”) and other geographies;
•the clinical flexibility, operational versatility and technology agnostic nature of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services;
•the prices at which we and our distributors offer our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products and services;
•the effectiveness of our sales and marketing efforts;
•our ability to provide incremental data that show the clinical benefits and cost-effectiveness, and operational benefits, of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products and services;
•our ability to build and maintain robust data sets with respect to patient populations, both in geographic regions that we have historically served and in geographic regions that we may seek to enter or further penetrate in the future;
•the coverage and reimbursement acceptance of our applications, products, and services;
•pricing pressure, including from group purchasing organizations (“GPOs”), seeking to obtain discounts on our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services based on the collective bargaining power of the GPO members;
•negative publicity regarding our or our competitors’ platforms, applications, products, and services; and
•the accuracy of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services relative to those of our competitors.
Additionally, even if our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services achieve widespread market acceptance, they may not maintain that market acceptance over time if more cost-effective or more favorably received platforms, applications, products, services or technologies are introduced. Failure to achieve or maintain market acceptance and/or market share would limit our ability to generate revenue.
In addition, our customer base includes hospitals, reference and specialty laboratories, and biopharmaceutical companies. In the years ended December 31, 2022 and December 31, 2021, most of our revenue came from sales to our customers in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (“EMEA”). Our success will depend on our ability to increase our market penetration among these customers, including our ability to provide additional applications of our platform and additional applications, products, and services to our existing customers, and expand our customer base across various markets and geographies by developing and marketing new applications of our data analytics platform and new solutions, applications, products, and services. In particular, we intend to focus our efforts on geographic and biopharma expansion, for example by capitalizing on increasing NGS testing and expanding our offerings to biopharmaceutical companies with new and improved pre- and post-market solutions. As we continue to scale our business, we may find that certain applications of our SOPHiA DDM Platform, certain of our solutions, applications, products, and services, certain customers or certain markets may require a dedicated sales force or sales personnel with different experience than those we currently employ. For instance, we have a dedicated BioPharma Business Development and Operations team, focusing on expanding our collaborations with biopharmaceutical companies, both advanced and early stage. Identifying, recruiting and training additional qualified personnel would require significant time, expense and attention.
There can be no assurance that we will be able to further penetrate our existing markets, that our existing markets will be able to sustain our current and future solutions, applications, products, and services offerings and that we will be able to expand into new markets. Any failure to increase penetration in our existing markets or expand into new ones would adversely affect our revenues and results of operations.
The market opportunities for our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services may be smaller than we estimate.
Our estimates of the addressable market for our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services are derived from a variety of sources, including scientific literature, surveys of clinicians, medical personnel and healthcare professionals and other forms of market research. These estimates may be inaccurate or based on imprecise data. Further, these estimates are based on various assumptions, including the outcomes of clinical studies, and whether the clinical studies will achieve objectives needed to meet clinical and payor expectations, the number of people who have a particular disease or condition, our expansion into other features, applications and data modality opportunities and disease areas, maintenance and expansion of our clinical and multimodal data sets for patient populations in specific geographic regions, the prices at which we and our distributors provide or sell our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services in the market, the regulatory framework governing the development, sale and use of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services, including the laws and regulations governing RUO and IVD applications and products, the degree of coverage and reimbursement, the cost-containment efforts by payors, customers and collaborators as well as obtaining necessary clearance or regulatory approvals. While we believe our assumptions and estimates are reasonable, these assumptions and estimates may prove to be incorrect and the conditions supporting our assumptions or estimates may change at any time, thereby reducing the predictive accuracy of these underlying factors. The future growth of the market for our current and future applications, products, and services depends on many factors beyond our control, including recognition and acceptance of our applications and products by the scientific community and the growth, prevalence and costs of competing applications, products, and solutions. Such recognition and acceptance may not occur in the near term, or at all. If the addressable market for our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services is smaller than our estimates, or if the prices at which we can sell our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services are lower than our estimates, our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be negatively impacted.
The coverage and reimbursement status of newly developed applications and products, such as data analytics platforms and related solutions, applications, products, and services, particularly in a new category of diagnostics and therapeutics, is uncertain. An inability to obtain or maintain adequate coverage and reimbursement could limit the commercial potential of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services.
The availability and extent of reimbursement by governmental and private payors is essential for most patients to be able to afford our current and future platforms, solutions, applications, products, and services, if approved for IVD use. In addition, because our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services represent new approaches to the research, diagnosis, detection and treatment of diseases, we cannot accurately estimate how they would be priced, whether reimbursement could be obtained or any potential revenue generated. Sales of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services, if approved for IVD use, may depend substantially on the extent to which they are covered by health maintenance, managed care and similar healthcare management organizations, or reimbursed by government health administration authorities, private health coverage insurers and other third-party payors. If reimbursement is not available, or is available only to limited levels, we may not be able to successfully commercialize our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services. Even if coverage is provided, the available reimbursement amount may not be high enough to allow us to establish or maintain pricing sufficient to realize an adequate return on our research and development and sales and marketing costs.
Coverage and reimbursement are ever changing, and we are not in control of how our competitors’ coverage and pricing strategies are established. Some of our competitors have widespread brand recognition and substantially greater financial and technical resources and development, production and marketing capabilities than we do. Others may develop lower-priced, less complex tests that payors and healthcare professionals could view as functionally equivalent to our applications and products, which could force us to lower the list price of our tests and impact our operating margins and our ability to achieve and maintain profitability. Payors may compare our applications and products to our competitors and utilize them as precedents, which may impact our coverage and reimbursement. In addition, technological innovations that result in the creation of enhanced diagnostic tools that are more effective than ours may enable other clinical laboratories, hospitals, medical personnel or medical providers to provide specialized diagnostic tests similar to ours in a more patient-friendly, efficient or cost-effective manner than is currently possible.
In the United States, many significant decisions about reimbursement for new diagnostics and medicines are made by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”), which decides whether and to what extent a new diagnostic or medicine will be covered and reimbursed under Medicare, although it frequently delegates this authority to local Medicare Administrative Contractors (“MACs”). Private payors tend to follow Medicare to a substantial degree. It is difficult to predict what CMS will decide with respect to reimbursement for novel platforms, solutions, applications and products and services such as ours. Outside the United States, the reimbursement process and timelines vary significantly. Certain countries, including a number of member states of the EU, set prices and make reimbursement decisions for diagnostics and pharmaceutical applications and products, or medicinal applications and products, as they are commonly referred to in the EU, with limited participation from the marketing authorization or CE mark holders, or may take decisions that are unfavorable to the authorization or CE mark holder where they have participated in the process. There can be no assurance that we can achieve acceptable prices and reimbursement decisions.
Cost-containment efforts of our customers and third-party payors could have a material adverse effect on our sales and profitability.
Increasing efforts by governmental and third-party payors to cap or reduce healthcare costs may cause such organizations to limit both coverage and level of reimbursement for newly cleared, authorized or approved devices and medicines and, as a result, they may not cover or provide adequate payment for our platform and related solutions, applications, products and services. Such efforts include legislation and regulations designed to control pharmaceutical and biological pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, discounts, restrictions on certain product access and marketing cost disclosure and transparency measures, which are, in some cases, designed to encourage importation from other countries and bulk purchasing. In the United States (at the federal, state and local levels) and some foreign jurisdictions, there have been and there continue to be efforts to contain the costs of, improve the quality of, and/or expand access to healthcare. For example, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (“IRA”), which among other things, eliminates the “donut hole” under the Medicare Part D program beginning in 2025 by significantly lowering the beneficiary maximum out-of-pocket cost through a newly established manufacturer discount program. We expect that additional state and federal healthcare reform measures will be adopted in the future. Because of that, we expect to experience pricing pressures on our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services due to the trend toward value-based pricing and coverage, the increasing influence of health maintenance organizations and legislative changes.
In an effort to reduce costs, many hospitals in the United States have become members of GPOs and Integrated Delivery Networks (the “IDNs”), which negotiate pricing arrangements with medical device companies and distributors and then offer these negotiated prices to affiliated hospitals and other members. GPOs and IDNs typically award contracts on a category-by-category basis through a competitive bidding process. Due to the highly competitive nature of the GPO and IDN contracting processes, we may not be able to obtain and maintain contract positions with major GPOs and IDNs. Furthermore, the increasing leverage of organized buying groups may reduce market prices for our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services, thereby reducing our revenue and margins.
We expect that a significant portion of our revenue will be derived from sales to customers for research and development applications, including for CROs. The demand for our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services will depend in part upon the research and development budgets of these customers, which are impacted by factors beyond our control. In addition, academic, governmental and other research institutions that fund research and development activities may be subject to stringent budgetary constraints that could results in spending reductions, reduced allocations or budget cutbacks, which could jeopardize the ability of these customers to purchase our applications and products.
Risks Related to Our Business Strategy
We may encounter difficulties in managing our growth, which could disrupt our operations and make it difficult to execute our business strategy.
As of December 31, 2022, we had 466 employees. We anticipate continued growth in our business operations, particularly in the areas of research and development and sales and marketing. Additionally, we expect to expand our testing, analytics and manufacturing capacities as we develop and commercialize additional platforms, applications, products, and services and expand our presence in existing markets and enter new
markets. To manage our anticipated growth, we must continue to implement and improve our managerial, operational quality and financial systems, expand our facilities and continue to recruit, train and retain additional qualified personnel. This growth could create strain on our organizational, administrative and operational infrastructure, including laboratory operations, quality control, customer service and sales organization management. Our management may also have to divert its attention away from day-to-day activities in order to manage growth. Difficulties managing our growth could disrupt our operations and make it difficult to execute our business strategy.
Our results of operations will be materially harmed if we are unable to accurately forecast customer demand for, and utilization of, our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products and services and manage our inventory.
To ensure adequate inventory supply, we must forecast inventory needs and assemble products related to our SOPHiA DDM Platform and services based on our estimates of future demand. Our ability to accurately forecast demand could be negatively affected by various factors, including our failure to accurately manage our expansion strategy, application and product introductions by competitors, change in customer demand, changes in customer acceptance, changes in general market conditions or regulatory matters and weakening of economic conditions or consumer confidence in future economic conditions. Inventory levels in excess of customer demand may result in inventory write-downs or write-offs, which would adversely affect our gross margin and impair the strength of our brand. Conversely, if we underestimate customer demand for our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services, our supply chain, manufacturing collaborators and/or internal manufacturing team may not be able to deliver components to meet our requirements, which could damage our reputation, sales growth, and customer relationships. In addition, if we experience a significant increase in demand, additional supplies of raw materials or additional manufacturing capacity may not be available when required on terms that are acceptable to us, if at all, or suppliers may not be able to allocate sufficient capacity in order to meet our increased requirements, which could adversely affect our business, reputation, and results of operations.
We have in the past and may in the future acquire other businesses, which could require significant management attention, disrupt our business, dilute shareholder value and adversely affect our results of operations.
As part of our business strategy, we have in the past and may in the future acquire complementary companies, platforms, applications, products, or technologies that we believe fit within our business model and can address the needs of our current and potential customers. There can be no assurance that we can acquire or successfully integrate such companies, platforms, applications, products, or technologies into our business, in particular that we can successfully integrate any acquired technology into our SOPHiA DDM Platform. We may not be able to find suitable acquisition candidates, and we may not be able to complete such acquisitions on favorable terms, if at all. In addition, the pursuit of potential acquisitions may divert the attention of management and cause us to incur additional expenses in identifying, investigating and pursuing suitable acquisitions, whether or not they are consummated. If we do complete acquisitions, we may not ultimately strengthen our competitive position or achieve our strategic goals and any acquisitions we complete could be viewed negatively by our customers, investors and industry analysts. We may not be aware of all of the risks associated with the acquired business. In addition, an acquisition may result in unforeseen operating difficulties and expenditures, such as:
•difficulties integrating businesses, services, personnel, operations and financial and other controls and systems and retaining key employees;
•assumption of unknown liabilities, known contingent liabilities, that become realized or known liabilities that prove greater than anticipated;
•difficulties retaining the customers or employees of any acquired business;
•incurrence of debt, contingent liabilities or future write-offs of intangible assets or goodwill;
•entry into a new market or business line in which we have no prior experience and in which we may not successfully compete;
•integration of an acquired company, which may disrupt ongoing operations and require management resources that would otherwise be used in developing our existing business; and
•divergent interests from those of our collaborators.
Foreign acquisitions involve unique risks in addition to those mentioned above, including those related to integration of operations across different cultures and languages, currency risks, and the particular economic, political and regulatory risks associated with specific countries.
Any such acquisitions may reduce cash available for operations and other uses and could result in amortization expense related to identifiable assets acquired. We may have to pay cash, incur debt or issue equity securities to pay for any such acquisition, each of which could adversely affect our financial condition and the value of our ordinary shares. The sale or issuance of equity securities to finance any such acquisitions would result in dilution to our shareholders. The incurrence of indebtedness to finance any such acquisition would result in fixed obligations and could also include restrictive covenants that impede our ability to manage our operations. In addition, our results of operations may be adversely affected by the dilutive effect of an acquisition, performance earn-outs or contingent bonuses associated with an acquisition.
Risks Related to Our Relationships with Third Parties
If we cannot maintain our current relationships and enter into new relationships with hospitals, reference and specialty laboratories and biopharmaceutical companies, our revenue prospects could be reduced.
We collaborate with various constituents in the healthcare ecosystem, such as hospitals, reference and specialty laboratories, and biopharmaceutical companies to analyze patient samples for multiple applications; strategic partners with whom we combine our SOPHiA DDM Platform with their offerings and with whom we jointly develop application, product, and service offerings; and manufacturers, suppliers and distributors of our products and offerings. See “Item 10. Additional Information—Material Contracts.” There can be no assurance that these collaborations will be successful or provide benefits to us as we expect. The revenue attributable to such relationships may fluctuate from period to period, which could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. In addition, the termination of these relationships could result in a temporary or permanent loss of revenue and could negatively impact our reputation.
Our future success depends in part on our ability to maintain these relationships and to establish new relationships, including with additional partners and collaborators and with governmental and third-party payors and patients. Many factors have the potential to impact such relationships, including our customers’ and collaborators’ satisfaction with our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services, their perceptions of our SOPHiA DDM Platform, which may be impacted by decisions of our other collaborators, and our ability to respond to the evolving needs of our customers. Furthermore, our customers may decide to decrease or discontinue their use of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services due to changes in clinical routine, research and development plans, financial constraints or utilization of internal testing resources or tests. In addition, our collaborators may decide to discontinue providing services or manufacturing products, for instance testing kits, complementary to or compatible with our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services, in particular, applications and products offered as part of “bundle” solutions together with our SOPHiA DDM Platform. Furthermore, our collaborators with whom we entered into both manufacturing and distribution agreements may be dis-incentivized from adequately performing their obligations under the applicable distribution agreement if we substantially decrease the quantities of products purchased from them under the manufacturing agreement or terminate the manufacturing agreement. In addition to reducing our revenue, the loss of one or more of these relationships may reduce our exposure to clinical routine and research that facilitate the collection and incorporation of new data, including new genomic profiles, into our SOPHiA DDM Platform.
We engage in conversations with potential collaborators regarding commercial opportunities on an ongoing basis. There can be no assurance that any of these conversations will result in a commercial agreement, or if an agreement is reached, that the resulting relationship will be successful or that clinical or research studies conducted as part of the engagement will produce successful outcomes.
Our operating results depend on the performance of third-party distributors.
A portion of our sales is made through independent global and regional distributors that are not under our control. We rely on distributors to grow and develop our customer base and anticipate customer needs, and any lack of such actions by our distributors may adversely affect our results of operations. If the business relationship with such distributor is terminated, whether through industry consolidation or otherwise, and we are unable to find a suitable replacement, our operations and operating results could be materially adversely affected. These independent distributors also generally represent applications and products offered by several companies and are not subject to any minimum sales requirements or obligation to market our applications and products to their customers. In turn, distributors could reduce their sales efforts for our applications and products or choose to terminate their representation of us. They may also fail to perform their obligations under the agreements with us, including their obligations to ensure that end users of our SOPHiA DDM Platform are aware that informed consent is required from patients prior to obtaining access to our SOPHiA DDM Platform.
We rely on third-party service providers to host and deliver our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related services, and any interruptions or delays in these services could harm our business.
We currently serve our customers from third-party data center hosting facilities located in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Europe, Turkey and Australia. Our operations depend, in part, on our third-party facility providers’ ability to protect these facilities against damage or interruption from natural disasters, power or telecommunications failures, criminal acts, and similar events. In the event that our data center arrangements are terminated, or if there are any lapses of service or damage to a center, we could experience lengthy interruptions in providing our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services as well as delays and additional expenses in making new arrangements.
We designed our system infrastructure and procure and own or lease the computer hardware used for our services. Design and mechanical errors, spikes in usage volume and failure to follow system protocols and procedures could cause our systems to fail and result in interruptions in our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related services. Any interruptions or delays in our service, whether as a result of third-party error, our own error, natural disasters or security breaches could harm our relationships with our customers, reduce our revenue and increase our expenses. In such events, our insurance policies may not adequately compensate us for losses that we may incur but such events could subject us to liability and cause us to issue credits or cause customers to abandon our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related services.
In addition, we currently use Microsoft Corporation (“Microsoft”) and Microsoft Azure Services for a substantial portion of our computing, storage, data processing, networking and other services. In addition, our platform can be deployed onto other platforms, including Amazon Web Services (“AWS”) or Google Cloud Platform (“Google Cloud”). Any significant disruption of, or interference with, our use of Microsoft Azure Services, AWS, Google Cloud or other similar cloud platforms, could affect the use of, and our customers’ satisfaction with, our applications, products, and services and could harm our business, results of operations and reputation. For example, in January 2023, Microsoft experienced a networking issue that had caused the disruption of its services that could have adversely affected our business if it had not been quickly fixed.
Cloud providers have broad discretion to change and interpret the terms of service and other policies with respect to us, and those actions may be unfavorable to our business operations. Cloud providers may also take actions beyond our control that could seriously harm our business, including discontinuing or limiting our access to one or more services, increasing pricing terms, terminating or seeking to terminate our contractual relationship altogether or altering how we are able to process data in a way that is unfavorable or costly to us. If our arrangements with cloud providers were terminated, we could experience interruptions on our platform and in our ability to make our content available to users, as well as delays and additional expenses in arranging for alternative cloud infrastructure services. Any transition to new cloud providers would be difficult to implement and would cause us to incur significant delays and expense.
We rely on third-party manufacturers for the supply, manufacture and production of our products. Our reliance on these third parties may impair the advancement and commercialization of our products.
We rely, and expect that we will continue to rely, on third parties for the manufacturing and supply of our products offered with our SOPHiA DDM Platform, and such reliance on third-party manufacturers may expose us to different risks than if we were to manufacture products ourselves. If our agreements with these third
parties expire or are terminated, there can be no assurance that we would be able to negotiate new agreements with them or other third parties on equally favorable terms as the current agreements, or at all. For example, we rely on our manufacturing and supply agreements with multiple parties, including IDT, Watchmaker Genomics, Qiagen, and NEB, for the manufacturing of our DNA enrichment kits, which we offer to our clients as part of our “bundle” solutions together with our SOPHiA DDM Platform.
Reliance on third-party providers exposes us to different risks than if we were to manufacture and supply products ourselves. If our third-party manufacturers fail to deliver the required commercial quantities of materials on a timely basis and at commercially reasonable prices, and we are unable to find one or more replacement manufacturers capable of production at a substantially equivalent cost in substantially equivalent volumes and quality on a timely basis, the continued commercialization of our products, the supply of our products to customers and the development of any future products will be delayed, limited or prevented, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Further, we do not have control over a manufacturer’s compliance with applicable manufacturing standards and other laws and regulations, such as those related to environmental health and safety matters. Any failure to achieve and maintain compliance with these laws, regulations and standards could subject us to the risk that we may have to suspend the manufacturing of our products and that obtained regulatory clearance could be revoked, which would adversely affect our business and reputation. In addition, we have encountered and may in the future encounter quality issues with our products if our third-party manufacturers fail to deliver the required materials for, or components of, our products free of defects and contaminants and/or in conformity with applicable specifications, warranties and statutory or regulatory requirements. We cannot guarantee that quality issues resulting from one of our third-party manufacturer’s failure to deliver compliant materials or components free of defects and contaminants will not lead to product recalls, marketing or promotional restrictions, litigation, customer loss or reputational harm or otherwise negatively affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Further, our manufacturing collaborators may be unable to successfully increase the manufacturing capacity for our products in a timely or cost-effective manner, or at all, as needed for our development efforts or, if our additional products are developed and approved, our commercialization efforts.
Establishing additional or replacement manufacturers could take a substantial amount of time and be expensive, which may result in interruptions in our operations and product delivery, negatively affect the quality and performance of our products or require that modifications be made to our products’ designs. Even if we are able to find replacement manufacturers, we will be required to verify that the new manufacturer maintains facilities, procedures and operations that comply with our quality expectations and applicable regulatory requirements. If we are unable to find an adequate replacement or another acceptable solution in time, our research and development and commercial activities could be harmed.
We rely on third parties to conduct multimodal clinical studies. If they do not properly and successfully perform their obligations to us, we may not be able to gather data necessary to support further development of our SOPHiA DDM Platform in a particular disease area or to support potential regulatory submissions and commercial activities.
We rely, and we expect that we will continue to rely, on third parties to assist in managing, monitoring and otherwise carrying out multimodal clinical studies of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, and products. For example, we rely on participating sites and their staff, such as clinical research assistants, to gather and enter data and on clinical research organizations and their staff to gather, enter and monitor data. As a result of our reliance on these third parties, we have less direct control over the conduct, timing and completion of these studies than we would otherwise have if we relied entirely upon our own staff.
If these third parties do not successfully carry out their duties under their agreements, or if the quality or accuracy of the data they obtain is compromised, or if they fail to comply with study protocols or meet expected deadlines, the multimodal clinical studies of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, and products, may fail to generate data necessary to support further development of our platform in a particular disease area or to support potential regulatory submissions and commercial activities and could subject us to liability claims. If third parties fail to comply with applicable regulatory requirements, the data generated in the multimodal clinical studies may be unreliable and these studies may be extended, delayed, suspended or terminated and we could be subject to liability claims.
We compete with many other companies for the resources of these third parties. These third parties may have contractual relationships with other entities, some of which may be our competitors, which may draw time and
resources away from our studies. If any of our relationships with these third parties terminate, we may not be able to enter into alternative arrangements or to do so on commercially reasonable terms. As a result, delays may occur in our studies, which can materially impact our ability to meet our desired development, regulatory and commercialization timelines. There can be no assurance that we will not encounter challenges or delays in the future or that these delays or challenges will not have a material adverse impact on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.
Performance issues, service interruptions or price increases by our shipping carriers and warehousing providers could adversely affect our business, reputation and ability to provide our products on a timely basis.
Expedited, reliable shipping and delivery services and secure warehousing are essential to our operations. We rely on providers of transport services for reliable and secure point-to-point transport of our research and diagnostic products and for tracking of these shipments, and from time to time require warehousing for our products. Should a carrier encounter delivery performance issues such as loss, damage or destruction of any systems, it would be costly to replace such systems in a timely manner and such occurrences may damage our reputation, reduce demand for our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services and increase costs and expenses to our business. In addition, any significant increase in shipping or warehousing rates could adversely affect our operating margins and results of operations. Similarly, strikes, severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest and disturbances or other service interruptions affecting delivery or warehousing services we use would adversely affect our ability to process orders for our products on a timely basis.
We rely on commercial courier delivery services to transport samples to our laboratory facility in a timely and cost-efficient manner, and if these delivery services are disrupted, our business will be harmed. Disruptions in delivery service, whether due to labor disruptions, bad weather, natural disaster, civil unrest or disturbances, terrorist acts or threats, or other reasons could adversely affect specimen integrity, our ability to process samples in a timely manner and service our customers, and ultimately our reputation and our business. In addition, if we are unable to continue to obtain expedited delivery services on commercially reasonable terms, our operating results may be adversely affected.
We intend to rely on third-party distributors to realize our expansion strategy.
We offer our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services through third-party distributors in various geographies. We intend to extend our presence into new geographies and further penetrate existing geographies, particularly geographies that represent largely underpenetrated opportunities such as North America, and to do so we must attract additional distributors and retain existing distributors to maximize the commercial opportunity for our platform, applications, services, and products. There is no guarantee that we will be successful in attracting or retaining desirable sales and distribution collaborators or that we will be able to enter into such arrangements on favorable terms. Most of our distribution relationships are non-exclusive and permit such distributors to distribute competing applications and products. As such, our distributors may not commit the necessary resources to market our applications and products to the level of our expectations or may choose to favor marketing the applications and products of our competitors. If current or future distributors do not perform adequately or we are unable to enter into effective arrangements with distributors in particular geographies, we may not achieve revenue growth and realize our expansion strategy.
Risks Related to Our Business and Industry
We are highly dependent on our senior management team and other key personnel, and our business could be harmed if we are unable to retain and attract such personnel.
We are highly dependent on our senior management, including our Chief Executive Officer Dr. Jurgi Camblong. Our success will depend on our ability to retain senior management and to attract and retain qualified personnel in the future, including sales and marketing professionals, scientists, clinical specialists and other highly skilled personnel. The inability to attract and retain members of our senior management, sales and marketing professionals, scientists, IT and data experts or clinical and regulatory specialists could result in delays in application and product development and commercialization and harm our business.
To induce valuable employees to remain at our company, in addition to salary and cash incentives, we have granted and intend to continue to grant share-based compensation awards that vest over time. The value to employees of such awards is significantly affected by movements in our share price due to market volatility, and such awards may at any time be insufficient to retain key employees and senior management, as well as to counteract more lucrative offers from other companies. Despite our efforts to retain valuable employees, members of our management, scientific and development teams may terminate their employment with us on short notice. We do not maintain “key person” insurance policies.
Our industry is subject to rapid change, which could make our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services obsolete. If we are unable to continue to innovate and improve our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services, we could fail to attract new customers and expand our market share and we could lose existing customers and market share.
Our industry is characterized by rapid changes, including technological and scientific breakthroughs, frequent new application, product, or service introductions and enhancements and evolving industry standards, all of which could make our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products and services and others we are developing obsolete. Our future success will depend on our ability to keep pace with the evolving needs of our customers on a timely and cost-effective basis and to pursue new market opportunities that develop as a result of scientific and technological advances.
In recent years, there have been numerous advancements in genomics and our understanding of cancer, rare diseases, cardiology, neurology, metabolism and infectious diseases. There have also been advancements in methods used to analyze very large amounts of molecular information. New technologies, including new AI/ML-powered technologies, and evolving business models in the field of precision medicine continue to develop rapidly. We must continuously enhance our offerings and develop new and improved features, applications and data modalities of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services to keep pace with scientific and industry developments. If we do not leverage or scale our database of genomic profiles or update our data analytics platform and improve our services and research and diagnostic applications and products to reflect new scientific knowledge, including in the fields of oncology and hereditary disorders, our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services could become obsolete and sales of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services could decline or fail to grow as expected. A failure to make continuous improvements to our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services to keep ahead of those of our competitors could result in the loss of customers or market share.
We face competition from many sources and we may be unable to compete successfully.
There are a number of healthcare technology companies providing bioinformatics analysis solutions, applications, services, and products in North and South America, Europe and Asia. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—Business Overview—Competition.” These competitors provide AI-driven precision medicine platforms, applications, services, and research and diagnostic products to hospitals, researchers, medical personnel, laboratories and other medical facilities. Many of these organizations, particularly in the United States, are more established, possess regulatory clearances and approval, have broader or deeper relations with healthcare professionals, customers and third-party payors, have greater ability to price their platforms, solutions, applications, products, and services competitively and have significantly greater financial and personnel resources and market share than we do. As a consequence, they may be able to spend more on application and product development, marketing, sales and other application and product initiatives than we can. Our continued success depends on our ability to:
•further penetrate the disease diagnostic solutions market and increase utilization of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services;
•maintain and widen our technology lead over competitors by continuing to innovate and deliver new application and product enhancements on a continuous basis;
•cost-effectively develop and improve our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services;
•add new clinically relevant features, applications and data modalities to our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services, such as anatomical pathology and proteomics, and generate suitable evidence supporting the research and clinical utility of our multimodal analytical approach ahead of our competitors; and
•maintain existing and establish additional research and development, manufacturing, distribution and commercialization collaborations and partnerships.
Our competitors also compete with us in recruiting and retaining qualified scientific, management and commercial personnel, as well as in acquiring technologies complementary to, or necessary for, development of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services. Because of the complex and technical nature of data-driven healthcare analysis and the dynamic market in which we compete, any failure to attract and retain a sufficient number of qualified employees could materially harm our ability to develop and commercialize our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
As we attain greater commercial success, our competitors are likely to develop technology, platforms, applications, products, and services that offer features and functionality similar to ours. Improvements in existing competitive technology, platforms, applications, products, and services or the introduction of new competitive technology, platforms, applications, products, and services may make it more difficult for us to compete for sales, particularly if competitors demonstrate better accuracy, reliability, convenience or effectiveness or price their platforms, applications, products, and services less expensively.
Our competitors may develop data analytics platforms, applications, and products or adopt and implement standards or technologies not compatible with our SOPHiA DDM Platform and our other applications, services, and products. This may inhibit our efforts to develop our platform, applications, services, and products in a technology-agnostic manner, which could narrow the addressable market for our SOPHiA DDM Platform and our other applications, services, and products, adversely impact their sales and market acceptance, and limit our revenue growth and potential profitability.
In addition, we operate in an ecosystem where we and our customers have multiple offerings and our own customers may become our competitors or may view us as potential competitors. This could dis-incentivize our customers or potential customers from adopting our offerings and sharing data with us, which would adversely impact sales and market acceptance and limit our revenue growth and potential profitability.
Cyber security or data privacy breaches, other unauthorized or improper access, or (distributed) denial service lack of access (e.g., ransomware, persistent DoS/DDoS) could result in additional costs, service outages, loss of revenue, significant liabilities, harm to our brand and decreased/denied use of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, or services.
Any failure to prevent or mitigate cyber security incidents or improper access to, use, disclosure or other misappropriation of our data or customers’ personal data or the inability to rightfully access any such data could result in significant liability under state (e.g., state breach notification and privacy laws such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”)), federal (e.g., the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (“HITECH”), collectively “HIPAA”) and international laws (e.g., the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”)). Such an incident may also cause a material loss of revenue from the potential adverse impact to our reputation and brand, affect our ability to retain or attract new users and customers of our applications, products, and services and potentially disrupt our business.
As we become more dependent on information technologies, to conduct our operations, cyber security incidents, including deliberate cyber security attacks and attempts to gain unauthorized access to computer systems and cloud/hybrid networks, may increase in frequency and sophistication. Next generation sequencing (NGS) is becoming a new standard in public health sector. Its growing visibility inevitably attracts malicious activity threats, as it combines mission-critical infrastructure and high-value data. In 2022 global cyberattacks increased compared to 2021 and the healthcare sector sees the largest increase in cyberattacks using ransomware attacks exposing individuals' data. In addition to the nature of the data we hold and process, the
geopolitical environment induced by the war in Ukraine and increasing pressure in Asia Pacific may make cyber security attacks more common and targeted.
These cyber security threats pose a risk to the security of our systems and networks, the confidentiality and the availability and integrity of our data, and these risks apply both to us (including via our corporate systems and any employees that may be working remotely) and to third parties on whose systems we rely for the conduct of our business. Because the techniques used to obtain unauthorized access, disable or degrade service or sabotage systems change frequently and often are not recognized until launched against a target, we and our collaborators may be unable to anticipate these techniques or to implement adequate preventative measures. We may in the future experience security incidents. In particular, we may be subject to cyber security incidents as we continue to adapt and upgrade our platform architecture. If we do not allocate and effectively manage the resources necessary to build and sustain the proper technology and cybersecurity infrastructure, we could suffer significant business disruption, data loss or damage to intellectual property or other proprietary information. While no security incidents in the past have had a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations, we cannot predict the impact of any such future events. Further, although we are obligated under certain laws and regulations to ensure that our platform, systems and servers and those of our service providers remain compliant with the relevant legal requirements with respect to data privacy and cyber security, we do not have any control over the operations of the facilities or technology of such providers, including any third-party vendors that collect, process and store personal data on our behalf. Our platform, systems and servers and those of our service providers may be vulnerable to malware or physical or electronic break-ins that our or their security measures may not detect, including via supply chain attacks. Individuals able to circumvent such security measures may misappropriate our confidential or proprietary information, disrupt our operations, damage our computers or otherwise impair our reputation and business. We may need to expend significant resources and make significant capital investments to protect against cyber security breaches or to mitigate (compensating controls) the impact of any such breaches. In addition, to the extent that our platform, systems and servers and those of our service providers experience security breaches that result in the unauthorized or improper use of confidential data, employee data or personal data, we may not be indemnified for any losses resulting from such breaches. There can be no assurance that we or our third-party providers will be successful in preventing cyberattacks or successfully mitigating their effects. If we are unable to prevent or mitigate the impact of such security breaches, our ability to attract and retain new customers, patients and other collaborators could be harmed as they may be reluctant to entrust their data to us, and we could be exposed to litigation and governmental investigations, proceedings and regulatory actions by federal, state and local regulatory entities in the United States and by international regulatory entities, and we could breach our contractual obligations, all of which could result in significant legal and financial exposure and reputational damages and lead to a potential disruption to our business or other adverse consequences.
If we experience significant disruptions in our information technology systems, our business may be adversely affected.
We depend on our information technology systems for the efficient functioning of our business, including the performance, distribution and maintenance of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services, as well as for accounting, data storage, compliance, purchasing and inventory management, and our continued growth is dependent on our ability to adapt and upgrade our platform architecture without suffering significant business disruption, data loss or the loss of or damage to intellectual property or other proprietary information. Our information technology systems may fail and are vulnerable to breakdown, cyber security breach, interruption or damage from computer viruses, ransomware, DoS/DDoS attacks or other malware, attacks by computer hackers, including sophisticated nation-state and nation-state-supported actors, employee error or malfeasance, theft or misuse, failures during the process of upgrading or replacing software, databases or components thereof, power outages, damage or interruption from fires or other natural disasters, hardware failures, telecommunication failures and user errors, among other malfunctions. We could be subject to an unintentional event that involves a third party gaining unauthorized access to our systems, which could disrupt our operations, corrupt our data or result in release of our confidential information. Technological interruptions would disrupt our operations, including our ability to timely ship and track diagnostic test orders and results, project inventory requirements, manage our supply chain and otherwise adequately service our customers or disrupt our customers’ ability to use our applications, products, and services. In the event we experience significant disruptions, we may be unable to repair our systems in an efficient and timely manner. Accordingly, such events may disrupt or reduce the efficiency of our entire operation and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Currently, we carry business interruption coverage to mitigate certain potential losses, but this insurance is limited in amount and by the relevant policy’s terms and conditions and there can be no assurance that such potential losses will not exceed our policy limits. The successful assertion of one or more large claims against us that exceed or are not covered by our insurance coverage, or changes in our insurance policies, including premium increases or the imposition of large deductible or co-insurance requirements, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Further, such insurance may not cover all potential claims to which we are exposed. We are increasingly dependent on complex information technology to manage our infrastructure. Our information systems require an ongoing commitment of significant resources to maintain, protect and enhance our existing systems. Failure to maintain or protect our information systems and data integrity effectively could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
A pandemic, epidemic or outbreak of an infectious disease in Switzerland, the United States or worldwide, including the novel strain of coronavirus disease (“COVID-19”), could adversely affect our business.
If a pandemic, epidemic or outbreak of an infectious disease occurs in Switzerland, the United States or worldwide, our business may be adversely affected. In the past, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we experienced reduced revenue and reduced operations at our headquarters. In addition to these effects, pandemics, epidemics, or outbreaks could result in work stoppages, supply chain disruptions, delays in research and development timelines, disruptions in our commercialization efforts, challenges in customer acquisition and retention, challenges in employee retention and hiring, and delays to our regulatory submission timelines. Any pandemic, epidemic, or outbreak of an infectious disease may also have the effect of heightening many of the other risks described in this “Risk Factors” section.
If our laboratory facility becomes damaged or inoperable or we are required to vacate our existing facilities, our ability to conduct our laboratory processes and analysis and pursue our research and development efforts may be jeopardized.
We operate a laboratory facility located in Rolle, Switzerland. Our facility and equipment could be harmed or rendered inoperable by natural or man-made disasters, including war, fire, earthquake, power loss, communications failure or terrorism, which may render it difficult or impossible for us to operate our platform for some period of time or result in damages to our inventory that require sensitive storage conditions. We do not presently have an emergency back-up generator in place at our Rolle, Switzerland laboratory facility which would otherwise mitigate, to some extent, the effects of a prolonged power outage. The inability to perform our laboratory processes or to reduce the backlog that could develop if our facilities are inoperable, for even a short period of time, may result in the loss of customers or harm to our reputation, and we may be unable to regain those customers or repair our reputation in the future. In the past, we have incurred write-offs for damaged inventory that were deemed unusable as a result of disruptions to our laboratory facility.
Furthermore, our facility and the equipment we use to perform our research and development work could be unavailable or costly and time-consuming to repair or replace, which may increase backlog. It would be difficult, time-consuming and expensive to rebuild our facility, to locate new facilities or license or transfer our proprietary technologies to a third party.
We carry business continuity insurance and insurance for damage to our property in amounts and pursuant to terms that we believe are reasonable, but this insurance may not cover all of the risks associated with damage, may not provide coverage in amounts sufficient to cover our potential losses and may not continue to be available to us on acceptable terms, if at all.
If product liability lawsuits are brought against us, we may incur substantial liabilities and may be required to limit or halt the marketing and sale of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services.
We face an inherent risk of product liability as a result of the marketing and sale of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services and the testing of our SOPHiA DDM Platform in clinical studies. For example, we may be sued if our NGS test kits cause or are perceived to cause injury, provide inaccurate or incomplete information or are found to be otherwise unsuitable during manufacturing, marketing or sale. Any such product liability claim may include allegations of defects in manufacturing, defects in design, a failure to warn of dangers inherent in the product, negligence, strict liability or a breach of
warranties. In addition, we may be subject to claims against us even if the apparent injury is due to the actions of others or the preexisting health of the patient. If medical personnel, care collaborators or patients who operate our research and diagnostic products are not properly trained, are negligent, or use our research and diagnostic products incorrectly, the capabilities of such products may be diminished or the patient may suffer injury. If we sponsor interventional clinical studies of our SOPHiA DDM Platform in the future, our risk of being subject to product liability lawsuits may be heightened.
If we cannot successfully defend ourselves against product liability claims, we may incur substantial liabilities or be required to limit or halt the marketing and sale of our products. Even successful defense would require significant financial and management resources. Regardless of the merits or eventual outcome, liability claims may result in:
•delays in obtaining necessary regulatory clearances or approvals;
•decreased demand for our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services;
•collaborators terminating their collaboration agreements because of significant product liability claims by third parties;
•harm to our reputation;
•initiation of investigations by regulators;
•delays or abandonment of clinical studies;
•costs to defend the related litigation;
•a diversion of management’s time and our resources;
•substantial monetary awards to trial participants or patients;
•product recalls, withdrawals or labeling, marketing or promotional restrictions;
•loss of revenue;
•adverse impact on the market price of our ordinary shares; and
•exhaustion of any available insurance and our capital resources.
We believe that we have adequate product liability insurance, but it may not prove to be adequate to cover all liabilities that we may incur. Insurance coverage is increasingly expensive. We may not be able to maintain or obtain insurance at a reasonable cost or in an amount adequate to satisfy any liability that may arise. Our insurance policy contains various exclusions, and we may be subject to a product liability claim for which we have no coverage. The potential inability to obtain sufficient product liability insurance at an acceptable cost to protect against product liability claims could prevent or inhibit the marketing and sale of our applications, products, and services. We may have to pay any amounts awarded by a court or negotiated in a settlement that exceed our coverage limitations or that are not covered by our insurance, and we may not have, or be able to obtain, sufficient capital to pay such amounts, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, any product liability claims brought against us, with or without merit, could increase our product liability insurance rates or prevent us from securing continuing coverage, harm our reputation in our industry, significantly increase our expenses and reduce sales.
If we fail to maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, we may not be able to accurately report our financial condition and results of operations in a timely manner or prevent fraud.
Effective internal control over financial reporting necessary for us to provide reliable financial reports and, together with adequate disclosure controls and procedures, are designed to prevent fraud. Any failure to implement required new or improved controls, or difficulties encountered in their implementation could cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations. As required by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, our management
has conducted an assessment on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. However, as an emerging growth company, our independent registered public accounting firm has not provided an attestation report on our internal control over financial reporting. There can be no assurance that any future testing conducted by us or, if required, by our independent registered public accounting firm will not reveal deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting. If we do not maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, we may be unable to accurately report our financial condition and results of operations in a timely manner, may incur additional financial and management resources to remediate any deficiencies, or may be unable to detect and prevent fraud, all of which would adversely affect our business. For example, as of December 31, 2021, we had three material weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting related to our personnel, our accounting policies and procedures, and our information technology general controls that management has determined were remediated as of December 31, 2022 (refer to Item 15. Controls and Procedures—D. Changes in Internal Control Over Financial Reporting).
Litigation and other legal proceedings may adversely affect our business.
From time to time, we may become involved in legal proceedings relating to patent and other intellectual property matters, product liability claims, employee claims, tort or contract claims, regulatory investigations, securities class action and other legal proceedings or investigations, which could have an adverse impact on our reputation, business and financial condition and divert the attention of our management from the operation of our business. Litigation is inherently unpredictable and can result in excessive or unanticipated judgements and/or injunctive relief that affect how we operate our business. We could incur judgments or enter into settlements of claims for monetary damages or for agreements to change the way we operate our business, or both. There may be an increase in the scope of these matters or there may be additional lawsuits, claims, proceedings or investigations in the future, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Adverse publicity about regulatory or legal action against us could damage our reputation and brand image, undermine our customers’ confidence and reduce long-term demand for our solutions, applications, products, and services, even if the regulatory or legal action is unfounded or not material to our operations.
Our business is subject to economic, political, regulatory and other risks associated with international operations.
Our results could be adversely affected by a variety of risks associated with our international operations, including economic weakness, such as inflation and rising interest rates, or political instability in economies and markets; global trends towards pharmaceutical pricing; differing regulatory requirements for bioinformatics analysis services and research and diagnostic products approvals; differing reimbursement, pricing and insurance regimes; potentially reduced protection for, and complexities and difficulties in obtaining, maintaining, protecting and enforcing, intellectual property rights; difficulties in compliance with U.S. and non-U.S. laws and regulations, including data security and data protection laws, which may result in increased compliance costs to us, and anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws; changes in regulations and customs, tariffs and trade barriers; changes in currency exchange rates and currency controls; changes in a specific country’s or region’s political or economic environment; trade protection measures, economic sanctions and embargoes on certain countries and persons, import or export licensing requirements or other restrictive actions by governments, including with respect to our applications, products, and services, in particular IT solutions, services and technologies on which our operations rely; changes in tax laws; compliance with tax, employment, immigration and labor laws for employees living or traveling abroad; workforce uncertainty in countries where labor unrest is more common than in Switzerland and the United States; difficulties associated with staffing and managing international operations, including differing labor relations; production shortages resulting from any events affecting raw material supply or manufacturing capabilities abroad; business interruptions resulting from geopolitical actions, including war and terrorism (including the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine), or natural disasters including earthquakes, typhoons, floods and fires; and the impact of public health epidemics on employees and the global economy, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Certain of our suppliers and service providers are located in geopolitically sensitive regions, including Ukraine and other eastern European countries, and are negatively impacted in their ability to conduct their operations and perform services for us as a result of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. As a result, we may experience supply chain disruptions and interruptions in our operations. We are continuously assessing the ongoing geopolitical risks in Europe, and globally in general, and are prepared to adjust our business operations accordingly. In addition, as a result of the UK’s exit from the EU, we may increasingly face divergent regulations in the UK and the EU. Any of these
factors could require us to modify our business plans and strategy and significantly harm our future international expansion and operations and, consequently, our revenue and results of operations.
Risks Related to Governmental Regulation
Currently our applications and products in the United States are labeled as RUO. We intend to seek regulatory clearance or approval to offer our applications and products as IVD applications and products for diagnostic use. We cannot guarantee when, if at all, we will apply for regulatory clearance or approval or that we will be successful in obtaining such clearances or approvals.
While we have several CE-IVD applications and products, our currently available applications and products in the United States are labeled as RUO applications and products and are not intended for diagnostic use. Although we have focused initially on the RUO applications and products only, our strategy is to expand our application and product line to encompass applications and products that are intended to be used as IVDs. Such IVD products will be subject to regulation by the FDA as medical devices, including requirements for regulatory clearance or approval of such applications and products before they can be marketed. Accordingly, we will be required to obtain FDA 510(k) clearance or premarket approval (“PMA”) in order to sell our applications and products in a manner consistent with FDA laws and regulations. Such regulatory approval processes or clearances are expensive, time-consuming and uncertain; our efforts may never result in any premarket approval or 510(k) approval or clearance for our applications and products; and failure by us to obtain or comply with such approvals and clearances could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or operating results.
Regulatory authorities have substantial discretion in the approval process. They may refuse to accept any application or may decide that our data are insufficient for approval and require additional studies. Therefore, even if we believe the data collected from studies of our platform are promising, such data may not be sufficient to support approval by any regulatory authority. If we are required to conduct additional studies or other testing of any of our platform beyond those we contemplate, we may incur significant additional costs and regulatory approval may be delayed or prevented. Furthermore, approval by one regulatory authority does not ensure approval by regulatory authorities in other jurisdictions, and we may be required to undertake additional studies to access particular markets.
If we successfully obtain such approvals, we will be subject to a substantial number of additional requirements for medical devices, including establishment registration, device listing, and Quality Systems Regulations (“QSRs”) which cover the design, testing, production, control, quality assurance, labeling, packaging, servicing, sterilization (if required), and storage and shipping of medical devices (among other activities), advertising, record keeping, post-market surveillance, post-approval studies, adverse event reporting, and correction and removal (recall) regulations. We may be required to expend significant resources to ensure ongoing compliance with the FDA regulations and/or take satisfactory corrective action in response to enforcement action, which may have a material adverse effect on the ability to design, develop and commercialize applications and products using our technology as planned. Failure to comply with these requirements may subject us to a range of enforcement actions, such as warning letters, injunctions, civil monetary penalties, criminal prosecution, recall and/or seizure of products, and revocation of marketing authorization, as well as significant adverse publicity. If we fail to obtain, or experience significant delays in obtaining, regulatory approvals for IVD or other applications and products, such applications and products may not be able to be launched or successfully commercialized in a timely manner, or at all.
Laboratory developed tests (“LDTs”) are a subset of IVD tests that are designed, manufactured and used within a single laboratory. The FDA maintains that LDTs are medical devices and has for the most part exercised enforcement discretion for most LDTs. A significant change in the way that the FDA regulates any LDTs that our customers develop using our RUO components could affect our business. If the FDA requires laboratories to undergo premarket review and comply with other applicable FDA requirements in the future, the cost and time required to commercialize an LDT will increase substantially, and may reduce the financial incentive for laboratories to develop LDTs, which could reduce demand for our RUO applications and products.
We develop applications and products for clinical laboratories, which may be qualified as LDTs, as well as market RUO applications and products. Our customer may decide to validate our applications and products to use as an LDT, which will be covered under Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments
of 1988 (“CLIA”) and CMS, although future developments may cause us to be subject to additional FDA requirements.
The laws and regulations governing the marketing of diagnostic applications and products are evolving, extremely complex and in many instances, there are no significant regulatory or judicial interpretations of these laws and regulations. Pursuant to its authority under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the “FDCA”), the FDA has jurisdiction over medical devices, including in vitro diagnostics and, therefore, potentially our applications and products.
Pursuant to the FDCA and its implementing regulations, the FDA regulates the research, testing, manufacturing, safety, labeling, storage, record keeping, premarket clearance or approval, marketing and promotion, and sales and distribution of medical devices in the United States to ensure that medical products distributed domestically are safe and effective for their intended uses. Although the FDA has asserted that it has authority to regulate the development and use of LDTs, such as our and many other laboratories’ tests, as medical devices, it has generally exercised enforcement discretion and is not otherwise regulating most tests developed and performed within a single high-complexity CLIA-certified laboratory. The FDA could, at any time, change its policy with regard to this matter or the U.S. Congress could take action to amend the law to change the current regulatory framework for in vitro diagnostics and LDTs.
We currently do not offer any diagnostic applications and products in the United States. We believe that our research applications and products, as utilized in clinical laboratories by our customers, are and would be considered LDTs and that as a result, the FDA does not require that they obtain regulatory clearances or approvals for the LDTs or their components pursuant to the FDA’s current policies and guidance. Although we believe that our products and test components delivered to our customers, when validated as LDTs, are either exempt from FDA medical device regulations or are subject to an enforcement discretion policy, it is possible that the FDA would not agree with these determinations or that the FDA will change its regulations and policies such that our applications and products become regulated as medical devices.
In addition, changes in the current regulatory framework for diagnostic applications, products, and services can impose additional regulatory burdens on us. For example, the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health is currently considering a total product lifecycle-based regulatory framework for AI/ML technologies. On January 12, 2021, the FDA released its Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning-Based Software as a Medical Device Action Plan. As the regulatory framework evolves, we may incur substantial costs to ensure compliance with new or amended laws and regulations. Failure to comply with any of these laws and regulations could result in enforcement actions against us, damage to our reputation and loss of goodwill, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business.
We may be required to seek FDA-premarket review of other applications, products, and services, including reports that we do not currently believe require premarket authorization but could be subject to additional regulation including premarket review. The Verifying Accurate Leading-edge IVCT Development Act of 2021 (the “VALID Act of 2021,” the “VALID Act” or the “Act”) was introduced in both the House and Senate on June 24, 2021 which seeks to regulate laboratory testing and to modernize FDA regulations of diagnostic applications and products and it could increase the types of our reports which are subject to premarket review. For any such review, we are required to conduct extensive analytical validation and user comprehension studies to demonstrate the accuracy of our test results and that they are appropriate for sale directly to consumers. This process will likely be costly, time-consuming and uncertain. Delays in receipt of, or failure to obtain, authorizations or clearances could materially delay or prevent us from commercializing new applications, products, and services or result in substantial additional costs. We may not be able to obtain FDA authorization for all our applications, products, and services.
Further, on September 28, 2022, the FDA has issued the guidance on Clinical Decision Support software. It is unclear how any such guidance will impact our SOPHiA DDM Plarform.
Our operations, therefore, are or may become subject to extensive regulation by the FDA in the United States, the IVDR in the EU, the MHRA in the UK, and various health authorities, in particular SwissMedic in Switzerland, and the ANSM in France, and in other jurisdictions in which we conduct business. Government regulations specific to medical devices are wide-ranging and govern, among other things:
•test design, development, manufacture, and release;
•laboratory and clinical testing, labeling, packaging, storage and distribution;
•product safety and efficacy;
•premarketing clearance or approval;
•application and product marketing, promotion and advertising, sales and distribution;
•post-marketing surveillance, including reporting of deaths or serious injuries, recalls, correction and removals;
•post-market approval studies; and
•product import and export.
The FDA, the EMA, the MHRA and U.S. state authorities have broad enforcement powers. Our failure to comply with applicable regulatory requirements could result in enforcement action by any such agency, which may include any of the following sanctions:
•adverse publicity, warning letters, untitled letters, “it has come to our attention” letters, fines, injunctions, consent decrees and civil penalties;
•repair, replacement, refunds, recall or seizure of our products;
•operating restrictions, partial suspension or total shutdown of production;
•denial of our requests for regulatory clearance or PMA of new applications and products, new intended uses or modifications to existing applications and products;
•withdrawal of regulatory clearance or PMA that have already been granted; or
As discussed above, although we believe that our current line of products and their components, as utilized in clinical laboratories by our customers, are LDTs, subject to state licensing requirements and federal regulation by CMS under CLIA, it is possible that the FDA or comparable regulatory authorities would not agree with our determinations. If our products become subject to 510(k) or other similar FDA regulations, we would need to comply with the applicable regulations or face significant civil and criminal penalties. Exposure to these additional regulatory requirements would also affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Failure to comply with federal, state, and foreign laboratory licensing requirements if we begin to provide diagnostic applications and products in the United States could result in significant penalties and materially adversely affect our operations.
CLIA is a federal law that regulates clinical laboratories that perform testing on specimens derived from humans for the purpose of providing information for the diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of disease, or impairment of, or the assessment of the health of, human beings. CLIA regulations require, among other things, clinical laboratories to obtain a certificate and mandate specific standards in the areas of personnel qualifications, administration, participation in proficiency testing, test management, and quality assurance. In addition to federal certification requirements of laboratories under CLIA, CLIA provides that states may adopt laboratory regulations and licensure requirements that are more stringent than those under federal law. A number of states have implemented their own licensure and more stringent laboratory regulatory requirements. Such laws, among other things, establish standards for the day-to-day operation of a clinical laboratory, including the training and skills required of personnel and quality control. Failure to comply with CLIA and applicable state clinical laboratory licensure requirements may result in a range of enforcement actions, including license suspension, limitation, or revocation, directed plan of action, onsite monitoring, civil monetary penalties, and criminal sanctions as well as significant adverse publicity.
Based on our current scope of operations, we do not currently operate a CLIA-certified laboratory and our customers are responsible for their own CLIA certification. However, if we begin to provide diagnostic applications and products in the United States, we will become subject to such requirements.
We may fail to obtain required clearances or approvals in additional jurisdictions for any of our applications, products, or services and, even if we do, we may never be able to commercialize them in additional jurisdictions, which would limit our ability to realize their full market potential.
In order to eventually market any of our current or future applications, products, and services in any particular jurisdiction, we must establish and comply with numerous and varying regulatory requirements on a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis regarding quality, safety, performance and efficacy. In addition, regulatory clearance, authorization or approval in one country does not guarantee regulatory clearance, authorization or approval in any other country. For example, the performance characteristics of our applications, products, and services may need to be validated separately in specific ethnic and genetic populations. Approval processes vary among countries and can involve additional product testing and validation and additional administrative review periods.
Seeking regulatory clearance, authorization or approval could result in difficulties and costs. Regulatory requirements and ethical approval obligations can vary widely from country to country and could delay or prevent the introduction of our applications, products, and services in those countries. We have no experience in obtaining regulatory clearance, authorization or approval in international markets. If we fail to comply with regulatory requirements in international markets or to obtain and maintain required regulatory clearances, authorizations or approvals in international markets, or if those approvals are delayed, our target market will be reduced and our ability to realize the full market potential of our applications, products, and services will be unrealized.
Our products or services may be subject to product or service recalls in the future. A recall of products or services, either voluntarily or at the direction of a regulatory authority, or the discovery of serious safety issues with our products or services, could have a significant adverse impact on us.
Regulatory authorities can require the recall of commercialized products or services that are subject to its regulation. Manufacturers may, under their own initiative, recall a product or service if any deficiency is found. For reportable corrections and removals, companies are required to make additional periodic submissions to the regulatory authorities after initiating the recall, and often engage with the regulatory authorities on their recall strategy prior to initiating the recall. A government-mandated or voluntary recall by us or one of our distributors could occur as a result of an unacceptable health risk, component failures, failures in laboratory processes, malfunctions, manufacturing errors, design or labeling defects, or other deficiencies and issues. Recalls of any of our commercialized products or services would divert managerial and financial resources and adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and reputation. We may also be subject to liability claims, be required to bear other costs or take other actions that may negatively impact our future sales and our ability to generate profits. Companies are also required to maintain certain records of corrections and removals, even if these do not require reporting to the regulatory authorities. We may initiate voluntary recalls involving our commercialized products or services, including kits offered as part of “bundle” solutions. A recall announcement by us could harm our reputation with customers and negatively affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, the FDA or another agency could take enforcement action for failing to report the recalls when they were conducted.
If we initiate a recall, including a correction or removal, for one of our commercialized products or services, issue a safety alert, or undertake a field action or recall to reduce a health risk, this could lead to increased scrutiny by the FDA, other governmental and regulatory enforcement bodies, and our customers regarding the quality and safety of our products and services, and to negative publicity, including FDA alerts, press releases, or administrative or judicial actions. Furthermore, the submission of these reports could be used against us by competitors and cause customers to delay purchase decisions or cancel orders, which would harm our reputation.
We are subject to stringent privacy and, information security laws and regulations and changes in such laws and regulations could adversely affect our business and increase our costs.
We are subject to numerous state, federal and foreign laws and regulations that govern the collection, transmission, storage, dissemination, use, privacy, confidentiality, security, availability, integrity and processing
of individually identifiable information. The legislative and regulatory landscape for privacy and data protection continues to evolve in jurisdictions worldwide, and there has been an increasing focus on privacy and data protection issues with the potential to affect our business. Failure to comply with any of these laws and regulations could result in enforcement actions against us, including fines, imprisonment of company officials, public censure, claims for damages by affected individuals, damage to our reputation and loss of goodwill, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business.
There is ongoing concern from privacy advocates, regulators and others regarding data privacy and security issues, and the number of jurisdictions with data privacy and security laws has been increasing. Also, there are ongoing public policy debates regarding whether the standards for de-identification, anonymization or pseudonymization of health information are sufficient, and whether the risk of re-identification is sufficiently small, to adequately protect patient privacy. In particular, there are numerous U.S. federal and state laws and regulations related to the privacy and security of personal information. These laws and regulations include HIPAA, which establishes a set of national privacy and security standards for the protection of protected health information (“PHI”) by health plans, healthcare clearinghouses and certain healthcare providers, referred to as covered entities, and the business associates with whom such covered entities contract for services as well as their covered subcontractors. HIPAA requires covered entities and business associates to develop and maintain policies and procedures with respect to PHI that is used or disclosed, including the adoption of administrative, physical and technical safeguards to protect such information and ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of electronic PHI. For instance, we offer private cloud-based software to help medical personnel and laboratories more efficiently use our applications and products. The software maintains security safeguards that are designed to be consistent with HIPAA, but we cannot guarantee that these safeguards will not fail or that they will not be deemed inadequate in the future. In addition, we could be subject to periodic audits for compliance with the HIPAA Privacy and Security Standards by the HHS and our customers. HIPAA also implemented the use of standard transaction code sets and standard identifiers that covered entities must use when submitting or receiving certain electronic healthcare transactions, including activities associated with the billing and collection of healthcare claims. Furthermore, in the event of a breach as defined by HIPAA, the covered entity has specific reporting requirements under HIPAA. In the event of a significant breach, the reporting requirements could include notification to the general public. Enforcement activity can result in reputational harm, and responses to such enforcement activity can consume significant internal resources. Additionally, if we are unable to properly protect the privacy and security of PHI, we could be found to have breached our contracts. Determining whether PHI has been handled in compliance with applicable privacy standards and our contractual obligations can be complex, and we cannot be sure how these regulations will be interpreted, enforced or applied to our operations.
In addition, many states in which we operate have laws that protect the privacy and security of sensitive and personal information. Certain state laws, such as those of California and other states that have adopted versions of the Consumer Data Privacy Act, are more stringent or broader in scope, or offer greater rights to individuals, with respect to sensitive and personal information than federal, international or other state laws, and such laws may differ from each other, which may complicate compliance efforts. In addition, new legislation or constitutional amendments proposed or enacted in various states impose, or have the potential to impose, additional obligations on companies that collect, store, use, retain, disclose, transfer and otherwise process confidential, sensitive and personal information, and will continue to shape the data privacy environment nationally. State laws are changing rapidly and there is discussion in the U.S. Congress of a new federal data protection and privacy law to which we would become subject if it is enacted. All of these evolving compliance and operational requirements impose significant costs that are likely to increase over time, and may require us to modify our data processing practices and policies, divert resources from other initiatives and projects, and could restrict the way products and services involving data are offered, all of which may have a material and adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Outside of the United States, laws, regulations and standards in many jurisdictions, including data localization and storage requirements, apply broadly to the collection, use, retention, security, disclosure, transfer and other processing of personal information, which impose significant compliance obligations. For example, in the EU and the European Economic Area (the “EEA”), the collection, use and other processing of personal data, is governed by the GDPR, which became effective in May 2018. The GDPR imposed high data privacy and security standards and requirements on companies in relation to the processing of personal data in the EU and/or of EU data subjects, including, for example, requirements to establish a legal basis for processing, higher standards for obtaining consent from individuals to process their personal data, including sensitive data such as health or genomic information, more robust disclosures to individuals and a strengthened individual data rights
regime, requirements to implement safeguards to protect the security and confidentiality of personal data that requires the adoption of administrative, physical and technical safeguards, shortened timelines for data breach notifications to appropriate data protection authorities or data subjects, limitations on retention and secondary use of information, increased requirements pertaining to health data and additional obligations when we contract third-party processors in connection with the processing of the personal data. EU and EEA member states are tasked under the GDPR to enact, and have enacted, certain implementing legislation that adds to and/or further interprets the GDPR requirements and potentially extends our obligations and potential liability for failing to meet such obligations. The GDPR, together with national legislation, regulations and guidelines of the EU and EEA member states governing the processing of personal data, impose strict obligations and restrictions on the ability to collect, use, retain, protect, disclose, transfer and otherwise process personal data. In particular, the 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 EEA, security breach notifications and the security and confidentiality of personal data. The GDPR authorizes fines for certain violations of up to 4% of global annual revenue or €20 million, whichever is greater, and other administrative penalties.
Further, the exit of the UK from the EU, often referred to as Brexit, has resulted in the UK transposing the GDPR into domestic law, with its version of the GDPR having taken effect on January 1, 2021.
On June 28, 2021, the EU issued an adequacy decision to the UK under the GDPR, resulting in the UK qualifying as a country that is deemed to have an ‘essentially equivalent’ level of data protection to the EU. Based on such decision, data transferred from the EU to the UK remains unaffected, however should the UK lose its adequacy status, it may lead to increased costs in our business in order to set up procedures to remain GDPR compliant for UK activities.
In Switzerland, the collection and processing of personal data is governed by the Swiss Federal Act on Data Protection (the “FADP”). The revised FADP is expected to enter into force in September 2023. The FADP provides for data protection principles that are substantially similar to those applied under the GDPR, and the FADP also applies to collection and processing of personal data outside of Switzerland. For more information on the FADP, see “Item 4. Information the Company—B. Business Overview—Government Regulation—Data Privacy and Security—General Data Protection Regulation and Other Foreign Laws and Regulations.”
Although there are legal mechanisms to allow for the transfer of personal data from the EEA, Switzerland and the UK to the United States, uncertainty remains about such mechanisms. For example, legal challenges in the EU and EEA to the mechanisms that allow companies to transfer personal data from the EU and EEA to the United States could result in further limitations on the ability to transfer personal data across borders, particularly if governments are unable or unwilling to reach new or maintain existing agreements that support cross-border data transfers. Specifically, on July 16, 2020, in a case known as Schrems II, the Court of Justice of the European Union, invalidated the European Commission’s Decision 2016/1250 on the adequacy of the protection provided by the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework (Privacy Sheild 1.0). Although we rely on the primary alternatives to the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, namely, the European Commission’s Standard Contractual Clauses, for cross-border data transfers from the EU to the United States and other jurisdictions, Schrems II also raised questions about whether the Standard Contractual Clauses can lawfully be used for such data transfers. Use of the Standard Contractual Clauses must now be assessed on a case-by-case basis taking into account the legal regime applicable in the destination country, in particular regarding applicable surveillance laws and relevant rights of individuals with respect to the transferred data. On October 7, 2022, the President of the United States signed an Executive Order to implement the EU & United States Data Privacy Framework, known as Privacy Shield 2.0. The effect of this is to provide a similar transfer mechanism to the now-defunct Privacy Shield 1.0. On December 13, 2022, the European Commission echoed the US’s sentiments by publishing a draft adequacy decision for the Privacy Shield 2.0. Although this new adequacy decision may ease the EU-US data transfer process, uncertainty remains as to whether Privacy Shield 2.0 will face similar legal challenges raised under Privacy Shield 1.0.
Inability to transfer personal data from the EU, EEA, Switzerland or the UK to the United States may restrict our research and development activities in these territories and limit our ability to offer applications, products, and services we may develop. Similar restrictions of cross-border data transfer apply to Switzerland, where the Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner (the “FDPIC”) considers that the Privacy Shield 1.0 did not provide an adequate level of data protection and may provide similar legal opinion on the Privacy Shield 2.0.
We expect that there will continue to be new proposed international laws and regulations concerning data privacy and security, particularly laws and regulations issued by the EU. Whilst we are making preparations for such laws and regulations, we cannot yet determine the impact such future laws, regulations and standards may have on our business. New laws, amendments to or reinterpretations of existing laws, regulations, standards and other obligations may require us to incur additional costs and restrict our business operations. In February 2020, the European Commission communicated its ‘European Strategy for Data’, with the aim of establishing several legislative instruments that provide further data processing requirements on companies, and additional data protection and privacy rights to EU citizens. The legislative instruments that could directly impact our business include the Artificial Intelligence Act regulation (AI Act), the Data Act regulation (Data Act) and the European Health Data Space regulation (EHDS).
The AI Act introduces a regulatory framework for artificial intelligence (AI), to ensure that AI systems within the EU are safe and comply with existing laws on fundamental rights, norms and values. Non-compliance with the AI Act can lead to fines of up to 30 Million Euros or 6% global turnover. As of now it is unclear whether such fines apply separately or in parallel to the GDPR. The Data Act proposes new rules on consumers and businesses using and accessing data generated in the EU through the usage of connected devices, such as the Internet of Things products (IoT), and their related services. The EHDS sets out to create a common and interoperable environment (by way of an online platform) that allows the handling and using of electronic health records by individuals, companies and public bodies.
Because the interpretation and application of health-related and data protection laws, regulations, standards and other obligations are still uncertain, and often contradictory and in flux, it is possible that the scope and requirements of these laws may be interpreted and applied in a manner that is inconsistent with our practices and our efforts to comply with the evolving data protection rules may be unsuccessful. If so, this could result in government-imposed fines or orders requiring that we change our practices, which could adversely affect our business. In addition, these privacy regulations may differ from country to country, and may vary based on whether testing is performed in the United States or in the local country, and our operations or business practices may not comply with these regulations in each country.
In addition to the possibility of fines, sanctions, lawsuits, regulatory investigations, public censure, other claims and penalties, and significant costs for remediation and damage to our reputation, we could be materially and adversely affected if legislation or regulations are expanded to require changes in our data processing practices and policies or if governing jurisdictions interpret or implement their legislation or regulations in ways that negatively impact our business. Complying with these various laws could cause us to incur substantial costs or require us to change our business practices and compliance procedures in a manner adverse to our business. Any inability to adequately address data privacy or security-related concerns, even if unfounded, or to comply with applicable laws, regulations, standards and other obligations relating to data privacy and security, could result in additional cost and liability to us, harm our reputation and brand, damage our relationships with customers and have a material and adverse impact on our business.
Any failure to comply with our privacy policies or contractual or statutory notification obligations could result in significant liability or reputational harm.
damage our reputation and materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Many statutory requirements, both in the United States and abroad, include obligations for companies to notify individuals of security breaches involving certain personal information, which could result from breaches experienced by us or our third-party service providers. For example, the GDPR requires from companies experiencing a personal data breach to report the breach within 72 hours to the supervisory authority and where necessary to the individuals affected by the breach. Also, laws in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia require businesses to provide notice to consumers whose personal information has been disclosed as a result of a data breach. These laws are not consistent, and compliance in the event of a widespread data breach is difficult and may be costly. Moreover, jurisdictions have been frequently amending existing laws, requiring attention to changing regulatory requirements. We also may be contractually required to notify customers or other counterparties of a security breach. Although we may have contractual protections with our third-party service providers, contractors and consultants, any actual or perceived security breach could harm our reputation and brand, expose us to potential liability or require us to expend significant resources on data security and in responding to any such actual or perceived breach. Any contractual protections we may have from our third-party service providers, contractors or consultants may not be sufficient to adequately protect us from any such liabilities and losses, and we may be unable to enforce any such contractual protections.
Our operations may subject us to various healthcare laws and regulations and could face substantial penalties if we are unable to fully comply with such laws.
Our operations may subject us to health care regulation and enforcement by both the federal government and the states and foreign jurisdictions in which we conduct our business. Various federal and state laws, as well as the laws of foreign countries, prohibit payments to induce the referral, purchase, order or use of healthcare applications, products, or services and require medical device companies to limit, prevent, and/or monitor and report certain payments to third-party payors, healthcare professionals and other individuals. These healthcare fraud and abuse anti-kickback, public reporting and aggregate spend laws affect our sales, marketing and other promotional activities by limiting the kinds of financial arrangements, including sales programs, we may have with providers, hospitals, medical personnel or other potential purchasers or users, including patients, of medical devices and services. They also impose additional administrative and compliance burdens on us. In particular, these laws influence, among other things, how we structure our sales offerings, including discount practices, customer support, education and training programs, and physician consulting and other service arrangements. These laws prohibit certain marketing initiatives that are commonplace in other industries. If we were to offer or pay inappropriate inducements for the purchase, order or use of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services or our services, or our arrangements are perceived as inappropriate inducements, we could be subject to claims under various healthcare fraud and abuse laws. Restrictions under applicable U.S. federal and state healthcare laws and regulations include the following:
•the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (the “AKS”), which prohibits, among other things, persons or entities from soliciting, receiving, offering or providing remuneration, directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind, in return for, or to induce, either the referral of an individual for, or the purchase, lease, order or recommendation of, any good, facility, item or services for which payment may be made under a federal healthcare program such as the Medicare and Medicaid programs;
•the federal physician self-referral prohibition, commonly known as the Stark Law, which prohibits physicians from referring Medicare or Medicaid patients to providers of “designated health services” with whom the physician or a member of the physician’s immediate family has an ownership interest or compensation arrangements, unless a statutory or regulatory exception applies;
•the federal Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act of 2018 (the “EKRA”) prohibits payments for referrals to recovery homes, clinical treatment facilities, and laboratories. EKRA’s reach extends beyond federal health care programs to include private insurance (i.e., it is an “all payor” statute). The full scope of such law is uncertain and is subject to a variety of interpretations;
•HIPAA, which established additional federal civil and criminal liability for, among other things, knowingly and willfully executing a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program or
making false statements in connection with the delivery of or payment for healthcare benefits, items or services;
•HIPAA, as amended by HITECH and its implementing regulations, which imposes certain requirements relating to the privacy, security and transmission of individually identifiable health information;
•federal false claims and civil monetary penalties laws, which prohibit, among other things, individuals or entities from knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, false or fraudulent claims for payment to the federal government;
•the federal Physician Payments Sunshine Act requirements under the ACA, which require certain manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologics and medical supplies to report to CMS information related to payments and other transfers of value made to or at the request of physicians (defined to include doctors, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists and chiropractors) and teaching hospitals, and certain ownership and investment interests held by physicians and their immediate family members. Beginning in 2022, applicable manufacturers also will be required to report such information regarding its payments and other transfers of value to physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, anesthesiologist assistants, certified registered nurse anesthetists and certified nurse midwives during the previous year; and
•state law equivalents of each of the above federal laws, such as anti-kickback and false claims laws, which may apply to items or services reimbursed by any third-party payor, including commercial insurers.
Further, the ACA, among other things, amended the intent requirement of the federal AKS and certain criminal healthcare fraud statutes. Where the intent requirement has been lowered, a person or entity no longer needs to have actual knowledge of this statute or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation. In addition, the government may now assert that a claim including items or services resulting from a violation of the federal AKS constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the false claims statutes. Moreover, these laws may change significantly and adversely in the future.
Any action brought against us for violation of these laws or regulations, even if we successfully defend against it, could cause us to incur significant legal expenses and divert our management’s attention from the operation of our business. If our operations are found to be in violation of any of these laws and regulations, we may be subject to any applicable penalty associated with the violation, including, among others, significant administrative, civil and criminal penalties, damages, fines, disgorgement, imprisonment, integrity oversight and reporting obligations, and exclusion from participation in government-funded healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. Additionally, we could be required to refund payments received by us, and we could be required to curtail or cease our operations. Any of the foregoing consequences could seriously harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our employees, collaborators, distributors, agents, contractors and collaborators may engage in misconduct or other improper activities, including noncompliance with regulatory standards and requirements.
We cannot ensure that our compliance controls, policies and procedures will in every instance protect us from acts committed by our employees, collaborators, distributors, agents, contractors or collaborators that would violate the laws or regulations of the jurisdictions in which we operate, including, without limitation, healthcare, employment, anti-corruption, environmental, competition, and patient privacy and other privacy laws and regulations. Misconduct by these parties could include intentional failures to comply with FDA, EMA, MHRA or other applicable regulations, including, without limitation, regulations governing the marketing, sale, labeling and use of RUO and IVD applications and products, provide accurate information to the FDA, the EMA, the MHRA and comparable regulatory authorities, comply with healthcare fraud and abuse laws and regulations in the United States and abroad, report financial information or data accurately or disclose unauthorized activities to us. Such improper actions could subject us to civil, criminal and regulatory investigations, monetary and injunctive penalties, regulatory enforcement actions, fines and penalties, including regulatory prohibitions on offering our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services in one or more
countries or markets, and could adversely impact our ability to conduct business, operating results and reputation.
In addition, we are subject to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the “FCPA”) and similar anti-bribery or anti-corruption laws, regulations or rules of other countries in which we operate, including the UK Bribery Act 2010 and the French Law n° 2016-1691 (Sapin II). The FCPA generally prohibits offering, promising, giving, or authorizing others to give anything of value, either directly or indirectly, to a non-U.S. government official in order to influence official action, or otherwise obtain or retain business. The FCPA also requires public companies to make and keep books and records that accurately and fairly reflect the transactions of the corporation and to devise and maintain an adequate system of internal accounting controls. Our business is heavily regulated and therefore involves significant interaction with public officials, including officials of non-U.S. governments, government purchasers and healthcare providers who are employed by governments. There is no certainty that all of our employees, collaborators, distributors, agents, contractors and collaborators, or those of our affiliates, will comply with all applicable laws and regulations, particularly given the high level of complexity of these laws. We have provisions in our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics (the “Code of Ethics”), an anti-corruption policy, certain provisions in some of our agreements with third parties, including our collaborators and distributors, and certain controls and procedures in place that are designed to mitigate the risk of noncompliance with anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws. However, it is not always possible to identify and deter misconduct by employees and agents, and the 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 government investigations or other actions stemming from a failure to comply with these laws or regulations. Violations of these laws and regulations could result in, among other things, significant administrative, civil and criminal fines and sanctions against us, our officers, or our employees, the closing down of our facilities, exclusion from participation in federal healthcare programs, implementation of compliance programs, integrity oversight and reporting obligations and prohibitions on the conduct of our business. Any such violations could include prohibitions on our ability to offer our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services in one or more countries and could materially damage our reputation, our brand, our international expansion efforts, our ability to attract and retain employees, and our business, prospects, operating results and financial condition.
We face risks related to handling of hazardous materials and other regulations governing environmental safety.
Our activities currently require and may in the future continue to require the use of hazardous chemicals and biohazardous waste, including chemical, biological agents and compounds, blood and bone marrow samples, and other human tissue. We cannot eliminate the risk of accidental contamination or injury to employees or third parties from the use, storage, handling or disposal of these materials. In the event of contamination or injury, we could be held liable for any resulting damages, and any liability could exceed our resources or any applicable insurance coverage we may have. Additionally, we are subject on an ongoing basis to laws and regulations governing the use, storage, handling and disposal of these materials and specified waste services that both public officials and private individuals may seek to enforce. We could discover that we, an acquired business or our suppliers are not in material compliance with these regulations. The cost of compliance with these laws and regulations may become significant and could negatively affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. We do not carry specific biological waste or hazardous waste insurance coverage, workers’ compensation or property and casualty and general liability insurance policies that include coverage for damages and fines arising from biological or hazardous waste exposure or contamination.
If a clinical trial subject’s or a clinical research study participant’s informed consent is challenged or proven invalid, unlawful, or otherwise inadequate for our purposes, our application and product development efforts may be hindered and we could become involved in legal challenges.
We seek to ensure that all data and biological samples that we receive from our collaborators and customers have been collected from subjects or participants who have provided appropriate informed consent for purposes that extend to our development activities. We also strive to make sure such data and samples are provided to us in a subject de-identified manner. Our collaborators currently conduct clinical trials and clinical research studies in a number of different countries. The collection of data and samples in many different countries results in complex legal questions regarding the adequacy of informed consent and the status of genomic material under a large number of different legal systems. Therefore, we rely on our collaborators and customers to comply with the informed consent requirements and with applicable local law and international regulation. The
subject’s or participant’s informed consent obtained in any particular country could be challenged in the future, and those could prove invalid, unlawful or otherwise inadequate for our purposes. Any findings against us, or our collaborators and customers, could deny us access to or force us to stop using some of our data and clinical samples, which would hinder our application and product development efforts, potentially involve us in costly and prolonged litigation, result in reputational harm and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
If we or our suppliers fail to comply with ongoing FDA or comparable regulatory authority requirements, or if we experience unanticipated problems with our research and diagnostic, they could be subject to restrictions or withdrawal from the market.
Any medical device that we manufacture, including those for which we obtain regulatory clearance or approval, and the manufacturing processes, reporting requirements, post-approval clinical data and promotional activities for such diagnostic test, will be subject to continued regulatory review, oversight and periodic inspections by the FDA and comparable regulatory authorities. In particular, we and our suppliers may be required to comply with the FDA’s QSR for medical devices, the International Standards Organization (“ISO”) 13485 standards for the manufacture of our diagnostic products and other regulations that cover the methods and documentation of the design, testing, production, control, quality assurance, labeling, packaging, storage and shipping of any diagnostic test for which we obtain clearance or approval. Regulatory authorities enforce the QSR and other regulations through periodic inspections. The failure by us or one of our suppliers to comply with applicable statutes and regulations administered by the FDA and comparable regulatory authorities, or the failure to timely and adequately respond to any adverse inspection observations or product safety issues, could result in, among other things, one or more of the following enforcement actions:
•untitled letters, warning letters, fines, injunctions, consent decrees and civil penalties;
•unanticipated expenditures to address or defend such actions;
•customer notifications for repair, replacement or refunds;
•recall, detention or seizure of our diagnostics products;
•operating restrictions or partial suspension or total shutdown of production;
•refusing or delaying our requests for 510(k) clearance or PMA of new diagnostics products or modified versions of such products currently manufactured;
•withdrawing 510(k) clearances on PMA approvals that have already been granted; and
In addition, we are required to conduct surveillance to monitor the safety or effectiveness of our research and diagnostic products, and we must comply with medical device reporting requirements, including the reporting of adverse events and malfunctions related to our research and diagnostic products. Later discovery of previously unknown problems with our diagnostic products, including unanticipated adverse events or adverse events of unanticipated severity or frequency, manufacturing problems, or failure to comply with regulatory requirements such as QSR, may result in changes to labeling restrictions on such products or manufacturing processes, withdrawal of the research and diagnostic products from the market, voluntary or mandatory recalls, a requirement to repair, replace or refund the cost of any medical device we manufacture or distribute, fines, suspension of regulatory approvals, product seizures, injunctions or the imposition of civil or criminal penalties, which would adversely affect our business, operating results and prospects.
Risks Related to Intellectual Property
If we are not able to obtain, maintain, defend and enforce patent and other intellectual property protection or if the scope of such patent and other intellectual property protection is not sufficiently
broad, our competitors could develop and commercialize applications, products, services, and technology similar or identical to ours.
Our success depends in part on our ability to obtain, maintain, defend, and enforce patents and other forms of intellectual property rights, including in-licenses of intellectual property rights of others, as well as our ability to preserve our trade secrets and to prevent third parties from infringing, misappropriating or otherwise violating our intellectual property and proprietary rights. Our ability to protect our applications, products, or services from unauthorized use by third parties depends on the extent to which valid and enforceable patents cover them or they are effectively protected as trade secrets. Although we have filed a number of patents, our patent portfolio is in an earlier stage of prosecution, and we own a limited number of issued patents related to our applications, products, and technology. For information regarding our patent portfolio, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Intellectual Property.”
The patent position of biotechnology and information technology companies generally is highly uncertain, involves complex legal and factual questions, and has been the subject of much litigation in recent years. As a result, the issuance, scope, validity, enforceability, and commercial value of our patent rights are highly uncertain. There can be no assurance that our patent rights will not be invalidated or held to be unenforceable, will adequately protect our technology, applications, products, or services or provide any competitive advantage, or that any of our pending or future patent applications will issue as valid and enforceable patents. Our ability to obtain and maintain patent protection for our methods and related solutions, applications, products, or services is uncertain due to a number of factors, including that:
•we or our licensors may not have been the first to invent the technology covered by our pending patent applications or issued patents;
•we or our licensors may not be the first to file all patent applications, as patent applications in the United States and most other countries are confidential for a period of time after filing;
•our methods and related solutions, applications, and products may not be patentable;
•our disclosures in patent applications may not be sufficient to meet the statutory requirements for patentability;
•any or all of our pending patent applications may not result in issued patents;
•others may independently develop identical, similar or alternative technologies;
•others may design around our patent claims to produce competitive technologies, methods, applications, or products that fall outside of the scope of our patents;
•we may fail to identify patentable aspects of our research and development output before it is too late to obtain patent protection;
•we may not seek or obtain patent protection in countries that may eventually provide us a significant business opportunity;
•any patents issued to us may not provide a basis for commercially viable methods, applications, or products, may not provide any competitive advantages or may be successfully challenged by third parties;
•a third party may challenge our patents in court and, upon such a challenge, a court may not hold that our patents are valid, enforceable and non-infringing;
•a third party may challenge our patents in various patent offices and, if challenged, we may be compelled to limit the scope of our pending, allowed or granted claims or lose some or all of the pending, allowed or granted claims altogether;
•the patents of others could harm our business; and
•our competitors could conduct research and development activities in countries where we will not have enforceable patent rights and then use the information learned from such activities to
develop competitive methods, applications, or products for sale in our major commercial markets.
While we will endeavor to protect our technology with intellectual property rights such as patents, as appropriate, the process of obtaining patents is time-consuming, expensive and sometimes unpredictable, and we may not be able to file, prosecute, maintain, enforce, or license all necessary or desirable patent applications at a reasonable cost or in a timely manner. Although we enter into non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements with parties who have access to confidential or patentable aspects of our research and development output, such as our employees, corporate collaborators, outside scientific collaborators, contract research organizations or manufacturers, consultants, advisors and other third parties, any of these parties may breach the agreements and disclose such output before a patent application is filed, thereby jeopardizing our ability to seek patent protection. Furthermore, we cannot guarantee that any patents will be issued from any of our pending or future patent applications. The standards applied by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“the USPTO”) and foreign patent offices in granting patents are not always applied uniformly or predictably. For example, there is no uniform worldwide policy regarding patentable subject matter or the scope of claims allowable in biotechnology or information technology patents. Moreover, the coverage claimed in a patent application can be significantly reduced before the patent is issued, and its scope can be reinterpreted after issuance. As such, we do not know the degree of future protection that we will have on our proprietary applications, products, services, and technology. Thus, even if our patent applications issue as patents, they may not issue in a form that will provide us with meaningful protection, prevent competitors from competing with us or otherwise provide us with any competitive advantage.
Even if we have or obtain patents, we may still be barred from making, using, and selling such methods, applications, products, or services because of the patent rights of others. Others may have filed, and in the future may file, patent applications covering compositions, software applications, products, or methods that are similar or identical to ours, which could materially affect our ability to successfully develop our technology or to successfully commercialize any approved assays alone or with collaborators. Patent applications in the United States and elsewhere are generally published approximately 18 months after the earliest filing for which priority is claimed, with such earliest filing date being commonly referred to as the priority date. Therefore, patent applications could have been filed by others without our knowledge. Additionally, pending claims in patent applications which have been published can, subject to certain limitations, be later amended in a manner that could cover our platform technologies or related solutions, applications, products, and services. These patent applications may have priority over patent applications filed by us.
The issuance of a patent is not conclusive as to its inventorship, scope, validity or enforceability, and our owned and licensed patents may be challenged in the courts or patent offices in the United States and abroad. We may be subject to third party pre-issuance submissions of prior art to the USPTO, or become involved in opposition, derivation, revocation, reexamination, post-grant and inter partes review, or interference proceedings challenging our patent rights. An adverse determination in any such submission, proceeding or litigation could reduce the scope of, or invalidate, our patent rights, allow third parties to commercialize our applications, products, services and technology and compete directly with us, without payment to us, or result in our inability to manufacture or commercialize applications, products, or provide services without infringing third-party patent rights. Moreover, we, or our licensors, may have to participate in interference proceedings declared by the USPTO to determine priority of invention or in post-grant challenge proceedings, such as oppositions in a foreign patent office, that challenge priority of invention or other features of patentability. Such challenges may result in loss of patent rights, loss of exclusivity or freedom to operate or in patent claims being narrowed, invalidated or held unenforceable, in whole or in part, which could limit our ability to stop others from using or commercializing similar or identical applications, products, services, and technology, or limit the duration of the patent protection of our applications, products, services, and technology. Such proceedings also may result in substantial cost and require significant time from our employees and management, even if the eventual outcome is favorable to us. In addition, if the breadth or strength of protection provided by the patents and patent applications we own or in-license is threatened, it could dissuade companies from collaborating with us to license, develop or commercialize current or future technology.
In addition, third parties may be able to develop technology that is similar to, or better than, ours in a way that is not covered by the claims of our patents or may have blocking patents that could prevent us from marketing our applications and products or practicing our own patented technology. Moreover, patents have a limited lifespan. In the United States, the natural expiration of a patent is generally 20 years after it is filed and the life of a patent, and the protection it affords, is limited. Without patent protection for current or future methods and
related solutions, applications, products, and services, we may face competing technology. Given the amount of time required for the development and testing, and regulatory review where necessary, patents protecting such technology might expire before or shortly after such technology is commercialized. At the same time, given the rapid pace of technological advancement and innovation in the information technology field, the time needed to obtain patents for novel information technology solutions often renders the protection, once obtained, ineffective if the protected solution has become obsolete or widely-adopted while the patent protection was pending. As a result, our patent portfolio may not provide us with sufficient rights to exclude others from commercializing technology similar or identical to that we or our collaborators may develop.
Moreover, certain of our patents and patent applications may in the future be, co-owned with third parties. If we are unable to obtain an exclusive license to any such third party co-owners’ interest in such patents or patent applications, such co-owners may be able to use or license their rights to other third parties, including our competitors, and our competitors could market competing applications, products, and technology. In addition, we may need the cooperation of any such co-owners of our patents in order to enforce such patents against third parties, and such cooperation may not be provided to us. Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial conditions, results of operations, and prospects.
We may in the future be involved in lawsuits to defend or enforce our patents and proprietary rights. Such disputes could result in substantial costs or loss of productivity, delay or prevent the development and commercialization of our technology, applications, products, and services, prohibit our use of proprietary technology or put our patents and other proprietary rights at risk.
Competitors and other third parties may infringe, misappropriate or otherwise violate our patents and intellectual property rights or the patents and intellectual property rights of our licensors. The enforcement of such claims can be expensive and time-consuming. In an infringement proceeding, a court may decide that a patent owned or in-licensed by us is invalid or unenforceable or may refuse to stop the other party from using the technology at issue on the grounds that our owned and in-licensed patents do not cover the technology in question. An adverse result in any litigation proceeding could put one or more of our owned or in-licensed patents at risk of being invalidated or interpreted narrowly. In addition, our ability to enforce our patents or other intellectual property rights depends on our ability to detect infringement. It may be difficult to detect those who infringe on our intellectual property rights who do not advertise the components or methods that are used in connection with their applications, products, and services. Moreover, it may be difficult or impossible to obtain evidence of infringement in a competitor’s or potential competitor’s application, product, or service.
If we were to initiate legal proceedings against any other third party to enforce a patent covering our technology, the defendant could assert that our patent is invalid or unenforceable. In patent litigation in the United States and Europe, defendants alleging invalidity or unenforceability are common responses to a claim of infringement. Grounds for a validity challenge could be an alleged failure to meet any of several statutory requirements, for example, lack of novelty, obviousness, overbreadth or lack of utility. Third parties might allege unenforceability of our patents because during prosecution of the patent, an individual connected with such prosecution withheld relevant information or made a misleading statement. Third parties may also raise challenges to the validity of our patent claims before administrative bodies in the United States or abroad, even outside the context of litigation. Such mechanisms include re-examination, post-grant review, inter partes review, interference proceedings, derivation proceedings, and equivalent proceedings in foreign jurisdictions (e.g., opposition proceedings). Such proceedings could result in the revocation of, cancellation of, or amendment to, our patents in such a way that they no longer cover our technology, applications, or products. The outcome of proceedings involving assertions of invalidity and unenforceability, including during patent litigation, is unpredictable. With respect to the validity of patents, for example, we cannot be certain that there is no invalidating prior art of which we and the patent examiner were unaware during prosecution, but that an adverse third party may identify and submit in support of such assertions of invalidity. 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 our technology. Such a loss of patent protection could have a material adverse effect on our business. Our patents and other intellectual property rights also will not protect our technology if competitors design around our protected technology without infringing our patents or other intellectual property rights.
Even if resolved in our favor, litigation or other legal proceedings relating to intellectual property claims may cause us to incur significant expenses and could distract our personnel from their normal responsibilities. There can be no assurance that we will have sufficient financial or other resources to file and pursue infringement claims, which typically last for years before they are concluded. We may or may not choose to pursue litigation
or other actions against those who have infringed on our patents, or have used them without authorization, due to the associated expense and time commitment of monitoring these activities. In addition, because of the substantial amount of discovery required in connection with intellectual property litigation, there is a risk that our confidential information could be compromised by disclosure during this type of litigation. There could also be public announcements of the results of hearings, motions, or other interim proceedings or developments, and if securities analysts or investors perceive these results to be negative, it could have a material adverse effect on the price of our ordinary shares. Such litigation or proceedings could substantially increase our operating losses and reduce the resources available for development activities or any future sales, marketing or commercialization activities. We may not have sufficient financial or other resources to conduct such litigation or proceedings adequately. Uncertainties resulting from patent and other intellectual property litigation or other proceedings could have a material adverse effect on our ability to compete in the marketplace, our ability to raise additional funds, and could otherwise have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
We may in the future be subject to claims against us alleging that we are infringing, misappropriating or otherwise violating the intellectual property rights of third parties, the outcome of which would be uncertain and could have a material adverse effect on our business.
Our commercial success depends in part upon our ability to develop, manufacture, market, and sell our applications, products, and services and use our proprietary technology without infringing, misappropriating or otherwise violating the patents or other intellectual property or proprietary rights of third parties. Litigation relating to infringement, misappropriation or other violations of patents and other intellectual property rights in the biotechnology industry is common, including patent infringement lawsuits, trade secret lawsuits, interferences, oppositions, and inter partes review, post-grant review and re-examination proceedings before the USPTO, and corresponding international patent offices.
In the future, we may be subject to third-party claims and similar adversarial proceedings or litigation regarding our infringement, misappropriation, or any other violation of a third party’s patent or other intellectual property rights. If any such claim or proceeding is brought against us, our collaborators or our third-party service providers, our development, manufacturing, marketing, sales, and other commercialization activities could be similarly adversely affected. Even if we believe third-party intellectual property claims are without merit, there is no assurance that a court would find in our favor on questions of infringement, validity, enforceability or priority. A court of competent jurisdiction could hold that third-party patents asserted against us are valid, enforceable, and infringed, which could materially and adversely affect our ability to develop, manufacture, market, sell and commercialize any of our applications, products, or services. In order to successfully challenge the validity of any such U.S. patent in federal court, we would need to overcome a presumption of validity. As this burden is a high one requiring us to present clear and convincing evidence as to the invalidity of any such U.S. patent claim, there is no assurance that a court of competent jurisdiction would invalidate the claims of any such U.S. patent. If we are found to infringe any third party’s patents or other intellectual property rights, and we are unsuccessful in demonstrating that such patents or other intellectual property are invalid or unenforceable, we could be required to obtain a license from such third party to continue developing, manufacturing, marketing, selling, and commercializing our applications, products, and services. However, we may not be able to obtain any required license on commercially reasonable terms or at all. Even if we were able to obtain a license, it could be non-exclusive, which would give our competitors and other third parties access to the same technologies licensed to us, and it could require us to make substantial licensing, royalty, and other payments. We also could be forced, including by court order, to cease developing, manufacturing, marketing, selling, and commercializing the infringing application, product, or technology. In addition, we could be found liable for significant monetary damages, including treble damages and attorneys’ fees, if we are found to have willfully infringed a patent or other intellectual property right. Claims that we have misappropriated the confidential information or trade secrets of third parties could have a similar material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
The various markets in which we plan to operate are subject to frequent and extensive litigation regarding patents and other intellectual property rights. It is possible that one or more organizations will hold patent rights to which we will need a license. If those organizations refuse to grant us a license to such patent rights on reasonable terms, we may be unable to develop, manufacture, market, sell, and commercialize applications, products, or services or perform research and development or other activities covered by these patents. Some claimants may have substantially greater resources than we do and may be able to sustain the costs of complex intellectual property litigation to a greater degree and for longer periods of time than we could. In addition, many
companies in intellectual property-dependent industries, including the biotechnology industry, have employed intellectual property litigation as a means to gain an advantage over their competitors. Furthermore, patent holding companies that focus solely on extracting royalties and settlements by enforcing patent rights may target us. As the biotechnology industry expands and more patents are issued, and as we gain greater visibility and market exposure as a public company, the risk increases that our applications, products, services, and technology may be subject to intellectual property-related claims by third parties.
Even if resolved in our favor, litigation or other legal proceedings relating to intellectual property claims may cause us to incur significant expenses and could distract our personnel from their normal responsibilities. In addition, intellectual property litigation, regardless of its outcome, may cause negative publicity, adversely impact prospective customers, cause product shipment delays or prohibit us from manufacturing, marketing, selling or otherwise commercializing our applications, products, services, and technology. Furthermore, because of the substantial amount of discovery required in connection with intellectual property litigation, there is a risk that our confidential information could be compromised by disclosure during this type of litigation. There could also be public announcements of the results of hearings, motions, or other interim proceedings or developments, and if securities analysts or investors perceive these results to be negative, it could have a material adverse effect on the price of our ordinary shares. Such litigation or proceedings could substantially increase our operating losses and reduce the resources available for development activities or any future sales, marketing or commercialization activities. We may not have sufficient financial or other resources to conduct such litigation or proceedings adequately. Uncertainties resulting from patent and other intellectual property litigation or other proceedings could have a material adverse effect on our ability to compete in the marketplace, our ability to raise additional funds, and could otherwise have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
We license patent rights from third-party owners. If such owners do not properly or successfully obtain, maintain, defend and enforce the patents underlying such licenses, or if they retain or license to others any competing rights, our competitive position and business prospects may be adversely affected. If we fail to comply with our obligations in the agreements under which we license intellectual property rights from third parties or otherwise experience disruptions to our relationships with any of our licensors, we could lose license rights that are important to our business.
Even though we actively file patent applications, we also rely on intellectual property rights licensed from third parties to protect our technology, including licenses that give us rights to third-party intellectual property that is necessary or useful for our business. For example, we are dependent on licenses from Normandie Valorisation for certain products we commercialize. If one or both of our license agreements with Normandie Valorisation were to terminate for any reason, we may be required to cease the manufacturing, marketing, selling, and commercialization of certain products. For more information regarding these license agreements, please see “Item 10. Additional Information—C. Material Contracts.”
We also may license additional third-party intellectual property in the future. Our success will depend in part on the ability of our licensors to obtain, maintain, protect, and enforce patent protection for our licensed intellectual property, in particular, those patents to which we have secured exclusive rights. These licenses, and other licenses we may enter into in the future, may not provide adequate rights to use such intellectual property and proprietary technologies in all relevant fields of use or in all territories in which we may wish to develop or commercialize technology, applications, products, and services in the future. In some cases, patent prosecution of our licensed technology is controlled by the licensor. Therefore, we cannot be certain that these patents and patent applications will be prepared, filed, prosecuted, and maintained in a manner consistent with the best interests of our business. For example, under our license agreements with Normandie Valorisation, Normandie Valorisation controls the prosecution, maintenance and defense of the patents licensed to us pursuant to the agreements. Our licensors may not successfully prosecute the patent applications licensed to us, by failing to draft or prosecute the patents and patent applications licensed to us in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, which may affect the validity and enforceability of such patents or any patents that may issue from such applications. Even if patents issue or are granted, our licensors may fail to maintain these patents, may determine not to pursue litigation against other companies that are infringing these patents, or may pursue litigation less aggressively than we would. Further, we may not obtain exclusive rights, which would allow for third parties to develop competing applications and products. In addition, our licensors may have relied on third-party consultants or collaborators or on funds from third parties such that our licensors are not the sole and exclusive owners of the patents we in-licensed. If our licensors fail to obtain and maintain a patent or other protection for the proprietary intellectual property we license from such licensor, we could lose our rights to such
intellectual property or the exclusivity of such rights, and our competitors could market competing technology using such intellectual property. In that event, we may be required to expend significant time and resources to develop or license replacement technology. If we are unable to do so, we or our collaborators may be unable to develop or commercialize the affected technology, which could adversely affect our competitive business position and harm our business prospects.
Our existing license agreements impose, and we expect that future license agreements will impose, various development, commercialization, royalty, diligence, patent prosecution and enforcement, and other obligations on us. If we breach any of these obligations, we may be required to pay damages and the licensor may have the right to terminate the license, which could result in our being unable to commercialize related solutions, applications, products, or services that are covered by these agreements, which could materially adversely affect the value of any such technology and our business. In spite of our efforts, our licensors might conclude that we have breached our obligations under such license agreements, and might therefore terminate the license agreements. Termination of these agreements or reduction or elimination of our rights under these agreements may result in our having to negotiate new or reinstated agreements with less favorable terms, or cause us to lose our rights under these agreements, including our rights to important intellectual property or technology. In addition, while we cannot currently determine the amount of the royalty obligations we would be required to pay on sales of future applications and products, if any, the amounts may be significant. The amount of our future royalty obligations will depend on the technology and intellectual property we use in the applications, products, and services that we successfully develop and commercialize, if any. Therefore, even if we successfully develop and commercialize applications, products, and services, we may be unable to achieve or maintain profitability.
In addition, disputes may arise under our license agreements, including regarding the payment of the royalties or other payments due to licensors in connection with our exploitation of the rights we license from them. For example, licensors may contest the basis of royalties we retained and claim that we are obligated to make payments under a broader basis. In addition to the costs of any litigation we may face as a result, any legal action against us could increase our payment obligations under the respective agreement and require us to pay interest and potentially damages to such licensors.
Disputes may arise regarding intellectual property subject to a license agreement, including those relating to:
•the scope of rights, if any, granted under the license agreement and other interpretation-related issues;
•the amounts of royalties due under the license agreement;
•whether, and the extent to which, our technology and processes infringe, misappropriate or otherwise violate intellectual property of the licensor that is not subject to the license agreement;
•our diligence obligations under the license agreement and what activities satisfy those diligence obligations;
•the sublicensing of patent and other rights under the license agreements;
•the inventorship and ownership of inventions and know-how resulting from the creation or use of intellectual property by our licensors and by us and our collaborators; and
•the priority of invention of patented technology.
The agreements under which we currently license intellectual property or technology from third parties are complex, and certain provisions in such agreements may be susceptible to multiple interpretations. The resolution of any contract interpretation disagreement that may arise could narrow what we believe to be the scope of our rights to the relevant intellectual property or technology or increase what we believe to be our financial or other obligations under the relevant agreement. Such disputes may be costly to resolve and may divert management’s attention away from day-to-day activities. If disputes over intellectual property that we have licensed from third parties prevent or impair our ability to maintain our licensing arrangements on acceptable terms, we or our collaborators may be unable to successfully develop and commercialize the
affected technology, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
Obtaining and maintaining our patent protection depends on compliance with various procedural, document submission, fee payment, and other requirements imposed by government patent agencies, and our patent protection could be reduced or eliminated for non-compliance with these requirements.
Obtaining and maintaining a patent portfolio entails significant expense, including periodic maintenance fees, renewal fees, annuity fees and various other governmental fees on patents and patent applications, which must be paid to the USPTO and various government patent agencies outside of the United States over the lifetime of our owned or licensed patents and applications. In certain circumstances, we rely on our licensing collaborators to pay these fees due to U.S. and non-U.S. patent agencies. The USPTO and various non-U.S. government agencies require compliance with several procedural, documentary, fee payment, and other similar provisions during the patent application process. We are also dependent on our licensors to take the necessary action to comply with these requirements with respect to our licensed intellectual property. We may or may not choose to pursue or maintain protection for particular intellectual property in our portfolio. If we choose to forgo patent protection or to allow a patent application or patent to lapse purposefully or inadvertently, our competitive position could suffer. Furthermore, we employ reputable law firms and other professionals to help us comply with the various procedural, documentary, fee payment and other similar provisions we are subject to and, in many cases, an inadvertent lapse can be cured by payment of a late fee or by other means in accordance with the applicable rules. There are situations, however, in which failure to make certain payments or non-compliance with certain requirements in the patent process can result in abandonment or lapse of a patent or patent application, resulting in a partial or complete loss of patent rights in the relevant jurisdiction. In such an event, our competitors might be able to enter the market, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
We may not be successful in obtaining necessary rights to any applications, products, or services we may develop through acquisitions and in-licenses.
We currently have rights to intellectual property, through licenses from third parties, to identify and develop certain applications, products, services and technology. Many pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies and academic institutions are competing with us and filing patent applications potentially relevant to our business. In order to avoid infringing these third-party patents, we may find it necessary or prudent to obtain licenses from such third-party intellectual property holders.
However, we may be unable to secure such licenses or otherwise acquire or in-license any compositions, methods of use, processes or other intellectual property rights from third parties that we identify as necessary for our business. The licensing or acquisition of third-party intellectual property rights is a competitive area, and several more established companies may pursue strategies to license or acquire third-party intellectual property rights that we may consider attractive or necessary. These established companies may have a competitive advantage over us due to their size, capital resources, and greater clinical development and commercialization capabilities. In addition, companies that perceive us to be a competitor may be unwilling to assign or license rights to us. We also may be unable to license or acquire third-party intellectual property rights on terms that would allow us to make an appropriate return on our investment or at all. If we are unable to successfully obtain rights to required third-party intellectual property rights or maintain the existing intellectual property rights we have, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
We will not seek to protect our intellectual property rights in all jurisdictions throughout the world, and we may not be able to adequately enforce our intellectual property rights even in the jurisdictions where we seek protection.
Filing, prosecuting, and defending patents in all countries and jurisdictions throughout the world would be prohibitively expensive, and our intellectual property rights in some countries outside the United States could be less extensive than those in the United States, assuming that rights are obtained in the United States. In-licensing patents covering our technology in all countries throughout the world may similarly be prohibitively expensive, if such opportunities are available at all. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as federal and state laws in the United States, even in jurisdictions where we do pursue patent protection. Consequently, we may not be able to prevent third parties
from practicing our inventions in all countries outside the United States, even in jurisdictions where we do pursue patent protection, or from selling or importing our technology in and into the United States or other jurisdictions.
We generally apply for patents in those countries where we intend to make, have made, use or offer for sale our applications, products, or services, and where we assess the risk of infringement to justify the cost of seeking patent protection. However, we may not seek protection in all countries where we will commercialize our applications, products, and services and we may not accurately predict all the countries where patent protection would ultimately be desirable. If we fail to timely file a patent application in any such country or major market, we may be precluded from doing so at a later date. Competitors may use our technology in jurisdictions where we do not pursue and obtain patent protection to develop their own assays and products and may export otherwise infringing assays and products to territories where we have patent protection, but where our ability to enforce our patent rights is not as strong as in the United States. These applications, products, and services may compete with technologies that we or our collaborators may develop, and our patents or other intellectual property rights may not be effective or sufficient to prevent such competition.
The laws of some other countries do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as the laws of the United States. Patent protection must ultimately be sought on a country-by-country basis, which is an expensive and time-consuming process with uncertain outcomes. Accordingly, we may choose not to seek patent protection in certain countries, and we will not have the benefit of patent protection in such countries. In addition, the legal systems of some countries, particularly developing countries, do not favor the enforcement of patents and other intellectual property protection, particularly those relating to biopharmaceuticals or biotechnologies. As a result, many companies have encountered significant difficulties in protecting and defending intellectual property rights in certain jurisdictions outside the United States. Such issues may make it difficult for us to stop the infringement of our patents, if obtained, or the misappropriation or other violation of our other intellectual property rights. For example, many other countries, including countries in the EU, have compulsory licensing laws under which a patent owner must grant licenses to third parties. In addition, many countries limit the enforceability of patents against third parties, including government agencies or government contractors. In these countries, patents may provide limited or no benefit. In those countries, we and our licensors may have limited remedies if patents are infringed or if we or our licensors are compelled to grant a license to a third party, which could materially diminish the value of those patents and could limit our potential revenue opportunities. Accordingly, our and our licensors’ efforts to enforce intellectual property rights around the world may be inadequate to obtain a significant commercial advantage from the intellectual property that we own or license.
Furthermore, proceedings to enforce our patent rights in foreign jurisdictions could result in substantial costs and divert our efforts and attention from other aspects of our business, subject our patents to the risk of being invalidated or interpreted narrowly, subject our patent applications to the risk of not issuing or provoke third parties to assert claims against us. We may not prevail in any lawsuits that we initiate, and the damages or other remedies awarded to us, if any, may not be commercially meaningful, while the damages and other remedies we may be ordered to pay such third parties may be significant.
If we are unable to execute invention assignment agreements with our employees and consultants or protect the confidentiality of our trade secrets, our business and competitive position would be harmed.
In addition to seeking patent protection for certain aspects of our technology, we also consider trade secrets, including confidential and unpatented know-how, important to the maintenance of our competitive position. We protect trade secrets and confidential and unpatented know-how, in part, by entering into non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements with parties who have access to such knowledge, such as our employees, corporate collaborators, outside scientific collaborators, contract research organizations or manufacturers, consultants, advisors and other third parties. We also enter into confidentiality and invention or patent assignment agreements with our employees and consultants that obligate them to maintain confidentiality and assign their inventions to us.
We cannot guarantee that we have entered into such agreements with each party that may have or have had access to our trade secrets or proprietary technology and processes or that the assignment agreements that have been entered into are self-executing. Despite these efforts, any of these parties may breach the agreements and disclose our proprietary information, including our trade secrets, or claim ownership in intellectual property that we believe is owned by us. Monitoring unauthorized uses and disclosures of our
intellectual property is difficult, and we do not know whether the steps we have taken to protect our intellectual property will be effective. In addition, we may not be able to obtain adequate remedies for such breaches. Enforcing a claim that a party illegally disclosed or misappropriated a trade secret is difficult, expensive and time-consuming, and the outcome is unpredictable. In addition, some courts in the United States and certain foreign jurisdictions are less willing or unwilling to protect trade secrets.
Moreover, our competitors or other third parties may independently develop knowledge, methods and know-how equivalent to our trade secrets or seek to reverse-engineer our technology for which we do not have patent protection. If any of our trade secrets were to be lawfully obtained or independently developed by a competitor or other third parties, we would have no right to prevent them from using that technology or information to compete with us. If any of our trade secrets were to be disclosed to or independently developed by a competitor, our competitive position would be harmed.
We are also subject both in the United States and outside the United States to various regulatory schemes regarding requests for the information we provide to regulatory authorities, which may include, in whole or in part, trade secrets or confidential commercial information. While we are likely to be notified in advance of any disclosure of such information and would likely object to such disclosure, there can be no assurance that our challenge to the request would be successful. Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
We have in the past and may in the future be subject to claims that our employees, consultants or advisors have wrongfully used or disclosed trade secrets or other confidential information of their current or former employers or claims asserting ownership of what we regard as our own intellectual property.
Many of our employees, consultants and advisors are currently or were previously employed at universities, research institutes or other biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies, including our competitors or potential competitors. Although we try to ensure that our employees, consultants and advisors do not use the proprietary information or know-how of others in their work for us, we have in the past and may in the future be subject to claims that we or these individuals have used or disclosed intellectual property, including trade secrets or other proprietary information, of any such individual’s current or former employer. Litigation may be necessary to defend against these claims. If we fail in defending any such claims, in addition to paying monetary damages, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights or personnel. Even if we are successful in defending against such claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and be a distraction to management.
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. Such claims could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
If our trademarks and trade names are not adequately protected, we may not be able to build name recognition in our markets of interest and our business may be adversely affected.
Our registered or unregistered trademarks or trade names may be challenged, infringed, circumvented, declared generic, cancelled or determined to be infringing on other marks. As a means to enforce our trademark rights and prevent infringement, we may be required to file trademark claims against third parties or initiate trademark opposition proceedings. This can be expensive, particularly for a company of our size, and time-consuming. In addition, in an infringement proceeding, a court may decide that a trademark of ours is not valid or is unenforceable, or may refuse to stop the other party from using the trademark at issue. We may not be able to protect our rights to these and other trademarks and trade names or may be forced to stop using these names, which we may need to build name recognition with potential collaborators or customers in our markets of interest.
We have certain trademark applications pending in the United States and abroad, but there can be no assurance that these applications will be allowed and not opposed. Any denial of our trademark applications or
adverse ruling in any opposition proceedings could prevent us from differentiating our applications, products and/or services and maintaining consistency across our brand. Even if these applications proceed to registration, third parties may challenge our use or registration of these trademarks in the future. In the event that our trademarks are successfully challenged, we could be forced to rebrand our applications and products, which could result in loss of brand recognition and could require us to devote resources to advertising and marketing new brands. Other biotechnology companies may be using trademarks that are similar to ours, thereby impeding our ability to build brand identity and possibly leading to market confusion. In addition, they may infringe our trademarks and we may not have adequate resources to enforce our trademarks. If we attempt to enforce our trademarks and assert trademark infringement claims, a court may determine that the party against whom we have asserted trademark infringement has superior rights to the marks in question. In this case, we could ultimately be forced to cease use of such trademarks. Furthermore, there could be potential trade name or trademark infringement claims brought by owners of other trademarks or trademarks that incorporate variations of our registered or unregistered trademarks or trade names. Failure to maintain our trademark registrations, or to obtain new trademark registrations in the future, could limit our ability to protect our trademarks and impede our marketing efforts in the countries in which we operate. Over the long term, if we are unable to establish name recognition based on our trademarks and trade names, then we may not be able to compete effectively and our business may be adversely affected.
Our use of “open-source” software could subject our proprietary software to general release, adversely affect our ability to sell our applications and products or provide our services, and subject us to possible litigation.
A portion of the applications, products, or technologies licensed, developed or distributed by us incorporate so-called “open-source” software, and we may incorporate open-source software into other applications, products, or technologies in the future. Such open-source software is generally licensed by its authors or other third parties under open-source licenses. Some open-source licenses may contain requirements that we disclose source code for modifications we make to the open-source software and that we license such modifications to third parties at no cost. In some circumstances, distribution of our software in connection with open-source software could require that we disclose and license some or all of our proprietary code in that software as well as distribute our applications and products that use particular open-source software at no cost to the user.
We monitor our use of open-source software in an effort to avoid uses in a manner that would require us to disclose or grant licenses under our proprietary source code; however, there can be no assurance that such efforts will be successful. Open-source license terms are often ambiguous and such use could inadvertently occur. There is little legal precedent governing the interpretation of many of the terms of certain of these licenses, and the potential impact of these terms on our business may result in unanticipated obligations regarding our applications, products, and technologies.
Companies that incorporate open-source software into their applications and products have, in the past, faced claims seeking enforcement of open-source license provisions and claims asserting ownership of open-source software incorporated into their applications and products. If an author or other third party that distributes such open-source software were to allege that we had not complied with the conditions of an open-source license, we could incur significant legal costs from defending ourselves against such allegations. In the event such claims were successful, we could be subject to significant damages or be enjoined from the distribution of our applications and products. In addition, if we combine our proprietary software with open-source software in certain ways, under some open-source licenses we could be required to release the source code of our proprietary software, which could substantially help our competitors develop applications, products, and services that are similar to or better than ours and otherwise have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
Changes in U.S. patent law could diminish the value of patents in general, thereby impairing our ability to protect our applications and products.
Changes in either the patent laws or interpretation of the patent laws in the United States could increase the uncertainties and costs surrounding the prosecution of patent applications and the enforcement or defense of issued patents. Assuming that other requirements for patentability are met, prior to March 2013, in the United States, the first to invent the claimed invention was entitled to a patent, while outside the United States, the first to file a patent application was entitled to the patent. After March 2013, under the Leahy Smith America Invents Act (the “America Invents Act”) enacted in September 2011, the United States transitioned to a first inventor to
file system in which, assuming that other requirements for patentability are met, the first inventor to file a patent application will be entitled to the patent on an invention regardless of whether a third party was the first to invent the claimed invention. A third party that files a patent application in the USPTO after March 2013, but before us could therefore be awarded a patent covering an invention of ours even if we had made the invention before it was made by such third party. This will require us to be cognizant of the time from invention to filing of a patent application and be diligent in filing patent applications, but circumstances could prevent us from promptly filing patent applications on our inventions. Since patent applications in the United States and most other countries are confidential for a period after filing or until issuance, we cannot be certain that we or our licensors were the first to either (i) file any patent application related to our software applications and products, or (ii) invent any of the inventions claimed in our or our licensor’s patents or patent applications.
The America Invents Act also includes a number of significant changes that affect the way patent applications are prosecuted and also may affect patent litigation. These include allowing third-party submission of prior art to the USPTO during patent prosecution and additional procedures to attack the validity of a patent by USPTO administered post-grant proceedings, including post-grant review, inter partes review, and derivation proceedings. Because of a lower evidentiary standard in USPTO proceedings compared to the evidentiary standard in United States federal courts necessary to invalidate a patent claim, a third party could potentially provide evidence in a USPTO proceeding sufficient for the USPTO to hold a claim invalid even though the same evidence would be insufficient to invalidate the claim if first presented in a district court action. Accordingly, a third party may attempt to use the USPTO procedures to invalidate our patent claims that would not have been invalidated if first challenged by the third party as a defendant in a district court action. Therefore, the America Invents Act and its implementation could increase the uncertainties and costs surrounding the prosecution of our owned or in-licensed patent applications and the enforcement or defense of our owned or in-licensed issued patents, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our competitive position, business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
In addition, the patent positions of companies in the development and commercialization of healthcare technology are particularly uncertain. Recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings have narrowed the scope of patent protection available in certain circumstances and weakened the rights of patent owners in certain situations. For example, recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions have served to curtail the scope of subject matter eligible for patent protection in the United States, and many software patents have since been invalidated on the basis that they are directed to abstract ideas. This combination of events has created uncertainty with respect to the validity and enforceability of patents, once obtained. Depending on future actions by the U.S. Congress, federal courts, and USPTO, the laws and regulations governing patents could change in unpredictable ways that could have a material adverse effect on our existing patent portfolio and our ability to protect and enforce our intellectual property in the future.
Intellectual property rights do not necessarily address all potential threats.
The degree of future protection afforded by our intellectual property rights is uncertain because intellectual property rights have limitations and may not adequately protect our business or permit us to maintain our competitive advantage. For example:
•others may be able to make applications and products or provide services that are similar to ours but that are not protected by our intellectual property;
•we or our licensors might not have been the first to make the inventions covered by our patents;
•we or our licensors might not have been the first to file patent applications covering certain of our or their inventions;
•others may seek to file provisional applications in the United States, thereby securing an earlier priority date that would prevent us from securing intellectual property rights in the same market space;
•others, including inventors or developers of our owned or in-licensed patented technologies who may become involved with competitors, may independently develop similar or alternative technologies or duplicate any of our technologies without infringing our intellectual property rights;
•it is possible that our pending patent applications or those that we may own in the future will not lead to issued patents;
•it is possible that there are prior public disclosures that could invalidate our or our licensors’ patents;
•issued patents for which we have rights may not provide us with any competitive advantage and may be held invalid or unenforceable, including as a result of legal challenges by our competitors or other third parties;
•our competitors might conduct research and development activities in countries where we do not have patent rights or in countries where research and development safe harbor laws exist, and then use the information learned from such activities to develop competitive applications, products, and services in our commercial markets;
•we may not develop additional proprietary technologies that are patentable;
•the patents or pending or future applications of third parties, if issued, may harm our business; and
•we or our licensors may choose not to file a patent in order to maintain certain trade secrets or know-how, and a third party may subsequently file a patent covering such intellectual property.
Should any of these events occur, they could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
Risks Related to Our Financial Position and Capital Requirements
We have incurred net losses since our inception and expect to continue to incur losses for the foreseeable future. We may never achieve or sustain profitability.
We have incurred losses since our inception and expect to continue to incur losses for the foreseeable future. For the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021, we reported net losses of $87.4 million and $73.7 million, respectively. As of December 31, 2022, we had an accumulated deficit of $298.8 million.
We expect to continue to incur net losses for the foreseeable future as we continue to devote substantial resources to (i) research and development, in particular to further expand the features, applications and data modalities of our SOPHiA DDM Platform in order to accommodate multimodal data analytics capabilities across a wide range of disease areas; (ii) expanding selling and marketing efforts for our SOPHiA DDM Platform, in particular to drive new customer adoption with clinical customers and biopharmaceutical companies; (iii) establishing and maintaining relationships with our collaborators and customers across the healthcare system; and (iv) obtaining regulatory clearance or approval to offer our applications and products as IVD applications and products for diagnostic use. We may encounter unforeseen expenses, difficulties, complications, delays and unknown factors that may adversely affect our business. The size of our future net losses will depend, in part, on the rate of growth of our expenses and of our revenue. In addition, we have incurred and expect to continue to incur increased general and administrative expenses associated with operating as a public company. Our net losses may fluctuate significantly from quarter to quarter and from year to year.
Because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with our research and development and commercialization efforts, we are unable to predict when we will become profitable, and we may never become profitable. Even if we achieve profitability, we may not be able to sustain or increase profitability on a quarterly or annual basis. Our failure to achieve or sustain profitability would depress our market value and could impair our ability to execute our business plan, raise capital, develop additional applications, products, and services and continue our operations. A decline in the value of our company could cause our shareholders to lose all or part of their investment.
We may need to raise additional capital to fund our existing operations, further develop our SOPHiA DDM Platform, applications, and products; commercialize our applications, products, and services; and expand our operations.
Since our inception, we have used substantial amounts of cash. The research and development process as well as selling and marketing efforts are capital intensive and we expect that we will continue to expend substantial resources for the foreseeable future to develop, commercialize and market additional features, applications and data modalities of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services. In addition, we may also raise capital to expand our business and pursue strategic investments, to take advantage of financing opportunities or for other reasons. We do not have any committed external source of funds and additional funds may not be available when we need them or on terms that are acceptable to us. Our ability to raise additional funds will depend on financial, economic and market conditions and other factors, over which we may have no or limited control. Further, as a Swiss company, we have less flexibility to raise capital, particularly in a quick and efficient manner, as compared to U.S. companies. See “—Risks Related to Our Securities—Our shareholders enjoy certain rights that may limit our flexibility to raise capital, issue dividends and otherwise manage ongoing capital needs.” If adequate funds are not available to us on a timely basis or on terms acceptable to us, we may be required to delay, limit, reduce or terminate our research and development, commercialization and growth efforts.
We expect that our existing cash and cash equivalents will be sufficient to fund our operating expenses and capital expenditures through at least the next twelve months. However, changes to our operating plan as well as favorable market conditions or strategic considerations may result in us seeking to raise additional capital even if we believe we have sufficient capital to fund our current and future operating plans.
We may seek additional capital through a variety of means, including through public and private equity offerings and debt financings, credit and loan facilities and collaborations. If we raise additional capital through the sale of equity or convertible debt securities, your ownership interest will be diluted, and the terms of such equity or convertible debt securities may include liquidation or other preferences that are senior to or otherwise adversely affect your rights as a shareholder. If we raise additional capital through the sale of debt securities or through entering into credit or loan facilities, we may be restricted in our ability to take certain actions, such as incurring additional debt, making capital expenditures, acquiring or licensing intellectual property rights, declaring dividends or encumbering our assets to secure future indebtedness. Such restrictions could adversely impact our ability to conduct our operations and execute our business plan. If we raise additional capital through collaborations with third parties, we may be required to relinquish valuable rights to our intellectual property, technology, applications, and products or we may be required to grant licenses for our intellectual property, technology, applications, and products on unfavorable terms.
Our operating results may fluctuate significantly or may fall below the expectations of investors or securities analysts, each of which may cause the price of our ordinary shares to fluctuate or decline.
Our quarterly and annual operating results may fluctuate significantly. This fluctuation may be as a result of a variety of factors, many of which are outside our control and, as a result, may not fully reflect the underlying performance of our business. The cumulative effects of these factors could result in large fluctuations and unpredictability in our quarterly and annual financial results. Because a substantial portion of our expenses are relatively fixed in the short-term and require time to adjust, our results of operations and liquidity would suffer if revenue falls below our expectations in a particular period. In addition, comparing our operating results on a period-to-period basis may not be meaningful. Further, our historical results are not necessarily indicative of results expected for any future period, and quarterly results are not necessarily indicative of the results to be expected for the full year or any other period, and accordingly should not be relied upon as indicative of future performance.
If our operating results fall below the expectations of investors or securities analysts, the price of our ordinary shares could decline substantially. Furthermore, any fluctuations in our operating results may, in turn, cause the price of our ordinary shares to fluctuate substantially. We believe that quarterly comparisons of our financial results are not necessarily meaningful and should not be relied upon as an indication of our future performance.
We may not be able to sufficiently reduce our costs to achieve sustainable gross margins.
Operating our business is costly, and we expect our expenses to continue to increase in the future as we broaden our customer base and expand our platform, applications, services, and product offerings. In particular, a significant portion of our business, including our SOPHiA DDM Platform, is provided through a cloud-native software platform and computational and storage-related costs and fees constitute a significant portion of our cost of revenue. While we seek to negotiate favorable economic arrangements with respect to computational and storage-related costs and fees, in the near term, we expect that our gross profit margin will be adversely impacted by such fees and costs as we have purchased, and may be required to continue to purchase, increased capacity at less favorable rates in order to address increased demand for our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products and services. In addition, we collaborate with manufacturers in the assembly and development of our research and diagnostic products, in particular DNA enrichments kits. While we are undertaking a number of initiatives designed to reduce our costs, including provisions in our manufacturing and supply agreements that limit our counterparty’s ability to increase prices for the manufactured products if certain conditions are met by us, and expect that our gross margin will increase as we broaden our customer base and increase customer engagement, there can be no assurance that we will be able to achieve planned cost reductions. There may also be unforeseen occurrences that increase our costs, such as increased prices of the components of our products, increased costs of hosting and consumer support services, changes to labor costs or less favorable terms with third-party suppliers, service providers or manufacturing collaborators. In addition, if our platform, applications, services and product mix becomes more customer-specific and diversified, our costs may increase. If we are unable to reduce our costs, or if cost reductions are less significant or less timely than those we project, we will not be able to achieve sustainable gross margins, which would adversely affect our ability to invest in and grow our business.
We customize a substantial portion of our research and diagnostic products to address the needs of individual customers and collaborators. If we cannot sell our customized products in the event an order is cancelled, we may be unable to cover our costs and may be left with substantial unsaleable inventory, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
We assemble a substantial portion of our products to address the needs of individual customers. Some of the agreements with our customers require us to cover the initial manufacturing and assembly costs of such products, which means that we will be paid only upon delivery of such products to our customers. If our customers fail to purchase these customized products from us in sufficient quantities, do not purchase such products from us at all or otherwise fail to perform their obligations under the agreements with us, we may bear the full cost of manufacturing and assembling of such products, fail to cover our costs and have substantial unsaleable inventory, each of which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Our ability to use tax loss carryforwards in Switzerland, the United States and other jurisdictions may be limited.
We are entitled to carryforward losses incurred in Switzerland, the United States and other jurisdictions in which we conduct business, which could be used to offset future taxable income. Due to our limited income, there is a significant risk that our tax loss carryforwards will expire in part or in their entirety and cannot be used to offset future taxable income for corporate income tax purposes. Furthermore, any tax loss carryforwards that we report on our tax returns are subject to review and confirmation by the competent tax authorities in their tax assessment of the tax year for which the tax loss carryforwards are used to offset taxable income. Consequently, we are exposed to the risk that the competent tax authorities may not accept the reported tax loss carryforwards in part or in their entirety.
Changes in tax laws or the interpretation of tax laws could have a material impact on our financial condition.
We are subject to standard corporate income taxation with the expiration of our tax holiday on December 31, 2022. The standard corporate tax rates in Saint-Sulpice, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland, can change from time to time. However, we expect that the standard combined (federal, cantonal, communal) corporate income tax rate, except for dividend income for which we could claim a participation exemption, from 2023 onwards shall be approximately 13.5%. We are also subject to corporate income taxation in other jurisdictions in which we
currently operate, including France, Italy, the United States, the UK, Brazil, and Australia. Changes in tax laws or the interpretation of tax laws in Switzerland, France, Italy, the United States, the UK, Brazil, Australia and other jurisdictions in which we currently operate or will operate in the future could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition.
We are subject to risks related to taxation in multiple jurisdictions.
We are subject to income taxes in Switzerland and foreign jurisdictions. Significant judgments based on interpretations of existing tax laws or regulations may be required in determining our provision for income taxes. Our effective income tax rate could be adversely affected by various factors, including, but not limited to, changes in the combination of earnings in tax jurisdictions with different statutory tax rates, changes in the valuation of deferred tax assets and liabilities, changes in existing tax policies, laws, regulations or rates, changes in the level of non-deductible expenses (including share-based compensation), changes in the location of our operations, changes in our future levels of research and development spending, mergers and acquisitions or the result of examinations by various tax authorities. Although we believe our tax estimates are reasonable, if taxing authorities disagree with the positions taken on our tax returns, we could have additional tax liability, including interest and penalties.
Exchange rate fluctuations have in the past materially affected and may in the future materially affect our results of operations and financial condition.
We operate internationally and a meaningful portion of our revenue, expenses, assets and liabilities are denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, our presentation currency, and the Swiss franc, SOPHiA GENETICS SA’s functional currency. In preparing our consolidated financial statements, those revenues, expenses, assets and liabilities are translated into U.S. dollars at applicable exchange rates. Increases or decreases in exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and other currencies affect the U.S. dollar value of those items, as reflected in the consolidated financial statements. We expect that a significant part of our revenues and expenses will continue to be denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, including the euro and Swiss franc, and to a lesser extent, British pound, Australian dollar, Brazilian real, Turkish lira and Canadian dollar. Therefore, unfavorable developments in the value of the U.S. dollar relative to other relevant currencies could adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity. For example, fluctuations in the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Turkish lira has impacted our revenues and results of operations for the year ended December 31, 2022 and 2021.
The exchange rates of the U.S. dollar and other currencies are affected by many factors, including forces of supply and demand in the foreign exchange markets and global economic events. These rates are also affected by the international balance of payments and other economic and financial conditions, government intervention, speculation and other factors. We currently do not engage in hedging transactions to protect against uncertainty in future exchange rates between particular foreign currencies and the U.S. dollar and even if we engage in hedging operations in the future, there can be no assurance as to the success of any hedging operations that we may implement. Foreign currency fluctuations may adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity.
We are subject to risks related to the accounting treatment of our pension and other post-employment benefit plans.
We provide retirement benefits to our employees as required by Swiss law by means of a pension fund that is maintained by a life insurance company. The life insurance company operates a pension plan for all of our employees as a defined benefit plan under International Accounting Standard (“IAS”) 19, Employee Benefits (“IAS 19”). As of December 31, 2022, we reported an employee benefit obligation, before deduction of plan assets, of $19.3 million in accordance with IAS 19. The obligation represents our projected obligations towards current and future pensioners discounted at an annual rate of 2.25%. Under Swiss statutory rules and pursuant to our contract with the group life assurance provider, all risks including investment risk are fully covered. That said, no underfunding exists under Swiss law. The variance between Swiss statutory rules and IFRS is apparent in many Swiss companies, and the IFRS obligation of our pension plan does not necessarily reflect a true payment obligation under Swiss law because Swiss law allows us to maintain flexibility to adjust benefit levels under the plans and we could use this flexibility to mitigate any liability. For more information, see Note 22—“Post-employment benefits” to the audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report. However, should the Swiss statutory rules at any time require a determination that our
pension plan is significantly underfunded, we could be obliged to make additional contributions to the pension plan in addition to our obligation to make regular contributions as defined in the pension plan regulation. If such risk materializes, this could have a material adverse effect on our financial position or results of operations.
As a result of being a public company, we have incurred and expect to continue to incur additional costs.
To comply with the requirements imposed on us as a public company, we have incurred and expect to continue to incur significant legal, insurance, accounting and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company. In addition, our board of directors, management and administrative staff are required to perform additional tasks.
We have elected to reserve capital under our directors and officers insurance policy to reduce the associated premiums. Our use of such designated capital for other purposes could increase our premiums.
We currently hold $30 million in a separate bank account to be used exclusively to settle potential liabilities arising from claims against our directors and officers. Our use of such a designated account reduces our directors and officers insurance premiums below those that we would pay absent such a designated account. Therefore, our current insurance premiums may not reflect those that we will incur in the future. Although we expect to continue to hold cash in a separate bank account for such purposes, we are under no obligation to do so and may withdraw the funds at any time, in which case we expect our insurance premiums to increase significantly. In addition, our practice diverts capital that can be used for other purposes, and there can be no assurance that the benefits of our practice (in the form of lower insurance premiums) outweigh the costs of such practice (in the form of benefits foregone by not deploying the reserved capital for other purposes). Moreover, our insurance provider may require additional capital to be reserved in the future in order to maintain our insurance premiums at current levels or reduce the rate of increases in our insurance premiums, and we may be unable to meet such requirements or we may find it disadvantageous to do so, which would increase our insurance premiums.
Risks Related to Our Securities
The market price of our ordinary shares has historically been, and in the future may continue to be, volatile and may fluctuate due to factors beyond our control.
In the past, we have experienced significant fluctuations in the price of our ordinary shares. The market price of our ordinary shares could be subject to wide fluctuations in response to many risk factors listed in this “Risk Factors” section, some of which are beyond our control, including:
•actual or anticipated fluctuations in our financial condition and operating results;
•effectiveness, accuracy and efficiency of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services;
•public concern relating to the commercial value or safety of any of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services;
•the timing and results of multimodal clinical studies of our SOPHiA DDM Platform;
•our inability to adequately protect our proprietary and intellectual property rights, including patents, trademarks and trade secrets;
•our inability to raise additional capital and the terms on which we raise it;
•our ability to enter into strategic collaboration or licensing agreements and the commencement, termination and terms of such agreements;
•regulatory developments, including actions with respect to our and our competitors’ platforms, applications, products, and services;
•publication of research reports by securities analysts about us or our competitors or our industry;
•our failure or the failure of our competitors to meet analysts’ projections or guidance that we or our competitors may give to the market;
•additions and departures of key personnel;
•the passage of legislation or other regulatory developments affecting us or our industry;
•fluctuations in the valuation of companies perceived by investors to be comparable to us;
•sales of our ordinary shares by us, our insiders or our other shareholders;
•changes in market conditions for our industry, including changes in the structure of healthcare payment systems; and
•changes in general market and economic conditions.
In addition, the stock market has historically experienced significant volatility, particularly with respect to healthcare technology company stocks. As we operate in a single industry, we are particularly vulnerable to these factors to the extent that they affect our industry. In the past, securities class action litigation has often been initiated against companies following periods of volatility in their stock price. This risk is particularly relevant for healthcare technology companies, which have experienced significant stock price volatility in recent years. Securities litigation could result in substantial costs and divert our management’s attention and resources and could also require us to make substantial payments to satisfy judgments or to settle litigation.
Future sales, or the possibility of future sales, of a substantial number of our ordinary shares could adversely affect the price of our ordinary shares.
Future sales of a substantial number of our ordinary shares, or the perception that such sales will occur, could cause a decline in the market price of our ordinary shares. Ordinary shares that were issued prior to our initial public offering can be sold pursuant to Rule 144 under the Securities Act, subject to current public information and volume and manner of sale limitations applicable to affiliates. In addition, we have registered under the Securities Act all ordinary shares that we may issue under our share-based compensation plans, such that they can be freely sold in the public market upon issuance, subject to volume limitations applicable to affiliates. If our shareholders sell substantial numbers of ordinary shares in the public market or if the market perceives that such sales may occur, the market price of our ordinary shares and our ability to raise capital through the issuance and sale of equity or equity-linked securities in the future could be adversely affected.
Under Swiss law, shareholders benefit from pre-emptive rights to subscribe on a pro rata basis for issuances of equity or other securities that are convertible into equity, unless such pre-emptive rights are excluded in accordance with Swiss law and our articles of association. However, due to the laws and regulations in certain jurisdictions, shareholders in certain jurisdictions may not be able to exercise such rights, unless the company registers or otherwise qualifies the rights offering, including by complying with Annual Report requirements under the laws of that jurisdiction. There can be no assurance that we will take any action to register or otherwise qualify an offering of subscription rights or shares under the laws of any jurisdiction where the offering of such rights is restricted, other than the United States. If shareholders in such jurisdictions are unable to exercise their subscription rights, their ownership interest will be diluted.
We have never paid dividends and do not expect to pay any dividends in the foreseeable future.
Since inception, we have not paid any dividends. Even if future operations lead to significant levels of distributable profits, we currently intend to reinvest any earnings in our business and do not anticipate declaring or paying any dividends until we have an established revenue stream to support dividend payments. In addition, any proposal for the payment of future dividends will be at the discretion of our board of directors after taking into account various factors including our business prospects, liquidity requirements, financial performance and new application and product development. Furthermore, payment of future dividends is subject to certain limitations pursuant to our current and future debt instruments, Swiss law and our articles of association. See “Item 10. Additional Information—Memorandum and Articles of Association.” Accordingly, investors cannot rely
on dividend income from our ordinary shares, and any returns on an investment in our ordinary shares will likely depend entirely upon any future appreciation in the price of our ordinary shares.
If securities or industry analysts publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business or case to publish research about our business, the price of our ordinary shares and our trading volume could decline.
The trading market for our ordinary shares depends, in part, on the research and reports that securities or industry analysts publish about us or our business. If one or more of the analysts who cover us downgrade our ordinary shares or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about us or our business, the price of our ordinary shares will likely decline. In addition, if our operating results fail to meet the forecast of analysts, the price of our ordinary shares will likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of our company or fail to publish reports on us regularly, demand for our ordinary shares could decrease, which might cause the price of our ordinary shares and trading volume to decline.
The rights of our shareholders may be different from the rights of shareholders in companies governed by the laws of U.S. jurisdictions.
We are a Swiss corporation. Our corporate affairs are governed by our articles of association and by the laws governing companies, including listed companies, incorporated in Switzerland. The rights of our shareholders and the responsibilities of members of our board of directors may be different from the rights and obligations of shareholders and directors of companies governed by the laws of U.S. jurisdictions.
In the performance of its duties, our board of directors is required by Swiss law to consider the interests of our company, our shareholders, our employees and other stakeholders, in all cases with due observation of the principles of reasonableness and fairness. It is possible that some of these parties will have interests that are different from, or in addition to, shareholders’ interests. Swiss law limits the ability of our shareholders to challenge resolutions made or other actions taken by our board of directors in court. Our shareholders generally are not permitted to file a suit to reverse a decision or an action taken by our board of directors, but are instead only permitted to seek damages for breaches of fiduciary duty. As a matter of Swiss law, shareholder claims against a member of our board of directors for breach of fiduciary duty would have to be brought to the competent courts in Lausanne, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland, or where the relevant member of our board of directors is domiciled. In addition, under Swiss law, any claims by our shareholders against us must be brought exclusively to the competent courts in Lausanne, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland. For a further summary of applicable Swiss company law contained in this Annual Report, see “Item 10. Additional Information—Memorandum and Articles of Association.” However, there can be no assurance that Swiss law will not change in the future, which could adversely affect the rights of our shareholders, or that Swiss law will protect our shareholders in a similar fashion as under U.S. corporate law principles.
Our shareholders enjoy certain rights that may limit our flexibility to raise capital, issue dividends and otherwise manage ongoing capital needs.
Swiss law reserves for approval by shareholders certain corporate actions over which a board of directors would have authority in some other jurisdictions. For example, the payment of dividends and cancellation of treasury shares must be approved by shareholders. Swiss law also requires that our shareholders themselves resolve to, or authorize our board of directors to, increase our share capital. While our shareholders may authorize share capital that can be issued by our board of directors without additional shareholder approval, Swiss law limits this authorization to 50% of the issued share capital at the time of the authorization. The authorization, furthermore, has a limited duration of up to two years and must be renewed by the shareholders from time to time thereafter in order to be available for raising capital. Additionally, subject to specified exceptions, including exceptions explicitly described in our articles of association, Swiss law grants pre-emptive subscription rights to existing shareholders to subscribe for new issuances of shares. Swiss law also does not provide as much flexibility in the various rights and regulations that can attach to different categories of shares as do the laws of some other jurisdictions. These Swiss law requirements relating to our capital management may limit our flexibility, and situations may arise where greater flexibility would have provided benefits to our shareholders. See “Item 10. Additional Information—Memorandum and Articles of Association.”
Our ordinary shares are not listed in Switzerland, our home jurisdiction. As a result, our shareholders will not benefit from certain provisions of Swiss law that are designed to protect shareholders in a public takeover offer or a change-of-control transaction.
Because our ordinary shares will be listed exclusively on Nasdaq and not in Switzerland, our shareholders will not benefit from the protection afforded by certain provisions of Swiss law that are designed to protect shareholders in the event of a public takeover offer or a change-of-control transaction. For example, Article 120 of the Swiss Financial Market Infrastructure Act and its implementing provisions require investors to disclose their interest in our company if they reach, exceed or fall below certain ownership thresholds. Similarly, the Swiss takeover regime imposes a duty on any person or group of persons who acquires more than one-third of a company’s voting rights to make a mandatory offer for all of the company’s outstanding listed equity securities. In addition, the Swiss takeover regime imposes certain restrictions and obligations on bidders in a voluntary public takeover offer that are designed to protect shareholders. However, these protections are applicable only to issuers that list their equity securities in Switzerland, and because our ordinary shares will be listed exclusively on Nasdaq, they will not be applicable to us. Furthermore, since Swiss law restricts our ability to implement rights plans or U.S.-style “poison pills,” our ability to resist an unsolicited takeover attempt or to protect minority shareholders in the event of a change-of-control transaction may be limited. Therefore, our shareholders may not be protected in the same degree in a public takeover offer or a change-of-control transaction as are shareholders in a Swiss company listed in Switzerland.
U.S. shareholders may not be able to obtain judgments or enforce civil liabilities against us or our executive officers or members of our board of directors.
We are organized under the laws of Switzerland and our registered office and domicile is located in Saint-Sulpice, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland. Moreover, a number of our directors and executive officers are not residents of the United States, and all or a substantial portion of the assets of such persons are located outside the United States. As a result, it may not be possible for investors to effect service of process within the United States upon us or upon such persons or to enforce against them judgments obtained in U.S. courts, including judgments in actions predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the federal securities laws of the United States. We have been advised by our Swiss counsel that there is doubt as to the enforceability in Switzerland of original actions, or in actions for enforcement of judgments of U.S. courts, of civil liabilities to the extent solely predicated upon the U.S. federal and state securities laws. Original actions against persons in Switzerland based solely upon the federal or state securities laws are governed, among other things, by the principles set forth in the Swiss Federal Act on Private International Law (the “PILA”). This statute provides that the application of provisions of non-Swiss law by the courts in Switzerland shall be precluded if the result is incompatible with Swiss public policy (ordre public). Also, certain mandatory provisions of Swiss law may be applicable regardless of any other law that would otherwise apply.
Switzerland and the United States do not have a treaty providing for reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. The recognition and enforcement of a judgment of the courts of the United States in Switzerland is governed by the principles set forth in the PILA. This statute provides in principle that a judgment rendered by a non-Swiss court may be enforced in Switzerland only if:
•the non-Swiss court had jurisdiction pursuant to the PILA;
•the judgment of such non-Swiss court has become final and non-appealable;
•the judgment does not contravene Swiss public policy;
•the court procedures and the service of documents leading to the judgment were in accordance with the due process of law; and
•no proceeding involving the same parties and the same subject matter was first brought in Switzerland, or adjudicated in Switzerland, or was earlier adjudicated in a third state, and this decision is recognizable in Switzerland.
Anti-takeover provisions in our articles of association could make an acquisition of us, which may be beneficial to our shareholders, more difficult.
Our articles of association contain provisions that may have the effect of discouraging, delaying or preventing a change in control of us that shareholders may consider favorable, including transactions in which our shareholders may receive a premium for their shares. Our articles of association include provisions that:
•in certain cases, allow our board of directors to place up to 29,000,000 ordinary shares and rights to acquire an additional 29,000,000 ordinary shares (in aggregate, 44% of our share capital) with affiliates or third parties, without existing shareholders having statutory pre-emptive rights in relation to this share placement;
•allow our board of directors not to record any acquirer of ordinary shares, or several acquirers acting in concert, in our share register as a shareholder with voting rights with respect to more than 15% of our share capital as set forth in the commercial register;
•limit the exercise of voting rights by shareholders, acting alone or in concert with others, to a maximum of 15% of the share capital recorded in the commercial register;
•limit the size of our board of directors to seven members; and
•require two-thirds of the votes represented at a general meeting of the shareholders for amending or repealing most of the above-mentioned authorizations to place shares as well as the above-mentioned voting and recording restrictions, for amending the provision setting a maximum board size or providing for indemnification of our directors and members of our executive committee and for removing the chairman or any member of the board of directors before the end of his or her term of office.
These and other provisions, alone or together, could delay or prevent takeovers and changes in control. See “Item 10. Additional Information—Memorandum and Articles of Association.” These provisions could also limit the price that investors might be willing to pay in the future for our ordinary shares, thereby depressing the market price of our ordinary shares.
We believe that we were a passive foreign investment company, or PFIC, for U.S. federal income tax purposes for the 2022 taxable year, which could result in adverse U.S. tax consequences to certain U.S. investors.
Under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), we will be a passive foreign investment company (“PFIC”), for any taxable year in which, after the application of certain look-through rules with respect to subsidiaries, either (i) 75% or more of our gross income consists of “passive income” or (ii) 50% or more of the average quarterly value of our assets consists of assets that produce, or are held for the production of, “passive income” (including cash). Passive income generally includes dividends, interest, certain non-active rents and royalties, and capital gains.
Cash is generally characterized as a passive asset for these purposes. Goodwill is generally characterized as a non-passive or passive asset based on the nature of the income produced in the activity to which the goodwill is attributable. Additionally, the extent to which our goodwill should be characterized as a non-passive asset is not entirely clear. We hold a substantial amount of cash, which is generally categorized as a passive asset, and while this continues to be the case, our PFIC status for any taxable year depends largely on the value of our goodwill and the characterization of our goodwill as passive or non-passive. The value of our goodwill for any taxable year may be determined in large part by reference to the average of our market capitalization for that year. Because our market capitalization declined substantially during 2022, we believe we were a PFIC for our 2022 taxable year. Due to our current market capitalization, there is a risk that we will also be a PFIC for 2023 and possibly future taxable years. We have not obtained any valuation of our assets (including goodwill). U.S. investors in our ordinary shares should consult their tax advisers regarding the value and characterization of our assets for purposes of the PFIC rules, which are subject to some uncertainties. In addition, our PFIC status is a factual annual determination that can be made only after the end of the relevant taxable year and will depend on the composition of our income and assets and the value of our assets from time to time. Accordingly, our PFIC status for 2022, 2023, and any future taxable year is uncertain.
If we are a PFIC for any taxable year during which a U.S. investor holds ordinary shares, we generally will continue to be treated as a PFIC with respect to that U.S. investor for all succeeding years during which the U.S. investor holds ordinary shares, even if we cease to meet the threshold requirements for PFIC status. Such a U.S. investor may be subject to adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences, including (i) the treatment of all or a portion of any gain on disposition as ordinary income; (ii) the application of a deferred interest charge on such gain and the receipt of certain dividends; and (iii) compliance with certain reporting requirements. A “mark-to-market” or “qualified electing fund” (“QEF”) election may be available that will alter the consequences of PFIC status if our ordinary shares are regularly traded on a qualified exchange.
Because we believe we were a PFIC for the 2022 taxable year, we will endeavor to provide information necessary for our U.S. investors to make a QEF election with respect to us for the 2022 taxable year and expect to provide such information for any subsequent year if we believe we are a PFIC, but there is no assurance that we will timely provide this information. There is also no assurance that we will have timely knowledge of our status as a PFIC in the future or of the information that a U.S. investor would need to provide in order to make a valid election. Any such information will be provided on our website. For further discussion, see “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Taxation—Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Consequences for U.S. Holders.”
Risks Related to Our Status Under U.S. Securities Laws
We are a foreign private issuer, and, as a result, we are not subject to certain rules and obligations that are applicable to a U.S. domestic public company and are not subject to certain Nasdaq corporate governance listing standards that are applicable to a Nasdaq-listed U.S. domestic public company.
We report under the Exchange Act as a non-U.S. company with foreign private issuer status. Because we qualify as a foreign private issuer under the Exchange Act and although we intend to furnish quarterly financial information to the SEC, we are exempt from certain provisions of the Exchange Act that are applicable to U.S. domestic public companies, including (i) the sections of the Exchange Act regulating the solicitation of proxies, consents or authorizations in respect of a security registered under the Exchange Act; (ii) the sections of the Exchange Act requiring insiders to file public reports of their stock ownership and trading activities, and liability for insiders who profit from trades made in a short period of time; and (iii) the rules under the Exchange Act requiring the filing with the SEC of quarterly reports on Form 10-Q containing unaudited financial and other specified information, or current reports on Form 8-K upon the occurrence of specified significant events. In addition, foreign private issuers are not required to file their annual report on Form 20-F until four months after the end of each financial year, while U.S. domestic issuers are required to file their annual report on Form 10-K in less time. Foreign private issuers are also exempt from the Regulation Fair Disclosure, aimed at preventing issuers from making selective disclosures of material information.
Furthermore, because we are a foreign private issuer, we comply with our home country governance requirements and certain exemptions thereunder, rather than complying with certain of the Nasdaq corporate governance listing standards that are applicable to U.S. companies listed on Nasdaq. For example, we are exempt from Nasdaq listing standards that require a listed U.S. company to have (i) a majority of the board of directors consist of independent directors, (ii) regularly scheduled executive sessions with only independent directors and (iii) a compensation committee and a nomination and corporate governance committee consisting entirely of independent directors. Furthermore, Nasdaq listing standards generally require Nasdaq-listed U.S. companies to, among other things, seek shareholder approval for the implementation of certain equity compensation plans and issuances of securities, which we are not required to follow as a foreign private issuer. Accordingly, our shareholders may not have the same protections afforded to shareholders of companies that are not foreign private issuers. For an overview of the material differences between our governance principles and Nasdaq corporate governance listing standards, see “Item 16G—Corporate Governance.”
We may lose our foreign private issuer status, which would then require us to comply with the Exchange Act’s domestic reporting regime and cause us to incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses.
We qualify as a foreign private issuer, and therefore we are not required to comply with all of the periodic disclosure and current reporting requirements of the Exchange Act applicable to U.S. domestic issuers. We may no longer be a foreign private issuer as of June 30, 2023, which would require us to comply with all of the periodic disclosure and current reporting requirements of the Exchange Act applicable to U.S. domestic issuers, as of January 1, 2024. In order to maintain our current status as a foreign private issuer, either (a) a majority of
our ordinary shares must be either directly or indirectly owned of record by non-residents of the United States or (b)(i) a majority of our executive officers or directors may not be United States citizens or residents, (ii) more than 50% of our assets cannot be located in the United States and (iii) our business must be administered principally outside the United States. If we lose this status, we will be required to comply with the Exchange Act reporting and other requirements applicable to U.S. domestic issuers, which are more detailed and extensive than the requirements for foreign private issuers. We will also be required to make changes in our corporate governance practices in accordance with various SEC and stock exchange rules. The regulatory and compliance costs to us under U.S. securities laws, if we are required to comply with the reporting requirements applicable to a U.S. domestic issuer, may be significantly higher than the cost we would incur as a foreign private issuer. As a result, we expect that a loss of foreign private issuer status would increase our legal and financial compliance costs and would make some activities highly time-consuming and costly. We also expect that if we were required to comply with the rules and regulations applicable to U.S. domestic issuers, it would be more difficult and expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to accept reduced coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain coverage. These rules and regulations could also make it more difficult for us to retain and attract qualified members of our board of directors.
We are an emerging growth company, and the reduced reporting requirements applicable to emerging growth companies may make our ordinary shares less attractive to investors.
We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the JOBS Act. For as long as we continue to be an emerging growth company, we may take advantage of exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies, including, but not limited to, (i) not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, (ii) reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in this Annual Report and our periodic reports and proxy statements and (iii) exemptions from the requirements of holding a non-binding advisory vote on executive compensation.
We could be an emerging growth company for up to five years from our initial public offering, although circumstances could cause us to lose that status earlier, including if the market value of our ordinary shares held by non-affiliates equals or exceeds $700.0 million as of any June 30 (the end of our second fiscal quarter) before that time or if we have total annual gross revenues of $1.07 billion or more during any fiscal year before that time, in which cases we would no longer be an emerging growth company as of the following December 31 (our fiscal year end); or, if we issue more than $1.0 billion in non-convertible debt during any three-year period before that time, we would cease to be an emerging growth company immediately. Even after we no longer qualify as an emerging growth company, if we no longer qualify as a foreign private issuer, we may still qualify as a “smaller reporting company,” which, under certain circumstances, would allow us to take advantage of many of the same exemptions from disclosure requirements, including not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements. We cannot predict if investors will find our ordinary shares less attractive because we may rely on these exemptions. If some investors find our ordinary shares less attractive as a result, there may be a less active trading market for our ordinary shares and the price of our ordinary shares may be more volatile. When these exemptions cease to apply, we expect to incur additional expenses and devote increased management effort towards ensuring compliance with them, and we cannot predict or estimate the amount or timing of such additional costs.
Item 4. Information on the Company
A. History and Development of the Company
SOPHiA GENETICS SA was incorporated as a Swiss stock corporation (société anonyme) under the laws of Switzerland on March 18, 2011. Our principal executive office is located at Rue du Centre 172, CH-1025 Saint-Sulpice, Switzerland and our telephone number is +41 21 694 10 60. Our agent for service of process in the United States is SOPHiA GENETICS, Inc., 185 Dartmouth Street, Suite 502, Boston, MA 02116, and its telephone number is (617) 982-1210.
Our website is www.sophiagenetics.com. The reference to our website is an inactive textual reference only and information contained therein or connected thereto are not incorporated into this Annual Report. We file reports and other information with the SEC, including annual reports on Form 20-F and reports on Form 6-K. The SEC maintains an Internet site at www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information we have filed electronically with the SEC.
In July 2021, we completed our initial public offering on the Nasdaq Global Select Market (“Nasdaq”) and our ordinary shares are listed under the ticker symbol “SOPH”.
B. Business Overview
SOPHiA GENETICS was founded to generate clinically actionable insights from data to improve patient outcomes. Our mission is to provide equal access to knowledge and capabilities by democratizing data-driven medicine.
We observed that across the healthcare ecosystem, a vast amount of digital healthcare data was being generated, fueled by technologies such as NGS, and which held promise to accelerate the understanding of biology and disease. However, this data has been generated primarily using non-standardized methods and by clinicians and researchers across many healthcare institutions. As a result, the data remained siloed and complex and was not fully leveraged for the benefit of patients.
We founded SOPHiA GENETICS to address this issue. We are unlocking data silos, leveraging AI to generate actionable insights from data and helping healthcare professionals work together as a community and deploy their collective expertise for the benefit of patients around the world.
We refer to data-driven medicine as the practice of drawing insights from complex data sets to improve diagnosis, treatment and drug development. Using data-driven medicine, healthcare professionals supplement their own experience and intuition with data insights and shared knowledge from their peers to inform the best course of action for their patients or research. Our goal is to empower clinicians and researchers around the world to practice data-driven medicine and improve clinical and scientific outcomes.
We are a cloud-native software technology company in the healthcare space dedicated to establishing the practice of data-driven medicine as the standard of care and for life sciences research. We purposefully built a cloud-native software platform capable of analyzing data and generating insights from complex multimodal data sets and different diagnostic modalities. Our platform standardizes, computes and analyzes digital health data and is used across decentralized locations to break down data silos. This enables healthcare institutions to share knowledge and experiences and to build a collective intelligence. We envision a future in which all clinical diagnostic test data is channeled through a decentralized analytics platform that will provide insights powered by large real-world data sets and AI. We believe that a decentralized platform is the most powerful and effective solution to create the largest network, leverage data and bring the benefits of data-driven medicine to customers and patients globally. In doing so, we can both support and benefit from growth across the healthcare ecosystem.
In 2014, we launched the first application of our platform to analyze NGS data for cancer diagnosis. We offer a broad range of applications used by healthcare providers, clinical and life sciences research laboratories and biopharmaceutical companies for precision medicine across oncology, rare diseases, infectious diseases,
cardiology, neurology, metabolism and other disease areas. In 2019, we launched our solution for radiomics data that enables longitudinal monitoring of cancer patients and tumor progression throughout their disease journey. In 2022, we unveiled SOPHiA CarePath, a new multimodal module on our SOPHiA DDM Platform powered by our artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. The module will allow healthcare practitioners to visualize data across multiple modalities (including genomic, radiomic, clinical, and biological) for individual patients in a longitudinal manner and derive additional insights through cohort design and comparison. SOPHiA CarePath has already been deployed as part of our Deep-Lung IV multimodal clinical study on non-small cell lung cancer. We plan to integrate our radiomics solutions into SOPHiA CarePath.
Today, we believe that our SOPHiA DDM Platform, commercialized under the name “SOPHiA DDM,” is one of the most widely used decentralized analytics platform globally for clinical genomics. As of December 31, 2022, we served more than 750 hospital, laboratory and biopharma customers globally through our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products and services, and our SOPHiA DDM Platform has supported the analysis of more than 1,200,000 genomic profiles and has been utilized in clinical trials and research projects discussed in more than 465 peer-reviewed publications. As of December 31, 2022, we had approximately 390 recurring SOPHiA DDM Platform customers (defined as the number of customers who accessed our platform through the dry lab access and bundled access models and generated revenue during the specified time period, which, in this case, is the twelve months ended December 31, 2022). We commercialize our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products and services as RUO and CE-IVD products.
In the United States, our products are labeled and sold for research use only. Because such applications and products are not intended for use in clinical practice and diagnostics and cannot make clinical or diagnostic claims, the FDA regulations require that RUO applications and products be labeled “For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.” In the EU, we have self-certified our applications and products without the intervention of a notified body in order to affix the CE marking.
Data-driven medicine has become possible through technological breakthroughs, like NGS, that have driven creation of digital healthcare data and an accelerated understanding of biology and disease. While genomics has played a large role in these advances, emerging technologies such as radiomics, digital pathology and proteomics are creating new data sets that add phenotypic context to genomic information. Additionally, the adoption of EHRs has enabled the matching of clinical outcome data to these data sets. The digital format of these data sets makes them ideal candidates for data exploration, analysis and interpretation by advanced algorithmic computing solutions. We believe that analytics approaches have traditionally primarily focused on analyzing data from a single modality and not on combining structured data from multiple modalities. Although some institutions and laboratories have created service-based business models designed to capture multimodal data, these approaches are typically centralized at a single institution, which we believe limits their ability to scale globally.
With our SOPHiA DDM Platform, we have the potential to serve and collaborate with all types of institutions in the global life sciences ecosystem, including healthcare providers, clinical and life sciences research laboratories and biopharmaceutical companies. Our platform is built on a decentralized model in which we push data analytics solutions to our customers’ sites, rather than a centralized model that requires samples to be sent to a central location. Our customers therefore generally perform testing on their own samples, retain custody of both their sample and data, and use our SOPHiA DDM Platform to analyze the pseudonymized data and share insights with other sites in our network. Through this process, we create and grow a global collective intelligence. Our platform is designed to improve as we analyze more data over time, leveraging AI and then sharing the benefits of this growing collective intelligence with our customers.
We believe that our global platform empowers better patient care through data-driven medicine by offering the following benefits for customers:
•high accuracy genomic analysis to support clinical diagnosis and life sciences research;
•rapid turnaround time for data analysis and insights;
•ability to lower cost of data analysis through higher efficiency;
•capacity to develop their own in-house precision medicine expertise and operations, retain custody of their samples and data and use their preferred instrument setup; and
•option to rapidly launch new precision medicine applications on our SOPHiA DDM Platform.
We believe that our strategic positioning as a universal healthcare analytics platform for multimodal data analytics offers us a broad range of application, product, and service expansion opportunities and significant long-term growth in our total addressable market opportunity. We estimate the total addressable market opportunities in 2022 for our current commercial clinical applications and for our current biopharma applications were approximately $21 billion and $15 billion, respectively.
We offer a range of platform access models to meet our customers’ needs. Our primary pricing strategy for our clinical customers is a pay-per-use model, in which customers can access our platform free of charge but pay for each analysis performed using our platform. To commercialize our applications and products, we employ our direct sales force, use local distributors and form collaborations with other global product and service providers in the healthcare ecosystem to assemble solutions to address customer needs. For example, we combine our solution and applications with other products used in the genomic testing process to provide customers integrated products in the testing workflow. We offer our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services across 72 countries through our direct sales force and our distributor partners. As of December 31, 2022, our direct sales team consisted of more than 91 field-based commercial representatives with a direct presence in 56 countries. To supplement our direct sales force, we offer our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services in 16 additional countries through our distributor partners.
The Importance of Data-Driven Medicine
Over the last decade, there has been an explosion in the amount of healthcare data. This growth has been fueled by technologies that enable high throughput analysis and data generation at large scale, as well as the collection and digitization of real-world health data in EHRs. The ability to draw insights from this data has led to an acceleration in the understanding of biology and disease and paved the way for data-driven medicine.
Data-driven medicine aims to produce better clinical and scientific outcomes by drawing insights from complex data sets to improve diagnosis, treatment and drug development. Using data-driven medicine, healthcare professionals are able to supplement their own experience and intuition with shared knowledge and data insights from their peers and have the potential to select the best course of action for their patients or research.
Genomics is propelling data-driven medicine. The development of large-scale genomics data is advancing data-driven medicine. With broad access to NGS technologies, the life sciences field is beginning to successfully document the relationship between the genome and various diseases and is deploying this information to improve clinical and scientific outcomes. This has given rise to the field of precision medicine, which is having an increasing impact on a range of life sciences areas. In oncology, for example, advancements in genomics and the understanding of cancer have fueled the growth of a large precision oncology ecosystem, in which genomic information is critical to informing diagnostic, treatment and drug development decisions. In other areas such as rare diseases, cardiology, neurology, metabolism and infectious diseases, the adoption of data-driven medicine is just beginning and represents a significant opportunity for growth. For instance, in cardiology, clinical genomics is becoming more common for screening, diagnostic and therapy selection for certain inherited conditions, while in neurology, clinical genomics is helping direct treatment decisions for therapeutic intervention.
Multimodal data provides novel and deep insights to assess health and disease states. While the growing understanding of genomics has dramatically advanced the life sciences field and data-driven medicine, it is only one piece of the biological equation. Phenotypic information is also needed to put genomic information into context and provide a more complete picture of biology and disease. Driven by this need, innovation is accelerating across new health technologies, such as radiomics, digital pathology and proteomics, providing this phenotypic context. We believe that combining data from different instrument modalities, or a multimodal approach, will transform clinical and scientific outcomes by generating clinically actionable insights from combined relevant healthcare data sets. If leveraged properly, these data sets have the potential to provide a stronger “signal,” or window into biology and disease, than any single modality alone. In oncology, for example, oncologists can characterize the genetic determinants of a tumor at the time of diagnosis and complement this
with phenotypic information through radiomics analysis of CT, MRI, SPECT and PET imaging, digital pathology analysis of histology slides and proteomics analysis of the tumor stroma and blood samples. Then, throughout a patient’s disease journey, the oncologist can collect longitudinal insights through imaging, liquid biopsies and proteomics assessment of repeat blood sampling. This information can be aggregated and linked to clinical outcome data to find associations between disease evolution and response to therapy. In addition, deep-learning algorithms applied to multimodal data sets now make it possible to predict the evolution of a disease or the response to a specific treatment with high accuracy, in order to inform the best treatment decisions for the patient. These unique insights are driving the opportunity and demand for analytics platforms that can draw clinically actionable insights from this information.
AI/ML produce novel insights from large and complex data sets. The output of these new health technologies is generated in a digital format, making data highly amenable to advanced algorithmic computing solutions for exploration, analysis and interpretation. AI approaches have enabled the ability to standardize, classify, analyze and interpret massive volumes of data, and separate the signal from the noise. Large volumes of digital information across modalities can then be mined using AI approaches to generate novel insights, enabling truly data-driven medicine.
Challenges to the Adoption of Data-Driven Medicine Today
While we believe that data-driven medicine has the potential to transform healthcare, currently, there are significant challenges that limit its democratization and adoption at scale. These challenges include:
•Lack of data harmonization and standardization across the healthcare ecosystem. Data is often produced with different approaches and methodologies, which can result in dramatic variability in data quality. In the clinical genomics field, for example, every experimental step, from using different technologies for nucleic acid extraction and DNA or RNA amplification to using different models of NGS instruments, could lead to inconsistent data across sites and experiments, or “noise” in the data. As a result, obtaining a comparable set of clinical genomics data can be challenging, particularly in decentralized settings in which inter-laboratory variability can be considerable.
•Data silos and lack of knowledge sharing. Most healthcare data is produced by different healthcare institutions and by centralized laboratories that use different instrument modalities. As a result, data is created and remains in silos. In hospitals, for example, clinicians may struggle to collect and piece together data sets from clinical genomics to pathology to medical imaging for patients that have been produced in different, non-standardized ways. Pharmaceutical companies face similar challenges when reconciling their clinical trial data with disparate real-world data sources, resulting in highly variable quality of insights.
•Barriers to collaboration. Healthcare professionals and researchers may be limited in their ability to share their patients’ healthcare data for various reasons, such as privacy or concerns over losing control of their data. In addition, they have difficulties collaborating with peers from different sites or different fields. As a result, collaborations among healthcare professionals and researchers across different sites and fields is suboptimal.
•Healthcare infrastructure is designed to facilitate healthcare delivery at a local or regional level, rather than on a global scale. Healthcare infrastructure is generally designed around centralized institutions, such as hospitals and laboratories, that generate data within their own facilities. This centralized design is not built to scale or to provide equal access to data-driven medicine globally.
•Existing software analytics approaches are limited in their ability to generate insights from multimodal data. Traditional approaches to software analytics solutions have primarily focused on analyzing data from a single modality and not on combining structured data from multiple modalities. Existing analytical software solutions thus have limited utility to generate insights from multimodal information.
Our SOPHiA DDM Platform
We believe that a decentralized platform is necessary to create the largest network that will bring the benefits of big data to customers and to both support, and benefit from, growth across the healthcare ecosystem. We purposefully built a cloud-native software platform capable of being used in decentralized locations and of analyzing data from multiple modalities and that can be scaled globally. With our SOPHiA DDM Platform, we have the potential to serve and collaborate with a variety of types of institutions in the healthcare ecosystem, including healthcare providers, centralized laboratories and biopharmaceutical companies.
Our SOPHiA DDM Platform is a global, cloud-native software platform that we began building in 2011. It is powered by our SOPHiA AI that standardizes, computes and analyzes digital health data, generating insights from complex multimodal data sets that have the potential to improve diagnosis, therapy selection and drug development. Our customers generally perform testing on their own samples, retain custody of both their sample and data, and use our SOPHiA DDM Platform to analyze the pseudonymized data and share insights with each other. Through this process, we create and grow a collective intelligence. We offer multiple platform access models that enable customers to choose how they want to use our platform and customer network. These range from models in which customers produce their own data independently through their own testing operations to those in which customers produce the data through testing operations provided by our network of customer institutions. In all cases, customers access their data and our analytics through our SOPHiA DDM Platform. Our platform is designed to continually improve as we analyze more data over time, leveraging AI and then sharing the benefits of this growing collective intelligence with our customers.
We believe that our SOPHiA DDM Platform addresses key challenges to the adoption and democratization of data-driven medicine by:
•Enabling data harmonization and standardization across the healthcare ecosystem. The accuracy of our pattern-recognition AI/ML-based algorithms enables our platform to separate the signal from the noise and standardize data at high-quality levels.
•Breaking down data silos. We empower our customers to practice data-driven medicine through a decentralized model and support clinicians, laboratories and researchers across the healthcare ecosystem to improve clinical and scientific outcomes.
•Empowering clinicians and researchers to collaborate with peers from different sites or different fields. Our customers use our platform to share insights with each other across sites in our network. Our platform is designed to improve as we analyze more data over time, leveraging AI and then sharing the benefits of this growing collective intelligence with our customers.
•Offering a highly scalable platform. We designed our cloud-native software platform to be capable of scaling globally and to use AI to leverage the data that this scale provides.
•Generating insights from complex multimodal data sets. We believe our platform is uniquely positioned to combine high-quality data at the patient level to generate multimodal insights, leveraging the power of advanced AI/ML models.
The following figure shows how our SOPHiA DDM Platform functions within the healthcare ecosystem.
Our SOPHiA DDM Platform within the Healthcare Ecosystem
We launched the first commercial application of our platform in 2014 to analyze NGS data for cancer diagnosis. We offer a broad range of applications focused on precision medicine across oncology, rare diseases, infectious diseases, cardiology, neurology, metabolism and other disease areas. In 2019, we launched our solution for radiomics data that enables longitudinal monitoring of cancer patients and tumor progression throughout their disease journey. In 2022, we unveiled SOPHiA CarePath, a new module that will further enhance our solution for longitudinal monitoring of cancer patients and tumor progression by integrating data across multiple modalities including genomic, radiomic, clinical, and biological). CarePath serves as the successor to our radiomic solution, which we plan to integrate into the module.
Our Network and Data
Today, we believe that our SOPHiA DDM Platform, commercialized under the name “SOPHiA DDM,” is one of the most widely used decentralized analytics platform globally for clinical genomics. As of December 31, 2022, we served more than 750 hospitals and laboratory customers globally through our SOPHiA DDM Platform who are part of our clinical genomics network. The establishment and creation of this network of customers has enabled us to capture and compute more than 1,200,000 raw clinical genomics profiles in oncology and other genetic-related disorders as of December 31, 2022, growing by more than 24,000 new profiles on a monthly basis.
Our SOPHiA DDM Platform Architecture
We believe that our platform architecture allows our platform to be highly flexible and scalable in terms of analyzing larger volumes of data, supporting additional data modalities, expanding to new geographies and deploying new applications and functionalities. This flexibility and scalability comes from our platform’s underlying architecture that is developed based on a deep understanding of our users’ needs and a thorough domain model, allowing us to build re-useable User Interface (“UI”) components and services to interact with the data. Our SOPHiA DDM Platform includes multiple tailored analytics engines, each tuned to specific domains and use cases. Each domain is responsible for its own data with a common shared data model that allows powerful Extract-Transform-Load (“ETL”) pipelines to process specific data sets, integrating data into a series of regional data warehouses that enable comprehensive and performant multimodal queries to be run across the entire global data set. The following figure shows our eight regional data centers and the countries they cover.
Country Platform Coverage through Regional Data Centers
As of December 31, 2022, this platform architecture was deployed in 72 countries through our cloud-based solution. We have developed significant operational experience by running such a large-scale cloud-based platform, which we believe enables us to deploy rapidly in new geographies. We have demonstrated that we can deploy in a new geography in approximately four weeks if appropriate cloud infrastructure exists such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform, or in approximately twelve weeks if such cloud infrastructure does not exist.
We regularly release platform updates. Through these updates, we offer our customers either new content, in the form of new applications, or improvements to existing applications, such as new functionalities. We believe the frequency of our updates is a competitive advantage in a rapidly evolving precision medicine ecosystem and allows our customers to benefit from new biological discoveries, such as genomic associations, that are reflected on the platform.
As part of our business, we collect, transmit, receive, process, use and store pseudonymized data provided by our customers. Our customers are required to obtain their patients’ consent to our use of the data. We use security techniques designed to safeguard data received from our customers using a combination of data architecture, pseudonymization, anonymization, minimization and segregation, and process and store this data only in accordance with our agreements with customers and applicable data protection laws and regulations. This data is aggregated and analyzed by our proprietary algorithms and models in our SOPHiA DDM Platform to generate insights. These insights, which show aggregated and general trends without identifying specific patients and without providing personally identifiable information, form the growing collective intelligence that we provide to our customers.
Cybersecurity and data protection are core tenets of our company. We have processed over 1.2 million genomic profiles and continue to process more than 50 terabytes of data each month for our customers around the world, subject to applicable data protection laws and regulations, including HIPAA and the GDPR. We accomplish this through our global compliance framework that integrates specialized and dedicated personnel, procedures and controls and ISO/IEC 27001:2013 security infrastructure to protect data against damage, loss and unauthorized access, use, modification, disclosure or other misuse.
Applications of Our Platform
We currently have commercial applications targeting both clinical and biopharma markets. We serve our clinical market customers through two offerings of our SOPHiA DDM Platform. Our first offering is our SOPHiA DDM
platform for clinical genomics, spanning a broad range of applications that we market for analyzing genomic data across oncology, rare diseases, infectious diseases, cardiology, neurology, metabolism and other disease areas. Our SOPHiA DDM platform empowers customers to build their own precision medicine operations, including testing, and then use our platform to generate insights from their data. Our second offering is our Alamut suite of genomics mutation interpretation software, which is connected to our SOPHiA DDM platform and gives our customers advanced analytics capabilities for a deeper and more informed genomic data interpretation.
For revenues generated from applications for which the disease end market is known, approximately 60% of our revenue from clinical customers in the year ended December 31, 2022 was attributable to oncology applications, including hereditary cancer, while approximately 40% was attributable to other disease areas such as rare diseases, cardiology, neurology and metabolism, with applications ranging from targeted gene panels to whole-exome solutions. In the future, we intend to pursue additional IVD status and FDA approval for specific solutions. We also intend to support external collaborators in deploying their own IVD or FDA-approved solutions on our SOPHiA DDM Platform.
We serve our biopharma customers by leveraging the capabilities and Data of our SOPHiA DDM Platform to help customers solve bottlenecks across the biopharma value chain, including throughout the Discovery, Development and Deployment stages. We currently have four branded applications for biopharma customers: SOPHiA Insights for generating insights pre- and post-approval of a drug based on our own proprietary SOPHiA DDM Platform data sets or on the biopharma customers’ own data sets; SOPHiA Trial Match for clinical trial recruitment of biomarker-defined patient populations; SOPHiA CDx for companion diagnostics development and deployment in our decentralized network of customer institutions; and SOPHiA Awareness for providing real-world insights into NGS testing to inform market-shaping and commercialization strategies. We launched our initial applications for the biopharma market in 2019.
The following figure shows our applications that we currently commercialize across both clinical and biopharma markets.
Our SOPHiA DDM Platform’s Applications Currently in Market
In the clinical market, we currently serve three main customer segments: academic and non-academic hospitals (including comprehensive cancer centers and children’s hospitals), reference laboratories and specialty laboratories. We currently serve our clinical market customers through two offerings of our SOPHiA DDM Platform: our SOPHiA DDM platform for clinical genomics and our Alamut suite of genomics mutation interpretation software. We have also unveiled SOPHiA CarePath, a multimodal module on our SOPHiA DDM
Platform, encompassing the capabilities of our radiomic solution, which we plan to commercialize across our clinical customer base in the future.
Our oncology applications support both germline and somatic oncology testing across both solid and liquid tumors. Our commercial oncology applications support diagnosis, therapy selection and disease monitoring. Our SOPHiA DDM Platform also supports the deployment of novel oncology testing applications. In genomics, this includes liquid biopsy-based early cancer screening as well as treatment response monitoring and minimal residual disease monitoring. In multimodal, we are able to complement and enhance our genomics capabilities with other data modalities, such as radiomic and clinical data, to include diagnosis, prediction of disease evolution and response to specific therapies, as well as longitudinal follow-up of the tumor for treatment response monitoring. The following figure shows our current applications in oncology.
Our SOPHiA DDM Platforms’ Oncology Applications
Our non-oncology applications currently focus on disease areas such as rare diseases, cardiology, neurology and metabolism, with applications ranging from targeted gene panels to whole-exome solutions. While clinical genomics applications are still emerging in these disease areas, we expect significant opportunity as the life sciences field continues to establish the genetic determinants of high-profile diseases such as hereditary cardiovascular conditions, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, autism and metabolic syndrome. We also see significant promise of multimodality in these other disease areas, for example, in cardiology by generating novel multimodal insights stemming from the joint analysis of genomics data, radiomic analysis of ultrasound images and analysis of electrocardiograms.
Our SOPHiA DDM Platform in Genomics
We believe that our technical capabilities are cutting-edge in the genomics space. Our platform can process data from any type of biological sample, including fresh frozen tissue, formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples as well as liquid circulating tumor DNA samples. It can also process data from any nucleic acid source across DNA and RNA. We can identify with confidence any type of genomic alteration, including single nucleotide variants (“SNVs”), insertions-deletions (“indels”), copy-number variations (“CNVs”) and gene fusions, as well as more complex mutational signatures such as microsatellite instability (“MSI”), tumor mutational burden (“TMB”), homologous recombination deficiency or minimal residual disease. Our smart algorithms allow us to reach high accuracy on the detection and identification of challenging genomic alterations, such as mutations in CEBPA or FLT3-ITD, MET exon14 skipping mutations, or rare gene fusions. The following figure shows our SOPHiA DDM Platform’s capabilities in genomics.
Our SOPHiA DDM Platform’s Capabilities in Genomics
Our SOPHiA DDM Platform clinical genomics workflow involves CLIA-CAP and equivalent laboratories in academic hospitals, comprehensive cancer centers, children’s hospitals and reference and specialty laboratories collecting patient samples and conducting the genetic sequencing on their premises. In doing so, they can use different NGS solutions on different NGS sequencing instruments.
For somatic oncology applications, for example, the laboratory technician logs into our SOPHiA DDM Platform and loads the raw, pseudonymized, NGS data of multiple patients from the sequencing run, indicating the oncology indication to be investigated. The genomics data is securely transferred to our platform that operates globally in eight different regional data centers, keeping the data closest to the customer and complying with all local data handling requirements. The data is automatically recognized by our AI-based smart algorithms that check data quality. All types of genomic variants and signatures are then detected and identified with high accuracy, including SNVs, indels, CNVs, fusions, MSI and TMB. This molecular information is then annotated and pre-classified using AI/ML techniques.
The principal investigator, usually a pathologist or geneticist (for germline applications), accesses the results and completes the interpretation. The principal investigator may flag or store the genomic variants that he or she has recognized as being associated with a certain disease on our platform. Because of the decentralized nature of our network, other users in different sites can see the aggregated flagging of a specific variant from the community to further assist their own interpretation. The more interpretations being conducted in our platform, the more novel knowledge is generated and made available to our community. Our platform is particularly easy to use as it does not require an additional technician and provides a user-friendly interface to upload data and navigate data analytics. We believe that this ease-of-use, coupled with the scale of our decentralized platform, will empower our users to continue to rapidly uncover new variants.
This workflow is technology-agnostic in terms of sequencer type and sample preparation technology and supports a broad range of different commercial NGS solutions. The following figure shows our SOPHiA DDM Platform’s genomics workflow.
Our SOPHiA DDM Platform’s End-to-End Genomics Workflow
Our SOPHiA DDM Platform in Multimodal Data Analytics
Through our SOPHiA CarePath module on our SOPHiA DDM Platform, we can support the multimodal analysis of any source of digital health data, developing machine learning predictive models of aggregated multimodal data stacks for the same patient. We can support the analysis of clinical, biological, genomics, radiomics data today and intend to support additional data modalities such as digital pathology, proteomics, spatial genomics and metabolomics in the future.
We offer a range of predictive modelling applications ranging from disease screening, disease early detection, disease diagnosis and subtype discrimination, prediction of disease evolution, prediction of response to therapy, therapy selection and monitoring. We develop these multimodal predictive models in close collaboration with leading academic institutions together with cross-functional teams consisting of treating physicians (such as oncologists), radiologists and pathologists. Illustrative examples of advanced clinical research projects in which we have proof-of-concept data include prediction of response to anti-PD-1 immunotherapy for patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, and prediction of pathological complete response after neoadjuvant therapy for patients with triple-negative breast cancer. For example, we sponsored a retrospective 57-patient analysis of the use of nivolumab for the treatment of relapsed or refractory non-small cell lung cancer to identify predictive markers of immune-oncology response based on multiple sources of data through machine learning analysis. We found that machine learning could help predict a patient’s response using baseline data and can help identify markers that are predictive of the patient’s response. We are sponsoring multimodal clinical studies to refine and assess the clinical significance of some of these multimodal signatures, which we believe will enable us to further improve our SOPHiA DDM Platform and develop new predictive algorithmic models that we can then deploy on our platform to serve a wide range of stakeholders, including oncologists and other treating physicians.
The following figure shows our SOPHiA DDM Platform’s capabilities in multimodal data analytics.
Our SOPHiA DDM Platform’s Capabilities in Multimodal Data Analytics
Among our multimodal capabilities, besides our initial core competency in genomics, we have built out technical capabilities that we believe are cutting-edge in the radiomics space. These capabilities are integrated into and offered through our SOPHiA CarePath module. We can process and analyze data from any type of three-dimensional medical imaging technology, including CT, PET, MRI and SPECT scanners. We have developed AI/ML-powered segmentation algorithms that detect tumors in the scans and that segment and reconstruct tumors in three dimensions on our SOPHiA DDM Platform. Our current segmentation applications cover a wide range of major tumor types, including lung, breast, liver, kidney and brain cancer, supporting the analysis of primary and secondary (i.e., metastatic disease of another organ origin) tumors. In addition, we are developing new applications in areas such as colorectal, prostate, ovarian or neuroendocrine cancers. Radiomics features extraction is conducted on segmented tumors, generating hundreds of data points across volumetric, morphological, first order (i.e., heterogeneity), second order (i.e., texture), and deep-learning generated features. Our features extraction process is compliant with the Image Biomarker Standardization Initiative (“IBSI”) recommendations, such that results from our radiomics analyses are standardized and can be readily compared with similar analyses globally. Through our segmentation and radiomics features extraction steps, we turn existing medical images into hundreds of novel data points. We offer radiomics applications ranging from disease detection, discrimination of disease histological subtypes, prediction of tumor evolution and prediction of disease progression. In the future, we intend to develop additional radiomics applications for existing and new tumor types, as well as for disease areas outside of oncology, such as cardiology, neurology and metabolism.
Additionally, we may expand applications to other imaging modalities such as two-dimensional modalities (e.g., ultrasound, traditional x-rays) as well as testing modalities that can be processed through imaging-based approaches (e.g., electrocardiograms). The following figure shows our SOPHiA DDM Platform’s capabilities in radiomics.
Our SOPHiA DDM Platform’s Capabilities in Radiomics
While the data modality is different for radiomics compared to genomics, the same overall workflow and principles apply. The user, typically a radiologist, identifies the relevant medical images for a specific patient in the local picture archiving and communication system. The user then uploads the images into our SOPHiA DDM Platform. For a metastatic lung cancer case, for example, deep learning and other machine learning proprietary algorithms automatically detect the imaging modality, recognize the organ, segment the tumor and extract more than 200 radiomics features from the tumor image. These radiomics features can then be aggregated with genomics, clinical and biological data from the same patient. The following figure shows our SOPHiA DDM Platform workflow for radiomics.
Our SOPHiA DDM Platform’s End-to-End Radiomics Workflow
In the biopharma market, we currently serve three types of customers: pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies, and CROs. Leveraging both our SOPHiA DDM Platform data and our customers’ own proprietary data through our AI/ML-powered multimodal analytics capabilities, we help customers solve bottlenecks across the biopharma value chain. We categorize our applications based on a framework to address specific needs across the Discovery, Development, and Deployment stages of the drug and therapeutic life cycle both pre- and post-commercialization supported by the underlying data generated on our Platform. Across our application portfolio, we offer four branded applications: SOPHiA Insights, SOPHiA Trial Match, SOPHiA Awareness and SOPHiA CDx, to address the needs of our biopharmaceutical and biotechnology customers, including diagnostic assay development, clinical trial matching and application, drug and therapeutic design optimization, and diagnostic assay deployment. The following figure shows our capabilities across the biopharma value chain.
SOPHiA GENETICS’ Offerings across Biopharma Value Chain
We began commercializing biopharma applications in 2019. Our biopharma applications are competitively positioned as insights programs, which utilize data already uploaded to the SOPHiA DDM platform or proprietary data provided directly by a biopharma customer. We believe that our customers value our biopharma applications for their ability to identify unique patient populations in clinical research and asset commercialization efforts. We signed our first biopharma customer in 2019. We served six biopharma customers as of December 31, 2022.
While Moore’s law has generally played out accordingly in the computation and software space with greater efficiency for lower cost being achieved over time, Eroom’s law has been used to explain an observed trend in the drug discovery space as the inflation-adjusted costs to bring a drug to market continue to rise over time. Despite the improvements in technology over time, drug discovery has remained very complex with many critical decisions that need to be made along the way at which point could ultimately lead to an unviable path forward.
To address the growing costs of drug discovery, biopharma and biotechnology companies are increasingly turning to technology solutions, particularly artificial intelligence and machine learning, to apply the benefits of Moore’s law to reverse the observed costs according to Eroom’s law. With our SOPHiA DDM Platform, we can help our biopharma and biotechnology customers make more informed decisions in the drug discovery process by leveraging the data we generate on our SOPHiA DDM platform across our global network and applying our proprietary artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to the data across our network and the proprietary data of our customers. Within the Discovery segment, our current primary focus is on the later sub-stages post target identification and prior to Development, such as assay development and lead optimization.
The drug and therapeutic development process can be very long and capital intensive. There are both significant financial and opportunity costs that are incurred but never recouped should a drug or therapeutic fail in development stage. To increase the likelihood of success, biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are increasingly turning to algorithm based approaches powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence to better predict drug properties and aid in drug and therapeutic design and clinical trial testing and applications.
We are supporting our biopharma and biotechnology customers in the drug and therapeutic development process through our decentralized, technology agnostic SOPHiA DDM Platform powered by our machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms. Our SOPHiA DDM Platform’s unique ability to harmonize data derived from diverse genomic instruments and deploy as a robust, standardized solution enables a new model for clinical trial testing through a decentralized approach, allowing our biopharma and biotechnology customers to optimize patient selection and clinical trial design. Leveraging our SOPHiA DDM’s capabilities and multimodal data, we can also support our customers in developing companion diagnostics (“CDx”) to improve testing across the target patient populations and help them in optimizing their drug and therapeutic designs. Through our SOPHiA CarePath module, we will also enable our customers to track patients longitudinally across multiple data modalities to support their clinical trials.
As biopharmaceutical companies begin deploying their drugs and therapies, they can face challenges associated with the identification of eligible patients. To increase adoption, biopharma companies have partnered with clinical institutions to expand access to diagnostic testing that could help identify new patients eligible for and who can benefit from the new drugs and therapies.
We can help our biopharma customers with their deployment-related challenges in multiple ways. In the absence of an applicable diagnostic assay, the versatility of our SOPHiA DDM Platform allows us to support our customers by helping them develop new targeted assays, including companion diagnostics, to diagnose and identify eligible patients. We can then help our customers expand access to diagnostic testing by deploying a SOPHiA GENETICS developed diagnostic assay or a third-party developed diagnostic assay across our broad global network of hospital and laboratory customers.
Faced with a complex and fragmented precision medicine environment, we believe biopharmaceutical companies need access to high quality real-world data sets and advanced data analytics capabilities to generate insights from these data sets to inform their decision-making. However, currently, these data sets are often fragmented, siloed and of variable quality, while data analytics capabilities are typically more focused on single-modality applications.
We offer solutions to support biopharma customers by generating insights pre- and post-approval of a drug throughout the entire pharma value chain, including the research, development and commercialization stages. We can generate these insights both based on our SOPHiA DDM Platform real-world data sets and by leveraging our AI/ML-powered multimodal analytics capabilities on the biopharma customer’s own data sets, including data from their clinical trials. For example, a biopharmaceutical company may ask us to generate insights from our platform regarding the real-life molecular epidemiology of rare genomic variants in a specific cancer type, including NGS sequencing install base and testing practices across geographies. A biopharmaceutical company may also ask us to support it in the AI/ML-powered multimodal analysis of its own data sets, which could include genomics, clinical, biological and medical imaging data from its clinical trials, for example to identify new biomarkers associated with patient subgroups that may have a higher likelihood of response to an investigational therapy. As we generate increasingly more multimodal patient-level data stacks in our SOPHiA DDM Platform, in the future, we may support biopharmaceutical companies on novel use cases, including real-world virtual control arms for clinical trials.
SOPHiA Trial Match
Challenges of clinical trial patient enrollment is a major bottleneck for clinical trial sponsors, which leads to delays, increased costs and clinical trial failures. This challenge is magnified in the case of biomarker-targeted investigational therapies associated with rare genomic variants due to the difficulty of finding and recruiting patients with the desired genomic traits.
With SOPHiA Trial Match, sponsors can place “molecular alerts” in our SOPHiA DDM Platform for specific genomic variants or signature that may indicate eligibility for a clinical trial. When a genomic patient profile matching the recruitment criteria is detected in our platform, the relevant local healthcare professionals who have signed up for this offering are notified in real-time and given the opportunity to connect with the clinical trial sponsor. We provide the real-time trial matching services for customers who have specifically signed up for this offering.
We are witnessing a steady growth in the number of regulatory approvals for therapies linked to companion diagnostic assays in oncology and other disease areas. Today, these CDx assays are typically used in a centralized model in which healthcare institutions lose access to their samples and data and which can suffer from poor turnaround times due to logistical issues. We believe that in the future CDx assays will become increasingly decentralized which will drive further testing uptake at scale and enable faster turnaround times.
We offer strategic and operational support for biopharma CDx programs. Biopharma customers can leverage our capabilities to develop genomic variant detection and identification solutions with high accuracy and precision, as well as our ability to decentralize such CDx solutions at scale through our global footprint. We believe that, in the future, CDx programs may become multimodal in nature, which we would be in a position to support through our multimodal analytics capabilities.
As biopharmaceutical companies commercially launch new biomarker-targeted therapies (e.g., linked to a specific companion diagnostic assay), they face significant challenges in driving broad adoption and testing rates of specific biomarkers of interest. For example, the genomics testing landscape is currently fragmented with important regional and local variations. In that context, we believe it is imperative for biopharmaceutical companies to adequately manage parallel and interdependent adoption curves across the biomarker testing and therapy prescription dimensions. While biopharmaceutical companies tend to have insights into prescription patterns by health practitioners, they typically lack insights into real-life genomics testing practices across geographies.
We support biopharma customers with real-world insights on NGS testing trends to support their market-shaping and commercial strategies. For example, when novel therapies enter the market, a biopharmaceutical company may ask us to provide regular aggregated statistical reports on NGS testing results in specific geographies to optimize resource allocation for its go-to-market strategy. A biopharmaceutical company may also collaborate with us to increase the NGS testing rate of specific biomarkers in our network, thus supporting the identification of relevant genomic variants for targeted therapies, for example by sponsoring increased testing volumes and NGS panel upgrades. As more data modalities are computed in our SOPHiA DDM Platform, we envision additional market opportunities for SOPHiA Awareness.
Alamut Suite of Genomics Analysis Software
Our offering in the clinical genomics space also includes the Alamut suite of genomics mutations interpretation software. This add-on software is connected to our SOPHiA DDM platform through an API and provides our customers with advanced analytics capabilities for a deeper and more informed genomic data interpretation. It simplifies and accelerates variant interpretation workflows by providing an exploration and visualization application powered by an extensive collection of top-ranked external databases and proprietary prediction tools, which has the potential to be particularly impactful in deepening genomic investigations in rare diseases.
In the future, we plan to offer other add-on software solutions that are integrated with our SOPHiA DDM Platform, including software solutions from external collaborators, and that provide additional analytics capabilities. Such offerings have the potential to further increase the value of our SOPHiA DDM Platform through indirect network effects, attracting new types of customers and solutions to our network.
Our technology and its broad applications have been utilized in clinical trials and research projects discussed in more than 465 peer-reviewed publications as of December 31, 2022. These publications support scientists in new discoveries and applications across oncology, immunology, cardiology, neurology, rare diseases and other disease categories.
We currently have three models through which customers access our SOPHiA DDM Platform. In the dry lab access model and the bundle access model, we empower customers to produce their own data. In the integrated access model, we help customers produce data through our existing network of institutions. In all cases, clinical customers access their data through our SOPHiA DDM Platform. Our biopharma customers can access our SOPHiA DDM Platform through the same three models, but they may also have access to data generated through our SOPHiA DDM Platform in the form of custom reports and analytics.
The dry lab access model involves customers using the testing instruments and consumables of their choice and our SOPHiA DDM Platform and algorithms for variant detection and identification. In this model, we provide clinical genomics analytics capabilities without influencing the tools that customers use to generate the data. For
example, in genomics, a laboratory might order an NGS kit directly from the manufacturer, conduct the sequencing using its installed sequencer and then use our smart algorithms in our SOPHiA DDM Platform for data analytics.
The bundle access model enables us to support our customers end-to-end across the data generation, analytics and reporting steps. In this model, we bundle third-party instruments and consumable products with our analytics solution to provide customers the ability to perform end-to-end workflows. By bundling our algorithmic capabilities with specific high-performance instruments and consumables from third parties, we can further increase the accuracy of our genomics solutions.
The integrated access model provides customers with the ability to access high-quality data on our platform even when they cannot generate data themselves. Customers that are not able or do not wish to locally conduct the sequencing steps, for example, due to a lack of appropriate resources, can have their samples processed and sequenced within our SOPHiA clinical network. We route their samples to selected SOPHiA DDM Platform collaborators who conduct the sequencing process for the customer and upload the resulting data into our SOPHiA DDM Platform. The customer is then able to access the data through our SOPHiA DDM Platform. Through this model, the selected SOPHiA DDM Platform collaborators can increase their sequencing volumes, while our SOPHiA DDM Platform is further enriched by the data produced.
The same conceptual access models apply to our radiomics solution. For radiomics, we are currently offering a dry lab access model, in which we provide the algorithmic analytics solutions while leaving the data generation at the discretion of our customers. This access model will also be used for SOPHiA CarePath once it is fully launched and our radiomics solution is integrated. We have developed, and intend to continue to develop, smart algorithms for specific radiomics applications, such as deep learning-enabled algorithms that can automatically recognize a lung CT scan image, detect an advanced lung cancer tumor, segment the tumor and extract radiomics features for further analysis. In the future, we may also offer a bundle access model, in which we offer solutions linked to specific imaging contrasting agents or imaging procedure modalities to optimize the performance of the final signal analysis.
We intend to apply the same conceptual access models to additional data modalities that we may support in our SOPHiA DDM Platform in the future, such as digital pathology, proteomics, spatial genomics and metabolomics.
Benefits to Customers
Our platform has the potential to offer the following benefits for customers, empowering them to adopt data-driven medicine to improve clinical and scientific outcomes:
•Accuracy. Our platform design and data analytics capabilities provide high accuracy analytics for our customers, who have access to high quality, standardized data through our SOPHiA DDM Platform.
•Turnaround time. We empower our customers to generate data themselves locally, which avoids delays associated with shipment, logistics and processing of samples through an external collaborator. We therefore significantly reduce the turnaround time, which is a critical factor in driving toward timely diagnosis and treatment of disease.
•Cost-control through increased efficiency. Customers can compute, detect and annotate any type of genomic alterations through our SOPHiA DDM Platform without the need for specific orthogonal assays, thus reducing additional testing costs.
•Maintenance and development of in-house expertise. By empowering our customers to retain ownership and access to their biological samples and data, we enable them to build in-house expertise while benefitting from world-class analytics accuracy through our SOPHiA DDM Platform’s network effects.
•Accelerated launch of new precision medicine applications. The universal nature of our SOPHiA DDM Platform facilitates adding new applications to the same workflow once an institution adopts our platform. Our customers can avoid having to set up parallel and sometimes redundant workflows for different assays and technologies.
We estimate that our clinical and biopharma applications targeted a $36 billion global total addressable market opportunity in 2022, approximately $8 billion of which was in the United States based on our addressable clinical market. These estimates are primarily based on epidemiological data, including incidence and prevalence estimates of addressable populations for each application, as well as a range of price assumptions for our applications and products taking into account differences in panel sizes. Further, these estimates do not depend on obtaining regulatory clearances or approvals to market our applications and products as in vitro diagnostics (“IVD”) and / or software as a medical device (“SaMD”) in the United States. Over time, we believe that our platform and insights enable market opportunity expansion through new application and product development. The following figure shows our estimated total addressable market in 2022.
Our Total Addressable Market
Clinical Market Opportunity
We estimate our total addressable clinical market opportunity for our current offerings was $21 billion in 2022, with the largest market opportunity being in oncology.
Oncology. While the majority of commercial business today in the clinical market comprises diagnosis and advanced therapy selection, our capabilities enable us to serve the oncology testing market across the full patient journey. We can also support healthcare practitioners across tumor and sample types at any stage of the patient journey as long as genomic information or 3D medical imaging is applicable. Our clinical oncology market opportunity consists of five market segments: screening, early detection, diagnosis, therapy selection and monitoring.
Rare diseases. In rare diseases, we believe the adoption of data-driven medicine is just beginning and represents a significant opportunity for growth. In the rare disease market, there has been growing preference among clinical institutions for larger genetic testing panels, including whole exome and whole genome panels, to test for a more comprehensive array of rare diseases in contrast to the smaller, more targeted panels that are common in the market today. We believe are well adapted to address this market opportunity with the exome solutions offered through our SOPHiA DDM Platform. In addition to our SOPHiA DDM Platform, our Alamut suite of genomics mutation interpretation software could be particularly impactful in deepening genomic investigations in rare diseases.
Other disease areas and conditions. We believe that the aggregate market opportunity linked to other disease areas beyond oncology and rare diseases could ultimately be larger than our current opportunity in oncology and rare diseases given their higher prevalence compared to cancer. Our SOPHiA DDM Platform has applications in areas such as cardiology, neurology and metabolism, through applications ranging from targeted gene panels to whole-exome solutions. While genomics applications are still emerging in these disease areas,
we expect significant opportunity in the coming years as novel findings establish the genetic determinants of high-profile diseases such as inherited cardiovascular conditions, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, autism and metabolic syndrome. We provide applications in each of these disease areas today, and plan to further penetrate the testing landscape in these disease areas through genomics and other data modalities in the future.
Other data modalities beyond genomics. We designed our platform architecture to be able to scale with new digital healthcare data modalities beyond genomics. We have already taken the next step in that direction by developing and deploying our proprietary radiomics analytics capabilities onto our SOPHiA DDM Platform. In radiomics, we offer analytics solutions for three-dimensional medical imaging technologies, including CT, MRI, SPECT and PET scanners, regardless of manufacturers. Additionally, we may expand applications to other imaging modalities such as two-dimensional modalities (e.g., ultrasound, traditional x-rays) as well as testing modalities that can be processed through imaging-based approaches (e.g., electrocardiograms). Beyond radiomics, we intend to support additional data modalities in the future, for example digital pathology, proteomics, spatial genomics and metabolomics. We believe that supporting additional data modalities in our SOPHiA DDM Platform, both as stand-alone modalities and in a multimodal approach, has the potential to open significant new market opportunities and increase our total addressable market in the future.
Oncology and rare diseases. We estimate our total addressable biopharma opportunity for our current offerings was $15 billion in 2022 based on three market segments: Discovery, Development, and Deployment. We believe also that our strategic positioning as a healthcare data analytics platform will enable other business opportunities to become available in the future, in, for example, global public health solutions.
Other Market Opportunities Accessible with our Business Model
We believe that our strategic positioning as a healthcare data analytics platform has the potential to enable other business opportunities to become available in the future.
Universal analytics platform for digital health data. Leveraging our global network and customer base, we may enter into collaboration agreements with third-party providers of solutions and services that can be deployed through our SOPHiA DDM Platform and to our customer network, thereby generating new indirect network effects. We believe that we could provide a single, unified analytical workflow through our SOPHiA DDM Platform for instruments generating many kinds of digital health data, such as digital pathology, proteomics, single-cell sequencing and other similar applications.
Global public health solutions. Our SOPHiA DDM Platform could provide a fast and reliable ecosystem to gather data on a global scale and inform public health agencies on significant health-related events, such as pandemics. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for solutions able to harmonize and analyze vast data sets on a global scale, for example, to track the evolution of new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus over time and across geographies. This may apply to other infectious diseases, and to human host factors such as detecting specific susceptibility characteristics through genomics and other phenotypic information across populations.
Value-based medicine. As data-driven medicine and multimodality diagnostic approaches are further adopted in the future, we may collaborate with healthcare stakeholders such as payors, providers and integrated healthcare systems to increase the overall affordability of healthcare. We may develop outcomes-based business models in which we enter into risk-sharing agreements with these stakeholders to support the optimal care management of specific patient populations with the goal of achieving better health and economic outcomes.
Our Platform’s Advantages
We believe our SOPHiA DDM Platform has several advantages over alternative genomics analytics platforms as well as other business models aimed at providing data-driven medicine.
Unique Value Proposition as a Genomics Analytics Platform
Our SOPHiA DDM Platform enables highly sensitive and specific testing and rapid turnaround time, enabling customers to compute, detect and annotate genomic alterations with high confidence. Our platform and its many applications also allow customers to rapidly build and scale precision medicine operations with different applications. We believe that a crucial characteristic for customers and a key differentiator of our platform is accuracy, leading to quality of insight. The accuracy of our pattern-recognition, AI/ML-based algorithms enable our platform to separate the signal from the noise and standardize data at high-quality levels. Our smart algorithms have high accuracy across applications, from oncology to rare diseases and cardiology, and reduce testing costs by obviating the need for orthogonal assays. The accuracy of our algorithms is a result of the scale and diversity of data within our database.
The following table shows how our SOPHiA DDM Platform performs on genomic variant detection from NGS data across a range of selected genomics applications versus the analytical performance of widely used orthogonal assays such as Sanger Sequencing, MLPA, array CGH and digital PCR.
Our SOPHiA DDM Platform’s Analytical Performance in Selected Current Genomics Applications
1.Results of the CE-IVD study based on our Solid Tumor Solution (STS) that included data from 6 different sequencing centers and a total of 155 clinical and commercial FFPE samples in which 192 confirmed variants were used as the standard.
2.Results of the CE-IVD study based on our Hereditary Cancer Solution (HCS) that included data from 7 different sequencing centers and a total of 159 clinical and commercial samples in which 1252 confirmed variants were used as the standard.
3.Results based on the clinical exome analysis of the Ashkenazim trio (mother, father and son’s DNA) from the Genome In a Bottle consortium that included data from 2 different sequencing centers and a total of 9 samples (including replicates) in which an average of 6241.2 confirmed variants per sample were used as the standard.
4.Results based on two similar studies that included data from 2 different sequencing centers and a total of 113 clinical and commercial samples in which 833 confirmed variants were used as the standard.
Sensitivity measures how often a test correctly generates a positive result for samples in which a certain genomic variant is present (“true positive” rate). Specificity measures how often a test correctly generates a negative result for samples in which a certain genomic variant is not present (“true negative” rate). Accuracy measures the proportion of tested samples that are correctly classified (“true positives” plus “true negatives”). Precision measures the ability for repeated analyses on the same samples to give similar results.
Broad and Growing Multimodal Application Offering
The breadth of our applications and multimodal capabilities enables our customers to deploy and scale their data-driven medicine operations rapidly and to incorporate additional clinically relevant data sets over time. We believe our platform is uniquely positioned to combine high-quality data at the patient level to generate multimodal insights, leveraging the power of advanced AI/ML models. We have developed proprietary capabilities in AI/ML-enabled exploration of multimodal signatures. Through these, we can unlock the synergistic power of next-generation healthcare data to advance predictive capabilities. We believe that over time, multimodal data will provide a superior means to diagnose and treat disease relative to the current approach focusing on just a single modality.
Software-based Platform Facilitates Rapid Global Scaling and Data Collection
We designed our cloud-native software platform to be capable of scaling globally and to use AI to leverage the data that this scale provides. As of December 31, 2022, we served more than 750 hospital, laboratory and biopharma customers globally through our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services. We believe that this global footprint is unique and enables us to capture a wide variety of real-world clinical data around the world. The following figure shows our customer base by region as of December 31, 2022.
Our SOPHiA DDM Platform’s Customer Base by Region
We have been rapidly expanding our customer base as well as the volume of data that we analyze. From December 31, 2016 to December 31, 2022, our number of active customers grew from 182 to more than 750. During the same period, the aggregate number of genomic profiles analyzed using our SOPHiA DDM Platform grew from approximately 80,000 profiles to approximately 1,200,000 profiles, recently growing by more than 24,000 new profiles on a monthly basis. The following figures show the growth in the total number of customers.
We regularly release platform updates, currently at a pace of once every two to three weeks. Through these updates, we offer our customers either new content, in the form of new applications or improvements to existing applications, such as new functionalities. We believe this update frequency is a competitive advantage in a rapidly evolving precision medicine ecosystem and allows our customers to benefit from new biological discoveries, such as genomic associations, that are reflected on the platform.
Ability to Work with All Stakeholders in the Healthcare Ecosystem
We are empowering our customers through a decentralized model and are able to support clinicians, laboratories and researchers across the healthcare ecosystem. This enables us to benefit from growth across the industry and provide the benefits of our network to different stakeholders. We are also able to collaborate with other product providers in the ecosystem to bundle our solutions to provide differentiated end-to-end solutions. For example, we collaborate with testing kit companies, testing hardware providers, software analytics companies, and diagnostic companies operating with a centralized model. We collaborate with companies including Twist, IDT and Agilent to create an integrated solution using our analytics platform and their library preparation products, including DNA enrichment kits, and with hardware providers such as Hamilton and PerkinElmer. We believe that we can support and collaborate with any industry player for their data analytics needs and are therefore not dependent on any specific business model or industry segment.
We believe that this unique ecosystem positioning strategy, coupled with our industry-leading analytics capabilities and our global footprint, position us as a global leading healthcare data analytics company. The following figure shows our unique position in the healthcare ecosystem.
SOPHiA GENETICS’ Unique Position as an “Operating System”
Real-time Visibility into the Healthcare Ecosystem Provides Product and Application Expansion Opportunities
Our strategic positioning as a universal healthcare data analytics platform gives us real-time visibility into data and events in the healthcare ecosystem, including diagnosis, clinical data, customer behavior, performance of third-party technology solutions and other data important to stakeholders. We believe that we are well positioned to provide value to stakeholders across the healthcare ecosystem and to benefit from product and application expansion opportunities.
High Visibility and Predictability into Our Business
Once onboarded onto our SOPHiA DDM Platform, our customers tend to steadily increase their use of our SOPHiA DDM Platform, which offers a level of predictability that helps us project and manage our growth. In addition, customers rarely leave our SOPHiA DDM Platform given that we are generally integrated into their processes. These observed trends hold particularly well for our dry lab and bundle access model customers. We have a revenue churn rate, which we define as the annualized revenues we estimate to have lost from customers who access our platform through our dry lab access and bundle access models and have not generated revenue over the past 12 months in that period based on their average quarterly revenue contributions from point of onboarding as a percentage of total recurring platform revenue, of 4% across our customer base over the year ending December 31, 2022. Furthermore, our customers generally increase their use and adopt new applications of our SOPHiA DDM Platform as our relationship with them grows.
Our Growth Strategy
Our mission is to empower clinicians and researchers around the world to practice data-driven medicine and improve clinical and scientific outcomes. Our growth strategy is to:
•Drive innovation and advancement of our SOPHiA DDM Platform to increase its capabilities and broaden its applications. We plan to continue to invest in scientific innovation to bring new, high-impact content to our customers through regular updates to our platform. This may include new features, new applications, new data modalities and new services. Furthermore, we intend to augment our offering across a multimodality framework, generating novel insights enabled by our expanding data assets, including genomics data, radiomics analysis of medical imaging, clinical data and future additional data modalities such as digital pathology, proteomics, spatial genomics and metabolomics.
•Drive new customer adoption with clinical customers worldwide. We intend to continue to raise awareness of the benefits of data-driven medicine and drive adoption of our platform around the world through our direct sales force, our distributors and our collaborator network. We plan to further penetrate the U.S. market, which we see as our largest opportunity, by significantly investing in our direct sales force to further scale the size of our network, both in terms of the number and types of customers. In addition, we also plan to focus on commercializing our solutions by forming additional collaborations with reference and specialty laboratories. Outside the United States, we believe there is significant growth opportunity across EMEA and Latin America markets, as well as untapped potential in APAC, including in China, India, Korea and Japan. In selected geographies outside the United States, we intend to
utilize a hybrid commercial model including direct sales force or direct collaborations and distributors.
•Increase utilization within our clinical customer base. We employ a “land and expand” commercial model that is focused on winning new customers and then driving utilization of our solution by those customers. Once we secure a customer, we use our direct sales force to build further engagement and help that customer profitably increase its testing operations. For example, we may initially support a customer in setting up its NGS testing operations for hereditary cancer screening, including operational support through our set-up programs. Once the customer is fully onboarded onto our SOPHiA DDM Platform, it is then comparatively easier to deploy additional germline testing solutions as well as somatic oncology testing solutions, creating synergies across the offerings and a unified workflow. We also target incremental users within each institution, for example, additional clinicians within a provider across expanded departments such as radiology or pathology.
•Leverage our platform and database to drive adoption by biopharmaceutical companies. We have a distinct sales force focused on biopharma opportunities across the discovery, clinical development and commercialization value chain. We continue to promote our current applications, products, and services, which we believe will strengthen existing collaborations with biopharmaceutical companies as well as lead to new relationships. For example, we may collaborate with a biopharmaceutical company to generate insights on the real-world molecular epidemiology of specific genomic variants relevant for an investigational targeted therapy, including insights on testing trends across our network of customers. This may lead to additional collaborations on a multimodal program to investigate new biomarkers of response to the investigational therapy, a tailored companion diagnostic program, clinical trial recruitment efforts, and market-shaping activities on biomarker testing to support the asset go-to-market strategy. Additionally, we plan to develop new offerings for biopharma as we expand the number and type of new applications and data modalities on our platform. Our biopharma strategy is also highly synergistic to our virtuous cycle.
•Establish and grow industry collaborations across the healthcare ecosystem. We intend to establish new industry collaborations with other companies providing applications, products, and services to our customers. We intend to collaborate with a diverse array of industry participants, including instruments, reagent and software companies in genomics and in other fields such as digital pathology and proteomics. We intend to collaborate with service providers such as centralized laboratory players and interpretation services providers to expand the breadth of our capabilities. We believe that each new collaboration we develop helps facilitate further adoption of our platform, the evolution of the solution we provide to customers and the growth of our network and application and product capabilities. A larger network enables us to continue to collaborate with customers to develop new solutions and to commercialize these solutions, benefiting all users across the healthcare ecosystem.
We sell our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services to healthcare providers, centralized laboratories and biopharmaceutical companies through our own sales force as well as through distributors and industry collaborators. As of December 31, 2022, our direct sales team consisted of more than 91 field-based commercial representatives, including sales and business development managers, key account managers and biopharma alliance managers who are engaged in sales efforts and promotional activities towards our customers. We also employ subject matter experts, clinical genomic experts and biopharma operations specialists who provide customer-facing technical and scientific support. As of December 31, 2022, we had a sales presence in 72 countries, including a direct sales presence in 56 countries and 16 countries in which we offer our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products, and services through distributors. The following figure shows our global commercial footprint as of December 31, 2022.
SOPHiA GENETICS’ Global Footprint – Countries and Sales Force
Our initial focus has been on winning clinical customers in order to drive data capture and building our reputation for accuracy and quality in the clinical community. We estimate that there are more than 10,000 laboratories globally that are using NGS instrumentation. We believe that there is significant opportunity to expand our customer base as well as grow utilization of our SOPHiA DDM Platform by our existing customers. Our sales strategy is focused on both attracting new customers to our platform and driving their utilization and adoption of our applications. Once we win a new customer, our direct sales team provides set-up programs to accelerate the adoption of our SOPHiA DDM Platform and facilitates our customers to adopt our platform into their routines.
We started commercializing our biopharma services in 2019. Our initial focus was to establish pilot programs with large pharma and biotech companies to develop customer trust and raise awareness about our offerings. Our biopharma business development and operations team is now focused on developing and scaling joint collaborations and on continuing to refine our application and product offering across large pharma companies, biotech companies and CROs.
Suppliers and Manufacturers
Our platform is a cloud-native software platform. To deploy our platform, we rely on cloud-based service providers. We also collaborate with consumables and hardware suppliers for the bundle access model and with platform customers for the integrated access model.
Platform Suppliers. Our platform production environment currently runs on Microsoft Azure. As our platform architecture is vendor-agnostic, we could readily deploy our solutions onto any cloud infrastructure, as well as on-premise if necessary. We have ongoing research and development projects on all major cloud solution providers, including Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform. This allows us a strong degree of flexibility and helps manage vendor risks.
Consumables and Hardware Suppliers. In the bundle access model, we work with IDT, Twist, Qiagen, Beckman Coulter Inc., Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (“Thermo Fisher”) and others for consumables and with Hamilton, PerkinElmer and others for hardware equipment.
Platform Customers. In the integrated access model, we route a customer’s samples to selected SOPHiA DDM Platform collaborators who conduct the sequencing process for the customer and upload the resulting data into our SOPHiA DDM Platform. As of December 31, 2022, we collaborated with ten laboratories across eight countries to provide this service.
We continually assess our dependence on our suppliers and manufacturers and evaluate alternative solutions. We have built our business such that we do not rely on any single supplier or manufacturer, such that we are able to switch suppliers and manufacturers as necessary. We believe that this mitigates risks to our business and provides us the opportunity to drive down costs.
We operate in a market characterized by rapidly advancing technologies and a strong emphasis on intellectual property. Our main competitors are institutions that collect multimodal data that have developed in-house analytics solutions, such as Tempus Labs, Inc.; F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd through its acquisition of Foundation Medicine, Inc. and Flatiron Health, Inc.; and Caris Life Sciences, Inc., but we believe these competitors also represent our potential customers. In addition, other companies such as Siemens AG, Koninklijke Philips N.V. and Konika Minolta, Inc. are also positioning themselves in the market with data analytics platform capabilities to build a multimodal world. We also face competition from companies that have developed software analytics platforms for genomics data, such as Agilent; Fabric Genomics, Inc.; Illumina, Inc.; Qiagen Digital Insights; Velsera; Congenica Ltd; and Thermo Fisher. We believe that our proprietary technology and the agility and the scalability of our platform distinguishes us from other players. We believe that our position as a “universal operating system” enables us to empower and sell to many different players in the ecosystem, including competitors. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business and Industry—We face competition from many sources and we may be unable to compete successfully.”
Intellectual property is of vital importance in the biotechnology field. Our success depends in part on our ability to obtain and maintain intellectual property and proprietary protection for our technology, defend and enforce our intellectual property rights, preserve the confidentiality of our trade secrets, and operate without infringing, misappropriating or otherwise violating valid and enforceable intellectual property and proprietary rights of others.
We are actively involved in research and development and therefore seek to protect the investments made into the development of our technology by relying on a combination of patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, including know-how, and license agreements. We also seek to protect our proprietary technology, in part, by requiring our employees, consultants, contractors and other third parties to execute confidentiality agreements and invention assignment agreements and by implementing technological measures and other methods.
Our ability to stop third parties from making, using, selling, offering to sell or importing our platform, applications, services, and products depends on the extent to which we have rights under valid and enforceable patents, trade secrets or other intellectual property and proprietary rights that cover these activities. We pursue intellectual property protection to the extent we believe it would advance our business objectives. Notwithstanding these efforts, there can be no assurance that we will adequately protect our intellectual property or provide any competitive advantage. For more information regarding risks relating to intellectual property, see “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Intellectual Property.”
Our intellectual property strategy is focused on protecting our ongoing research and development through patents and other intellectual property rights.
As of December 31, 2022, we solely owned three issued U.S. patents, 19 pending U.S. patent applications, 5 issued patents and approximately 33 pending patent applications in foreign jurisdictions, including Europe, Canada, Australia, Brazil, China, and India, wherein four are pending Patent Cooperation Treaty applications relating to laboratory methods and/or software to provide molecular diagnosis in germline diseases. These include filings for 20 families of utility patents and three families of design patents relating to graphical user interfaces. Such issued patents and any patents derived from such applications or applications that claim priority from such applications, if granted, would be expected to expire between (2033 and 2043), excluding any additional term for patent term adjustments.
As of December 31, 2022, our most material patents and patent applications consisted of (i) one issued patent in Israel, three pending U.S. patent applications and six pending foreign patent applications in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Europe, and India relating to our algorithm for next generation sequencing data which is used in our SOPHiA DDM platform, (ii) one pending U.S. patent application and one pending European patent application relating to a method for processing certain genomic data which is used in our SOPHiA DDM platform, (iii) one pending Patent Cooperation Treaty application for a method to improve accuracy of the estimate length of homopolymer and heteropolymer regions, which is used in our SOPHiA DDM platform, (iv) one pending Patent Cooperation Treaty application and one U.S. pending patent application relating to a unique molecular identifier and related analytics workflow which we plan to incorporate in our software applications and products and into our SOPHiA DDM platform, (v) one European pending patent application and one U.S. pending patent application for a method to detect microsatellite instability that will be used in our SOPHiA DDM platform, (vi) one pending European patent application and one U.S. pending patent application relating to a method to detect homologous recombination deficiency (“HRD”), which will be used in our HRD detection solution, and (vii) one pending European patent application relating to a variant calling method which is not currently used in our software applications and products. Any patents derived from such applications or applications that claim priority from such applications, if granted, would be expected to expire between 2035 and 2041, excluding any additional term for patent term adjustments.
The term of individual patents depends upon the legal term of the patents in the countries in which they are obtained. In most countries in which we file or intend to file, including the United States, the patent term is 20 years from the earliest date of filing a non-provisional patent application. In the United States, a patent’s term may be lengthened by patent term adjustment, which compensates a patentee for administrative delays by the USPTO in examining and granting a patent, or may be shortened if a patent is terminally disclaimed over an earlier filed patent. We cannot be sure that patents will be granted with respect to any current pending patent application or with respect to any patent applications filed by us in the future, and we cannot be sure that any current or future patents will be commercially useful in protecting our platform, applications, products, services, technologies and processes. In addition, any patents that we may hold, whether owned or licensed, may be challenged, circumvented or invalidated by third parties.
The success of our business strategy depends on our continued ability to use our existing intellectual property in order to increase brand awareness and develop our branded services.
As of December 31, 2022, we owned eleven (11) registered U.S. trademarks, approximately 130 registered foreign trademarks and two (2) pending foreign trademark applications. Our trademark portfolio is designed to protect the brands of our current and future applications and products and includes U.S. trademark registrations for our company name, “SOPHIA GENETICS”, and application and product names, such as “SOPHIA DDM” and “ALAMUT”. We have granted licenses to certain of our trademarks to our domestic and international collaborators.
We also rely on trade secrets, including know-how, unpatented technology and other proprietary information, to strengthen our competitive position. We have determined that certain technologies that are not amenable to, or that we do not presently consider appropriate for, patent protection, such as our analysis techniques and analysis generated using our proprietary algorithms in the context of our SOPHiA DDM platform, are better kept as trade secrets in order to protect and maintain our competitive position and aspects of our business and prevent competitors from reverse-engineering or copying our technologies.
We seek to protect trade secrets and confidential and unpatented know-how, in part, by entering into non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements with parties who have access to such knowledge, such as our employees, corporate collaborators, outside scientific collaborators, contract research organizations or manufacturers, consultants, advisors and other third parties. We also seek to enter into confidentiality and invention or patent assignment agreements with our employees and consultants that obligate them to maintain confidentiality and assign their inventions to us. We cannot guarantee that we have entered into such agreements with each party that may have or have had access to our trade secrets or proprietary technology and processes or that the assignment agreements that have been entered into are self-executing. Despite these efforts, any of these parties may breach the agreements and disclose our proprietary information, including our
trade secrets, or claim ownership in intellectual property that we believe is owned by us. In addition, we take other appropriate precautions, such as physical and technological security measures, to guard against misappropriation of our proprietary information by third parties.
Laboratory Developed Tests
CLIA and State Laboratory Licensing
CLIA is a U.S. federal law that regulates clinical laboratories that perform testing on specimens derived from humans for the purpose of providing information for the diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of disease, or impairment of, or the assessment of the health of, human beings. CLIA regulations require, among other things, clinical laboratories to obtain a certificate and mandate specific standards in the areas of personnel qualifications, administration, participation in proficiency testing, test management, and quality assurance. CLIA certification is also required for us to be eligible to bill state and federal healthcare programs, if such reimbursement is otherwise available, as well as many private third-party payors, for our applications and products.
In addition to federal certification requirements of laboratories under CLIA, CLIA provides that states may adopt laboratory regulations and licensure requirements that are more stringent than those under federal law. A number of states have implemented their own more stringent laboratory regulatory requirements. Such laws, among other things, establish standards for the day-to-day operation of a clinical laboratory, including the training and skills required of personnel and quality control. For example, New York laws and regulations establish standards for day-to-day operation of a clinical laboratory, including training and skill levels.
We do not currently operate a CLIA-certified laboratory. Our customers are responsible for their own CLIA certification.
Federal Oversight of Laboratory Developed Tests
The laws and regulations governing the marketing of clinical laboratory testing and diagnostic products are evolving and extremely complex and, in many instances, there are no significant regulatory or judicial interpretations of these laws and regulations. Clinical laboratory tests are regulated under CLIA, as administered by CMS, as well as by applicable state laws. In addition, the FDCA defines a medical device to include any instrument, apparatus, implement, machine, contrivance, implant, in vitro reagent, or other similar or related article, including a component part, or accessory, intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions, or in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, in man or other animals. Among other things, pursuant to the FDCA and its implementing regulations, the FDA regulates the research, testing, manufacturing, safety, labeling, storage, recordkeeping, pre-market clearance or approval, marketing and promotion, and sales and distribution of medical devices in the United States to ensure that medical products distributed domestically are safe and effective for their intended uses. In addition, the FDA regulates the export of medical devices manufactured in the United States to international markets.
Although the FDA has statutory authority to assure that medical devices are safe and effective for their intended uses, the FDA has generally exercised its enforcement discretion and not enforced applicable regulations with respect to in vitro diagnostics that are designed, manufactured and used within a single laboratory for use only in that laboratory. These tests are referred to as LDTs.
Legislative and administrative proposals proposing to amend the FDA’s oversight of LDTs have been introduced in recent years and we expect that new legislative and administrative proposals will continue to be introduced from time to time. It is possible that legislation could be enacted into law or regulations or guidance could be issued by the FDA which may result in new or increased regulatory requirements. For example, in recent years, the FDA has stated its intention to modify its enforcement discretion policy with respect to LDTs. The FDA could modify its current approach to LDTs in a way that would subject LDTs to additional regulatory requirements. Moreover, legislative measures could likewise result in a change to the approach to the FDA’s regulation over LDTs, including a requirement for premarket review of LDTs, among other things.
AI/ML-Based Medical Software
The FDA recognizes that the traditional paradigm of medical device regulation was not designed for adaptive AI/ML technologies. The FDA has cleared or approved several AI/ML-based software as medical devices (“SaMD”). Typically, these have only included algorithms that are “locked” prior to marketing, where algorithm changes likely require FDA premarket review for changes beyond the original market authorization. However, not all AI/ML-based SaMD are locked; some algorithms can adapt over time. Following distribution, these types of continuously learning and adaptive AI/ML algorithms may provide a different output in comparison to the output initially cleared for a given set of inputs.
The FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health is currently considering a total product lifecycle-based regulatory framework for AI/ML technologies. On January 12, 2021, the FDA released its Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning-Based Software as a Medical Device Action Plan, which outlines five actions that the FDA intends to take, including:
•further developing the proposed regulatory framework, including through issuance of draft guidance on a predetermined change control plan (for software’s learning over time);
•supporting the development of good machine learning practices to evaluate and improve machine learning algorithms;
•fostering a patient-centered approach, including device transparency to users;
•developing methods to evaluate and improve machine learning algorithms; and
•advancing real-world performance monitoring pilots.
Medical Device Regulatory Framework
Pursuant to its authority under the FDCA, the FDA has jurisdiction over medical devices, which are defined to include, among other things, IVDs and SaMD. The FDA regulates the research, design, development, preclinical and clinical testing, manufacturing, safety, effectiveness, packaging, labeling, storage, recordkeeping, pre-market clearance or approval, adverse event reporting, marketing, promotion, sales, distribution and import and export of medical devices. Specifically, if the FDA begins to actively regulate LDTs, then, unless an exemption applies, each new or significantly modified medical device we seek to commercially distribute in the United States could require either a premarket notification to the FDA requesting permission for commercial distribution under Section 510(k) of the FDCA (“510(k) clearance”) or approval from the FDA of a PMA application. Both the 510(k) clearance and PMA processes can be resource-intensive, expensive, and lengthy, and require payment of significant user fees.
Under the FDCA, medical devices are classified into one of three classes (Class I, Class II or Class III) depending on the degree of risk associated with each medical device and the extent of control needed to provide reasonable assurances with respect to safety and effectiveness.
Class I includes devices with the lowest risk to the patient and are those for which safety and effectiveness can be reasonably assured by adherence to General Controls for Medical Devices, which require compliance with the applicable portions of the FDA’s Quality System Regulation, facility registration and product listing, reporting of adverse events and malfunctions, and appropriate, truthful and non-misleading labeling and promotional materials. While some Class I devices also require premarket clearance by the FDA through the 510(k) premarket notification process described below, most Class I products are exempt from the premarket notification requirements.
Class II devices are those that are subject to the General Controls, as well as Special Controls as deemed necessary by the FDA to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the device. These Special Controls can include performance standards, patient registries, FDA guidance documents and post-market surveillance. Most Class II devices are subject to premarket review and clearance by the FDA. Premarket review and clearance by the FDA for Class II devices is accomplished through the 510(k) premarket notification process.
Class III devices include devices deemed by the FDA to pose the greatest risk, such as life-supporting, life-sustaining devices or implantable devices, in addition to those deemed novel and not substantially equivalent following the 510(k) process. The safety and effectiveness of Class III devices cannot be reasonably assured solely by the General Controls and Special Controls described above. Therefore, these devices are subject to the PMA process, which is generally more costly and time-consuming than the 510(k) process. Through the PMA process, the applicant must submit data and information demonstrating reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device for its intended use to the FDA’s satisfaction. Accordingly, a PMA typically includes, but is not limited to, extensive technical information regarding device design and development, preclinical and clinical trial data, manufacturing information and labeling and financial disclosure information for the clinical investigators in device studies. The PMA application must provide valid scientific evidence that demonstrates to the FDA’s satisfaction a reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device for its intended use.
The 510(k) Clearance Process
Under the 510(k) clearance process, the manufacturer must submit to the FDA a premarket notification, demonstrating that the device is “substantially equivalent” to a legally marketed predicate device. A predicate device is a legally marketed device that is not subject to a PMA, i.e., a device that was legally marketed prior to May 28, 1976 (pre-amendments device) and for which a PMA is not required, a device that has been reclassified from Class III to Class II or I, or a device that was previously found substantially equivalent through the 510(k) process. To be “substantially equivalent,” the proposed device must have the same intended use as the predicate device, and either have the same technological characteristics as the predicate device or have different technological characteristics and not raise different questions of safety or effectiveness than the predicate device. Clinical data is sometimes required to support substantial equivalence.
After a 510(k) premarket notification is submitted, the FDA determines whether to accept it for substantive review. If it lacks necessary information for substantive review, the FDA will refuse to accept the 510(k) premarket notification. If it is accepted for filing, the FDA begins a substantive review. By statute, the FDA is required to complete its review of a 510(k) notification within 90 days of receiving the 510(k) notification. As a practical matter, clearance often takes longer, and clearance is never assured. Although many 510(k) premarket notifications are cleared without clinical data, the FDA may require further information, including data from samples collected in a clinical setting, to make a determination regarding substantial equivalence which may significantly prolong the review process. If the FDA agrees that the device is substantially equivalent, it will grant clearance to commercially market the device.
If the FDA determines that the device is not “substantially equivalent” to a predicate device, or if the device is automatically classified into Class III, the device sponsor must then fulfill the much more rigorous premarketing requirements of the PMA approval process or seek reclassification of the device through the De Novo classification process.
After a device receives 510(k) clearance, any modification that could significantly affect its safety or effectiveness, or that would constitute a new or major change in its intended use, will require a new 510(k) clearance or, depending on the modification, could require a PMA application. The FDA requires each manufacturer to determine whether the proposed change requires a new submission in the first instance, but the FDA can review any such decision and disagree with a manufacturer’s determination. Many minor modifications are accomplished by an internal letter-to-file in which the manufacture documents its reasoning for why a change does not require premarket submission to the FDA. The letter-to-file is in lieu of submitting a new 510(k) to obtain clearance for such change. The FDA can always review these letters-to-file in an inspection. If the FDA disagrees with a manufacturer’s determination regarding whether a new premarket submission is required for the modification of an existing 510(k)-cleared device, the FDA can require the manufacturer to cease marketing and/or recall the modified device until 510(k) clearance or approval of a PMA application is obtained. In addition, in these circumstances, the FDA can impose significant regulatory fines or penalties for failure to submit the requisite application(s).
The De Novo Process
The De Novo classification process is an alternate pathway to classify medical devices that are automatically classified into Class III but which are low to moderate risk. A manufacturer can submit a petition for direct de novo review if the manufacturer is unable to identify an appropriate predicate device and the new device or new
use of the device presents a moderate or low risk. De Novo classification may also be available after receipt of a “not substantially equivalent” letter following submission of a 510(k) to the FDA.
The PMA Approval Process
Following receipt of a PMA application, the FDA conducts an administrative review to determine whether the application is sufficiently complete to permit a substantive review. If it is not, the agency will refuse to file the PMA. If it is, the FDA will accept the application for filing and begin the review. The FDA has 180 days to review a filed PMA application, although the review of an application more often occurs over a significantly longer period of time. During this review period, the FDA may request additional information or clarification of information already provided, and the FDA may issue a major deficiency letter to the applicant, requesting the applicant’s response to deficiencies communicated by the FDA.
Before approving or denying a PMA, an FDA advisory committee may review the PMA at a public meeting and provide the FDA with the committee’s recommendation on whether the FDA should approve the submission, approve it with specific conditions, or not approve it. The FDA is not bound by the recommendations of an advisory committee, but it considers such recommendations carefully when making decisions.
Prior to approval of a PMA, the FDA may conduct inspections of the clinical trial data and clinical trial sites, as well as inspections of the manufacturing facility and processes. Overall, the FDA review of a PMA application generally takes between one and three years, but may take significantly longer. The FDA can delay, limit or deny approval of a PMA application for many reasons, including:
•The device may not be shown safe or effective to the FDA’s satisfaction;
•The data from pre-clinical studies and/or clinical trials may be found unreliable or insufficient to support approval;
•The manufacturing process or facilities may not meet applicable requirements; and
•Changes in FDA clearance or approval policies or adoption of new regulations may require additional data.
If the FDA evaluation of a PMA is favorable, the FDA will issue either an approval letter or an approvable letter, the latter of which usually contains a number of conditions that must be met in order to secure final approval of the PMA. When and if those conditions have been fulfilled to the satisfaction of the FDA, the agency will issue a PMA approval letter authorizing commercial marketing of the device, subject to the conditions of approval and the limitations established in the approval letter. If the FDA’s evaluation of a PMA application or manufacturing facilities is not favorable, the FDA will deny approval of the PMA or issue a not-approvable letter. The FDA also may determine that additional tests or clinical trials are necessary, in which case the PMA approval may be delayed for several months or years while the trials are conducted and data is submitted in an amendment to the PMA, or the PMA is withdrawn and resubmitted when the data are available. The PMA process can be expensive, uncertain and lengthy, and a number of devices for which FDA approval has been sought by other companies have never been approved by the FDA for marketing.
New PMA applications or PMA supplements are required for modification to the manufacturing process, equipment or facility, quality control procedures, sterilization, packaging, expiration date, labeling, device specifications, ingredients, materials or design of a device that has been approved through the PMA process. PMA supplements often require submission of the same type of information as an initial PMA application, except that the supplement is limited to information needed to support any changes from the device covered by the approved PMA application and may or may not require as extensive technical or clinical data or the convening of an advisory panel, depending on the nature of the proposed change.
In approving a PMA application, as a condition of approval, the FDA may also require some form of post-approval study or post-market surveillance, whereby the applicant conducts a follow-up study or follows certain patient groups for a number of years and makes periodic reports to the FDA on the clinical status of those patients when necessary to protect the public health or to provide additional or longer-term safety and effectiveness data for the device. The FDA may also approve a PMA application with other post-approval conditions intended to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the device, such as, among other things, restrictions on labeling, promotion, sale, distribution and use. New PMA applications or PMA supplements may
also be required for modifications to any approved diagnostic tests, including modifications to manufacturing processes, device labeling and device design, based on the findings of post-approval studies.
The Investigational Device Process
In the United States, absent certain limited exceptions, human clinical trials intended to support medical device clearance or approval require an investigational device exemption (“IDE”) application. Some types of studies deemed to present “non-significant risk” are deemed to have an approved IDE–without affirmative submission of an IDE application to the FDA–once certain requirements are addressed and IRB approval is obtained. If the device presents a “significant risk” to human health, as defined by the FDA, the sponsor must submit an IDE application to the FDA and obtain IDE approval prior to commencing the human clinical trials. The IDE application must be supported by appropriate data, such as animal and laboratory testing results, showing that it is safe to test the device in humans and that the testing protocol is scientifically sound. Generally, clinical trials for a significant risk device may begin once the IDE application is approved by the FDA and the study protocol and informed consent are approved by appropriate IRBs at the clinical trial sites. Submission of an IDE will not necessarily result in the ability to commence clinical trials, and although the FDA’s approval of an IDE allows clinical testing to go forward for a specified number of subjects, it does not bind the FDA to accept the results of the trial as sufficient to prove the product’s safety and efficacy, even if the trial meets its intended success criteria.
Such clinical trials must be conducted in accordance with the FDA’s IDE regulations that govern investigational device labeling, prohibit promotion and specify an array of recordkeeping, reporting and monitoring responsibilities of study sponsors and study investigators. Clinical trials must further comply with good clinical practice regulations for IRB approval and for informed consent and other human subject protections. Required records and reports are subject to inspection by the FDA for any clinical trials subject to FDA oversight. The results of clinical testing may be unfavorable, or, even if the intended safety and efficacy success criteria are achieved, may not be considered sufficient for the FDA to grant marketing approval or clearance of a product. The commencement or completion of any clinical trial may be delayed or halted, or be inadequate to support approval of a PMA application or clearance of a 510(k) premarket notification, for numerous reasons.
The Breakthrough Devices Program is a voluntary program intended to expedite the development, assessment and review of certain medical devices that provide for more effective treatment or diagnosis of life-threatening or irreversibly debilitating human diseases or conditions for which no approved or cleared treatment exists or that offer significant advantages over existing approved or cleared alternatives. All submissions for devices designated as Breakthrough Devices will receive priority review, meaning that the review of the submission is placed at the top of the appropriate review queue and receives additional review resources, as needed. Although Breakthrough Device designation or access to any other expedited program may expedite the development or approval process, it does not change the standards for approval. Access to an expedited program may also be withdrawn by the FDA if it believes that the designation is no longer supported by data from our clinical development program. Additionally, qualification for any expedited review procedure does not ensure that we will ultimately obtain regulatory clearance or approval for such product.
Research Use Only
In the United States, SOPHiA applications and products labeled and sold for research use only, and not for the diagnosis or treatment of disease, are sold to a variety of parties, including biopharmaceutical companies, academic institutions and molecular laboratories. Because such applications and products are not intended for use in clinical practice in diagnostics, and the applications and products cannot include clinical or diagnostic claims, they are exempt from many regulatory requirements otherwise applicable to medical devices. In particular, while the FDA regulations require that RUO applications and products be labeled “For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures,” the regulations do not otherwise subject such applications and products to the FDA’s pre- and post-market controls for medical devices.
A significant change in the laws governing RUO products or how they are enforced may require a change to our business model in order to maintain compliance. For instance, in November 2013 the FDA issued the RUO Guidance, which highlights the FDA’s interpretation that distribution of RUO products with any labeling, advertising or promotion that suggests that clinical laboratories can validate the test through their own procedures and subsequently offer it for clinical diagnostic use as a laboratory, developed test is in conflict with RUO status. The RUO Guidance further articulates the FDA’s position that any assistance offered in performing
clinical validation or verification, or similar specialized technical support, to clinical laboratories conflicts with RUO status. If we engage in any activities that the FDA deems to be in conflict with the RUO status held by the applications and products that we sell, we may be subject to immediate, severe and broad FDA enforcement action that would adversely affect our ability to continue operations. Accordingly, if the FDA finds that we are distributing our RUO applications and products in a manner that is inconsistent with its regulations or guidance, we may be forced to stop distribution of our RUO tests until we are in compliance, which would reduce our revenues, increase our costs and adversely affect our business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition. In addition, the FDA’s proposed implementation for a new framework for the regulation of LDTs may negatively impact the LDT market and thereby reduce demand for RUO applications and products.
If the FDA requires marketing authorization of our RUO applications and products in the future, there can be no assurance that the FDA will ultimately grant any clearance or approval requested by us in a timely manner, or at all.
After a device is cleared or approved for marketing, numerous and pervasive regulatory requirements continue to apply. These include:
•establishment registration and device listing with the FDA;
•QSR requirements, which require manufacturers, including third-party manufacturers, to follow stringent design, testing, control, documentation and other quality assurance procedures during all aspects of the design and manufacturing process;
•labeling regulations and FDA prohibitions against the promotion of investigational products or the promotion of “off-label” uses of cleared or approved products;
•requirements related to promotional activities;
•clearance or approval of product modifications to 510(k)-cleared devices that could significantly affect safety or effectiveness or that would constitute a major change in intended use of one of our cleared devices, or approval of certain modifications to PMA-approved devices;
•medical device reporting regulations, which require that a manufacturer report to the FDA if a device it markets may have caused or contributed to a death or serious injury, or has malfunctioned and the device or a similar device that it markets would be likely to cause or contribute to a death or serious injury if the malfunction were to recur;
•correction, removal and recall reporting regulations, which require that manufacturers report to the FDA field corrections and product recalls or removals if undertaken to reduce a risk to health posed by the device or to remedy a violation of the FDCA that may present a risk to health;
•the FDA’s recall authority, whereby the agency can order device manufacturers to recall from the market a product that is in violation of governing laws and regulations; and
•post-market surveillance activities and regulations, which apply when deemed by the FDA to be necessary to protect the public health or to provide additional safety and effectiveness data for the device.
Device manufacturing processes are required to comply with the applicable portions of the QSR, which cover the methods and the facilities and controls for the design, manufacture, testing, production, processes, controls, quality assurance, labeling, packaging, distribution, installation and servicing of finished devices intended for human use. The QSR also requires, among other things, maintenance of a device master file, device history file and complaint files. Manufacturers are subject to periodic scheduled or unscheduled inspections by the FDA. A failure to maintain compliance with the QSR requirements could result in the shut-down of, or restrictions on, manufacturing operations and the recall or seizure of products. The discovery of previously unknown problems with products, including unanticipated adverse events or adverse events of increasing severity or frequency, whether resulting from the use of the device within the scope of its clearance or off-label by a physician in the
practice of medicine, could result in restrictions on the device, including the removal of the product from the market or voluntary or mandatory device recalls.
The FDA has broad regulatory compliance and enforcement powers. If the FDA determines that a manufacturer has failed to comply with applicable regulatory requirements, it can take a variety of compliance or enforcement actions, including the following:
•issuance of warning letters, untitled letters, fines, injunctions, consent decrees and civil penalties;
•requesting or requiring recalls, withdrawals or administrative detention, or seizure of our products;
•imposing operating restrictions or partial suspension or total shutdown of production;
•refusing or delaying requests for 510(k) marketing clearance or PMA approvals of new products or modified products;
•withdrawing 510(k) clearances or PMA approvals that have already been granted;
•refusal to grant export approvals for our products; or
Authorization to Market In Vitro Medical Devices in the European Economic Area
In the EEA, in vitro medical devices are currently required to conform with the essential requirements of the EU In Vitro Diagnostic Directive (IVDD Directive No 98/79/EC, as amended, the “IVDD”). The scope of 98/79/EC applies to IVD medical devices and accessories, which can include not just reagents and kits but also instruments and software. To demonstrate compliance, ISO 13485 is recognized as the harmonized standard for regulatory quality system compliance. Companies are required to meet the essential requirements of the IVDD.
EU IVD Regulatory Classification
The risk presented by a device determines the classification and therefore the level of control and regulatory review required. Annex II of the IVDD identifies specific device types that are categorized as either high risk (List A) or moderate risk (List B). General IVDs may self-certify without the intervention of a Notified Body in order to affix the CE Marking. Self-test IVDs, because of the greater risk associated with being used by untrained lay users, have special requirements, while all other devices not classified as either List A, List B or self-test are regarded as general IVDs. SOPHiA currently has self-certified applications and products in the EU market through SwissMedic.
On April 5, 2017, the EU adopted the new In Vitro Device Regulation (EU) 2017/746 (the “IVDR”), which repeals and replaces Directive No 98/79/EC effective May 2022. Unlike directives, which must be implemented into the national laws of the EU member states, a regulation is directly applicable, i.e., without the need for adoption of EU member state laws implementing them, in all EEA member states. The IVDR, among other things, is intended to establish a uniform, transparent, predictable and sustainable regulatory framework across the EU for in vitro diagnostic medical devices and ensure a high level of safety and health while supporting innovation. The IVDR will not become fully applicable until five years following its entry into force. Once applicable, the IVDR will, among other things:
•strengthen the rules on placing devices on the market and reinforce surveillance once they are available;
•establish explicit provisions on manufacturers’ responsibilities for the follow-up of the quality, performance and safety of devices placed on the market;
•improve the traceability of medical devices throughout the supply chain to the end-user or patient through a unique identification number; and
•set up a central database to provide patients, healthcare professionals and the public with comprehensive information on products available in the EU.
On October 14, 2021, the EU announced a proposal for an updated phased transitional period for in vitro diagnostic medical devices with a certificate issued by a notified body in accordance with the Directive. The proposal was approved by the EU Parliament and Council on December 15, 2021. The new transitional periods are May 2025 for class D devices, May 2026 for class C devices and May 2027 for class B and A sterile devices. Moreover, the application of certain requirements for devices manufactured and used in the same health institution (so-called ‘in-house devices') is delayed by two years until May 2024. If, however, the health institutions prove the unavailability of an equivalent device on the market, the transitional periods will end in May 2028. Any products currently on the market with a CE-IVD label before May 2022 may remain on the market until the new deadline or until the product undergoes a significant change, at which point, it must comply with all the requirements of the IVDR.
Brexit and the Regulatory Framework in the UK
On June 23, 2016, the electorate in the UK voted in favor of leaving the EU, commonly referred to as Brexit. On December 24, 2020, the UK and the EU entered into a Trade and Cooperation Agreement. The agreement sets out certain procedures for approval and recognition of medical products in each jurisdiction. Since the regulatory framework for medical products in the UK covering quality, safety and efficacy of medical products, clinical trials, marketing authorization, commercial sales and distribution of pharmaceutical medical is derived from EU directives and regulations, Brexit could materially impact the future regulatory regime which applies to medical products in the UK, as the UK legislation now has the potential to diverge from EU legislation. It remains to be seen how Brexit will impact regulatory requirements for medical products in the UK in the long-term. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency published detailed guidance for industry and organizations to follow from January 1, 2021, which will be updated as the UK’s regulatory position on medicinal products evolves over time.
Following Brexit and the end of the transition period, there may be regulatory divergence between UK and EU regulations. Manufacturers located outside of the UK are required to appoint a UK Responsible Person in order to register and sell their products within the territory. A new UKCA mark will replace the CE mark in Great Britain (CE marks or CE UKNI marks will be required in Northern Ireland). CE marks will continue to be recognized in Great Britain for medical devices until June 30, 2023. However, all medical devices and IVDs must be registered with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to be placed on the Great Britain market, subject to certain grace periods depending on the risk class of the medical device/IVD. From July 1, 2023, a UKCA mark will be required to place a device on the Great Britain market; however, manufacturers can use the UKCA mark on a voluntary basis prior to at least July 1, 2024. The nature of any new regulation in the UK is uncertain and as such we may experience delays in accessing the UK market.
EU-Swiss Institutional Framework Agreement
In May 2021, Switzerland decided to end seven years of negotiations with the EU and not sign the drafted EU-Swiss Institutional Framework Agreement (the “Framework Agreement”). The Framework Agreement was intended as the foundation to enhance and develop EU-Swiss bilateral relations for the future. In May 2022, Switzerland adopted the new Ordinance on In vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices (“IvDO”), which replaced the former agreement. Under the new regulation, in order to market products in Switzerland, companies that manufacture diagnostic and medical devices are required to register the products with the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products (“Swissmedic”) and label the products accordingly. Additionally, products manufactured in the Swiss facilities of companies are subject to additional and registration and representation requirements in order to be marketed within the European Economic Area (“EEA”), including but not limited to the appointment of an Authorized Representative.
Outside the United States, the EU, the UK and Switzerland, regulatory pathways for the marketing of medical devices vary greatly from country to country. In many countries, local regulatory agencies conduct an
independent review of medical devices prior to granting marketing approval and may require specific disclosure or localization to access the local market.
For instance, in Brazil all medical devices imported into or distributed within Brazil must first be registered with the Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária (“ANVISA”) or the National Health Surveillance Agency. ANVISA is an autonomous regulatory agency responsible for the regulation and oversight of medical devices and other medical products in Brazil, including the registration of medical devices and the maintenance of a registered products database. The medical device company must be located in Brazil or arrange for a licensed third-party company to be the Brazilian registration certificate title holder. Resolution RDC 36/2015 is the central regulation applicable to registration of in vitro diagnostic devices and Resolution RDC 751/2022, which became effective on March 1, 2023, covers software as medical devices in Brazil, describing the protocol and documents required, including localization into Brazilian Portuguese. Chapter II set forth of RDC 36/2015 the classification scheme, assigning devices to one of four risk classes, based upon various rules enumerated therein. This classification structure is aligned with the EU’s one. If a device fits into more than one risk classification, its final risk class is the one associated with the highest risk level. Class I and Class II registrations do not expire. Class III and IV registrations are valid for ten years. Registration renewals must be initiated no earlier than one year and no later than six months prior to expiration. Manufacturers are also subject to audits to ensure compliance with the Brazilian Good Manufacturing Practices (“BGMP”) prior to receiving authorization to sell from ANVISA. BGMP audits may be fulfilled through other audits by recognized entities through the Medical Device Single Audit Program. RUO products are labeled accordingly and are not subject to these registration requirements. While we are currently able to market our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, products and services in Brazil, including through our Brazilian subsidiary, any changes to the regulatory framework for RUO products could result in additional costs to us, including expenses related to additional audits, translations and registration fees, or delays in accessing the Brazilian market, including due to the time required to obtain necessary ANVISA approvals.
In Turkey, medical devices are regulated by the Medicines and Medical Devices Agency within Ministry of Health and pursuant to the Medical Device Regulation, the Regulation on Active Implantable Medical Devices and the Regulation on In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices. These regulations generally resemble analogous EU directives and regulations. To be sold in Turkey, medical devices must bear a CE mark and must subsequently be registered in the Turkish Ministry’s online database (Turkish Drug and Medical Device National Databank, or TITUBB) in order to be marketed in Turkey. Manufacturers without local presence in Turkey must appoint a Local Authorized Representative. A product will generally be considered a medical device if it is marketed as a medical device in the EU. In recent years, software and mobile application medical devices have been increasing and the Medicines and Medical Devices Agency has considered certain software and mobile applications as medical devices, taking into consideration their intended use. In March 2021, the Product Safety and Technical Regulations Law No. 7223 (the “Product Safety Law”) became effective. The Product Safety Law reconciled some outstanding differences between Turkish and EU product safety standards, providing in part for manufacturer and importer liability in the event that a noncompliant or unsafe product causes harm or damage and mandating recall of such products. Because the current regulatory framework in Turkey closely parallels the EU’s framework, we do not currently experience material difficulties in marketing our SOPHiA DDM Platform and related solutions, applications, products and services in Turkey that are unique to that jurisdiction.
Federal and State Health Care Laws
Federal Physician Self-Referral Prohibition
We are subject to the federal physician self-referral prohibition, commonly known as the Stark Law, and to comparable state laws. Together these restrictions generally prohibit us from billing a patient or governmental or private payor for certain designated health services, including clinical laboratory services, when the physician ordering the service, or a member of such physician’s immediate family, has a financial relationship, such as an ownership or investment interest in or compensation arrangement, with us, unless the relationship meets an applicable exception to the prohibition. Several Stark Law exceptions are relevant to many common financial relationships involving clinical laboratories and referring physicians, including: (1) fair market value compensation for the provision of items or services; (2) payments by physicians to a laboratory for clinical laboratory services; (3) space and equipment rental arrangements that satisfy certain requirements and (4) personal services arrangements that satisfy certain requirements. The laboratory cannot submit claims to the Medicare Part B program for services furnished in violation of the Stark Law and Medicaid reimbursements may be at risk as well. These prohibitions apply regardless of any intent by the parties to induce or reward
referrals or the reasons for the financial relationship and the referral. Penalties for violating the Stark Law include significant civil, criminal and administrative penalties, such as the return of funds received for all prohibited referrals, fines, civil monetary penalties, exclusion from the federal health care programs, integrity oversight and reporting obligations, and imprisonment. In addition, knowing violations of the Stark Law may also serve as the basis for liability under the federal False Claims Act (the “FCA”), which can result in additional civil and criminal penalties.
Federal Anti-Kickback Law
The AKS makes it a felony for a person or entity, including a clinical laboratory, to knowingly and willfully offer, pay, solicit or receive any remuneration, directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind, in order to induce business that is reimbursable under any federal health care program. The government may also assert that a claim that includes items or services resulting from a violation of the AKS constitutes a false or fraudulent claim under the FCA, which is discussed in greater detail below. Additionally, a person or entity does not need to have actual knowledge of the statute or specific intent to violate it in order to have committed a violation. Although the AKS applies only to items and services reimbursable under any federal health care program, a number of states have passed statutes substantially similar to the AKS that apply to all payors. Penalties for violations of such state laws include imprisonment and significant monetary fines. Federal and state law enforcement authorities scrutinize arrangements between health care providers and potential referral sources to ensure that the arrangements are not designed as a mechanism to induce patient care referrals or induce the purchase or prescribing of particular applications, products, or services. Generally, courts have taken a broad interpretation of the scope of the AKS, holding that the statute may be violated if merely one purpose of a payment arrangement is to induce referrals or purchases. In addition to statutory exceptions to the AKS, regulations provide for a number of safe harbors. If an arrangement meets the provisions of an applicable exception or safe harbor, it is deemed not to violate the AKS. An arrangement must fully comply with each element of an applicable exception or safe harbor in order to qualify for protection. Failure to meet the requirements of the safe harbor, however, does not render an arrangement illegal. Rather, the government may evaluate such arrangements on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all facts and circumstances.
Other Health Care Laws
In addition to the requirements discussed above, several other health care fraud and abuse laws could have an effect on our business.
The FCA prohibits, among other things, a person from knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval and from making, using, or causing to be made or used, a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim in order to secure payment or retain an overpayment by the federal government. In addition to actions initiated by the government itself, the statute authorizes actions to be brought on behalf of the federal government by a private party having knowledge of the alleged fraud. Because the complaint is initially filed under seal, the action may be pending for some time before the defendant is even aware of the action. If the government intervenes and is ultimately successful in obtaining redress in the matter or if the plaintiff succeeds in obtaining redress without the government’s involvement, then the plaintiff will receive a percentage of the recovery. Finally, the Social Security Act includes its own provisions that prohibit the filing of false claims or submitting false statements in order to obtain payment. Several states have enacted comparable false claims laws which may be broader in scope and apply regardless of payor.
The Social Security Act includes civil monetary penalty provisions that impose penalties against any person or entity that, among other things, is determined to have presented or caused to be presented a claim to a federal health program that the person knows or should know is for an item or service that was not provided as claimed or is false or fraudulent. In addition, a person who offers or provides to a Medicare or Medicaid beneficiary any remuneration, including waivers of co-payments and deductible amounts (or any part thereof), that the person knows or should know is likely to influence the beneficiary’s selection of a particular provider, practitioner or supplier of Medicare or Medicaid payable items or services may be liable under the civil monetary penalties statute. Moreover, in certain cases, providers who routinely waive copayments and deductibles for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, for example, in connection with patient assistance programs, can also be held liable under the AKS and FCA. One of the statutory exceptions to the prohibition is non-routine, unadvertised waivers of copayments or deductible amounts based on individualized determinations of financial need or exhaustion of reasonable collection efforts. The Office of Inspector General of the HHS emphasizes, however, that this exception should only be used occasionally to address special financial needs of a particular patient.
HIPAA created new federal criminal statutes that prohibit, among other actions, knowingly and willfully executing, or attempting to execute