Quiver Quantitative

Risk Factors Dashboard

Once a year, publicly traded companies issue a comprehensive report of their business, called a 10-K. A component mandated in the 10-K is the ‘Risk Factors’ section, where companies disclose any major potential risks that they may face. This dashboard highlights all major changes and additions in new 10K reports, allowing investors to quickly identify new potential risks and opportunities.

Risk Factors - VIVO

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Item 1A. Risk Factors” of Part I of this Form
10-K
and elsewhere in this Form
10-K.
These and other factors could cause results to differ materially from those expressed in our estimates and beliefs and in the estimates prepared by independent parties.
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PART I.
ITEM 1.
BUSINESS
Overview
Meridian is a fully-integrated life science company with principal businesses in: (i) the development, manufacture, sale and distribution of diagnostic testing systems and kits, primarily for certain gastrointestinal and respiratory infectious diseases, and elevated blood lead levels; and (ii) the manufacture and distribution of bulk antigens, antibodies, immunoassay blocking reagents, specialized Polymerase Chain Reaction (“PCR”) master mixes, and bioresearch reagents used by other diagnostic test manufacturers and researchers in immunological and molecular tests for human, animal, plant and environmental applications.
Our website is
www.meridianbioscience.com
. We make available our Annual Reports on Form
10-K,
Quarterly Reports on Form
10-Q,
Current Reports on Form
8-K,
Proxy Statements and any amendments thereto, free of charge through this website, as soon as reasonably practicable after such material has been electronically filed with or furnished to the SEC. The SEC maintains an internet site containing these filings and other information regarding Meridian at
www.sec.gov
. The information on our website is not and should not be considered part of this Form
10-K.
Reportable Segments
Our reportable segments are Diagnostics and Life Science, both of which are headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. We describe these reportable segments in this “Business” section and in other locations in this report:
Diagnostics Segment
Products and Markets
Prior to the onset of the
COVID-19
pandemic early in 2020, our largest source of net revenues was clinical diagnostic products, historically representing approximately
two-thirds
of our consolidated net revenues. However, primarily due to the effects of the
COVID-19
pandemic, our Diagnostics segment provided 40% of consolidated net revenues for fiscal 2021, following 48% of consolidated net revenues for fiscal 2020. In 2022, we expect our Diagnostics segment to contribute approximately 50% of our consolidated net revenues.
Our clinical diagnostic products provide accuracy, simplicity and speed; enable early diagnosis and treatment of acute medical conditions; and provide for better patient outcomes at reduced costs. We target diagnostics for disease states that: (i) are conditions where rapid diagnosis impacts patient outcomes; (ii) have opportunistic demographic and disease profiles; (iii) are underserved by current diagnostic products; and/or (iv) have difficult sample handling requirements (e.g., stool). This approach has allowed us to establish meaningful market share in our target disease states, gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses, and tests for elevated lead levels in blood.
Our product portfolio includes just under 200 diagnostic tests and transport media, and is marketed to acute care hospitals, reference laboratories, outpatient clinics and physician office laboratories in over 70 countries around the world. Our testing platforms include: Real-time PCR Amplification (Revogene brand); Isothermal DNA Amplification (Alethia brand); Lateral Flow Immunoassay using fluorescent chemistry (Curian brand); Rapid Immunoassay (Immuno
Card
and Immuno
Card
STAT! brands);
Enzyme-linked
Immunoassay (PREMIER brand); Anodic Stripping Voltammetry (LeadCare brands); and urea breath testing for
H. pylori
(BreathID and BreathTek brands).
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Our diagnostic assay research and development programs are focused on menu expansion for our Curian and Revogene instrument platforms, with disease targets in the gastrointestinal and respiratory areas, as well as next generation blood-chemistry testing. Currently pending clearance at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) is a 510(k) application for the Curian Campylobacter assay. Our current new product development pipeline includes gastrointestinal and respiratory multi-plex assays on our Revogene instrument platform, and EHEC Shiga Toxin and
C. difficile
combo common antigen and Toxins A and B on our Curian instrument platform. In addition, we have other assays on both platforms moving through our upstream marketing assessment processes that are expected to add to the development pipeline. For our BreathID platform, we are actively looking at the feasibility of combining Urea and Citrica into a single sachet or pouch, which would meaningfully improve our cost of manufacturing BreathID assays. We are also pursuing opportunities to complement our internal research and development programs by securing rights to finished diagnostics tests that we can immediately commercialize.
The April 2020 acquisition of Exalenz Bioscience Ltd. (“Exalenz”) and the BreathID system, along with the July 2021 acquisition of the BreathTek business, strengthened our position in
H. pylori
testing, as these products provide an alternative
non-invasive
testing approach versus stool antigen testing.
Market Trends
Despite the effects of the
COVID-19
pandemic and the intense focus on
SARS-CoV-2
testing, we believe the global market for infectious disease tests continues to expand as new disease states are identified, new therapies become available, and worldwide standards of living and access to health care improve. There is a continuing shift from conventional testing to more technologically advanced testing, which can be performed by less highly trained personnel and completed in minutes or hours.
The growing global pressures to contain total health care costs have accelerated the increased use of diagnostic testing. Integrated Delivery Networks (“IDNs”) in our U.S. market have the goal of increasing the efficiency of health care delivery, reducing spending and improving clinical outcomes. We believe our product portfolio positions us competitively with IDNs and health care systems that are transitioning from
fee-for-service
compensation models to value-based reimbursement.
We also continue to see aggregation of buying power in our U.S. market via multi-hospital group purchasing organizations and IDNs, consolidation among reference laboratories, hospital laboratories being operated by large reference laboratories, and acquisition of physician practices by hospitals, health systems and
for-profit
specialty health care companies.
Cost containment pressures have also affected health care systems outside the U.S., particularly in Europe, where the health care systems are generally
government-run.
The level of government budget deficits can have an adverse effect on the amount of government health care spend.
Sales, Marketing and Distribution
Our Diagnostics segment relies on direct sales personnel and independent distribution networks. We have a direct sales force in four countries, covering the United States (“U.S.”) and certain major markets in the EMEA region (i.e., in Europe, the Middle East and Africa). We also use independent distributors either in a complementary manner with our direct sales force (e.g., the U.S.) or solely to supply our products to
end-users.
We have two independent distribution customers and a reference laboratory customer that together comprised 33% of Diagnostics segment net revenues in fiscal 2021, with each contributing 10% or greater of the Diagnostics segment’s net revenues.
Competition
Our major competitors in molecular diagnostics are Cepheid (a Danaher business) and Becton Dickinson, both of which have systems with multiple-assay menus. We also face competition in molecular diagnostics, but to a lesser degree, from companies such as Abbott (former Alere business) and Quidel.
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Our major competitors in rapid immunoassay diagnostics are primarily Abbott (former Alere business) and Quidel. In recent years, companies such as bioMerieux have captured market share in our gastrointestinal category via its BioFire multi-plex panel tests. However, since their introduction to the market, payors have raised concerns over reimbursement levels relative to clinical utility, particularly for panels with 12 or more targets.
For blood lead testing, we believe we have the only
FDA-cleared,
CLIA-waived
point-of-care
test available commercially. Other blood lead testing systems in use, marketed by our competitors, include Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy, which requires a highly skilled technician and larger laboratory space to operate, in addition to not being portable or suitable for
point-of-care
use. See product recall discussion included in “Lead Testing Matters” beginning on page 29 within MD&A.
Research and Development
Our Diagnostics segment’s research and development personnel are organized into three
pre-clinical
teams: immunoassay,
PCR-based
molecular and blood-chemistry. We have a separate team responsible for execution of clinical trials across all three
pre-clinical
programs. Our research and development activities are focused on new product and new technology development, new applications for our existing technologies, and improvements to existing products, including assay-menu expansion. Research and development efforts may occur
in-house
or with collaborative partners. We believe that new product development is a key source for sustaining revenue growth. The products within our Revogene and Alethia molecular platforms,
H. pylori
product family and blood lead testing family were developed
in-house.
Manufacturing
Our diagnostics products are manufactured at four principal sites in Billerica, Massachusetts (blood-chemistry); Cincinnati, Ohio (immunoassays and molecular tests); Modi’in, Israel, (urea breath tests for
H. pylori
); and Quebec City, Quebec, Canada (molecular tests). Our immunoassay and molecular assay products require the production of highly specialized reagents, primers and enzymes, and our BreathID and BreathTek products require the production of urea in pharmaceutical-grade form. We produce the vast majority of our own immunoassay requirements. Reagents, primers and enzymes for our Revogene molecular assay products, primers for our Alethia molecular assay products, and urea for our BreathID and BreathTek systems are purchased from outside vendors. Our blood lead testing products require the production of electrical chemical sensors, which we manufacture using critical raw materials purchased from outside vendors.
Intellectual Property, Patents and Licenses
We own or license U.S. and foreign patents, most of which are for select products manufactured by our Diagnostics segment. These patents are used in our manufacturing processes for select products (e.g., method patents) or may relate to the design of the test device technology format (e.g., design patents). In the absence of patent protection, we may be vulnerable to competitors who successfully replicate our production and manufacturing technologies and processes. Our employees are required to sign confidentiality and
non-disclosure
agreements designed to protect our proprietary products.
The patents applicable to our Alethia products, which represented 4%, 7% and 12% of consolidated net revenues for fiscal 2021, 2020 and 2019, respectively, have been and continue to be licensed from a third party, Eiken Chemical Co., Ltd., under a
non-exclusive
license agreement, with the last remaining U.S. patent expiring in 2022.
The patents for the Revogene platform and related products acquired as part of the GenePOC business are either wholly owned or licensed from two third parties, Laval University and The Regents of California, under an exclusive license agreement. These patents are issued in the U.S., European Union (“EU”) and other countries. The term of our exclusive license agreement and the related patents currently runs through June 15, 2034, after which we will be free to practice the patents without any restriction or royalty obligation. In September 2021, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted to Meridian Bioscience Canada Inc. (a wholly owned subsidiary) and Laval University a patent for our current Revogene test device and its microfluidic use in our Revogene instrument.
The patents for the BreathID system and related urea breath test for
H. pylori
are either wholly owned or licensed from a third party, Oridion Medical 1987 Ltd., under an exclusive, royalty free, license agreement. The licensed and wholly owned patents are issued in the U.S., EU, Israel, Japan, Australia and China. The wholly owned patents have varying expiration dates, with the last being in 2033.
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The patents for our stool antigen
H. pylori
products, owned by us and which represented approximately 7%, 9% and 17% of consolidated net revenues for fiscal 2021, 2020 and 2019, respectively, expired in May 2016 in the U.S. and in May 2017 in countries outside the U.S. As a result, competition with respect to our stool antigen
H. pylori
products has increased, adversely impacting our selling prices for these products, and/or our ability to retain business at prices acceptable to us. To mitigate certain of the pricing and volume pressures we face within the gastrointestinal product category, we have: (i) operated under a strategic collaboration agreement with DiaSorin to sell
H. pylori
tests; (ii) adjusted selling prices to secure volume; and (iii) upon FDA clearance in March 2020, launched Curian HpSA, our first assay on the Curian platform, which we expect will help protect our existing customer base using lateral flow tests. We also expect the BreathID and BreathTek products to mitigate competitive pressures, as these products provide an alternative
non-invasive
option to stool antigen testing. We are unable to provide assurances that we will be successful with any strategy or that any strategy will prevent an adverse effect on our future results of operations and liquidity, including net revenues and gross profit.
Government Regulation
Our diagnostic products are regulated by the FDA as “devices” pursuant to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”). Under the FDCA, medical devices are classified into one of three classes (i.e., Class I, II or III). Class I and II devices are not expressly approved by the FDA, but, instead, are “cleared” for marketing. Class III devices generally must receive
“pre-market
approval” (“PMA”) from the FDA as to safety and effectiveness. Our diagnostics manufacturing facilities are subject to periodic inspection by the FDA. See page 29 within MD&A for discussion regarding the FDA’s inspection of our Billerica facility.
Each of the diagnostic products currently marketed by Meridian in the U.S. has been cleared, approved or authorized for use by the FDA or are exempt from such requirements. The majority of such products have been cleared by the FDA pursuant to its 510(k) clearance process, with our BreathTek product having been approved under the FDA’s PMA process. In the case of our Revogene
SARS-CoV-2
test, it has not been FDA cleared or approved but rather has been authorized by the FDA for emergency use under its Emergency Use Authorization (“EUA”) process. We believe that most products under development will be classified as Class I or II medical devices and, in the case of most of our Class I and all Class II devices, will be eligible for 510(k) clearance; however, we can make no assurances in this regard. Our urea breath test for
H. pylori
on the BreathID system was cleared as a Class I medical device since the urea drug component was approved by the FDA separately via the New Drug Application process. Our urea breath test for
H. pylori
on the BreathTek system was approved by the FDA via the PMA process in 2012. Our
SARS-CoV-2
test on the Revogene platform was submitted to the FDA under its EUA program on June 25, 2021, with EUA being granted on November 9, 2021.
Sales of our diagnostic products in foreign countries are subject to foreign government regulation, which is similar to that of the FDA. Our Diagnostics segment facilities are certified to ISO 13485.
Following a five-year transition period, sales of our diagnostic products in the EU will be subject to new regulations under the In Vitro Diagnostics Regulation of 2017 (“IVDR”) beginning in May 2022. IVDR replaces the previous IVD Regulation (98/79/EC). In October 2021, the European Commission submitted a proposal to the European Parliament that would move back the May 2022 implementation date for diagnostic tests that are currently CE Marked to dates ranging from May 2025 to May 2028, depending on the risk classification of the diagnostic test. We have completed an assessment of needed remediation activities to comply with IVDR and also determined that several products will not be sellable under IVDR. The net revenues associated with these products are not expected to be material. New diagnostic products launched after May 2022 are required to comply with IVDR.
Life Science Segment
Products and Markets
Our Life Science segment develops, manufactures, sells and distributes bulk antigens, antibodies, immunoassay blocking reagents, specialized PCR master mixes, isothermal reagents, enzymes, nucleotides, and bioresearch reagents used predominantly by in vitro device (“IVD”) manufacturing companies, and to a lesser degree, by researchers and
non-human
clinical customers such as veterinary, food and environmental. The
COVID-19
pandemic has provided the opportunity for our Life Science segment to showcase the breadth of its reagent products across not only
SARS-CoV-2
testing platforms (molecular, rapid antigen and serology), but also RNA and DNA based molecular tests for nearly any infectious disease. For fiscal 2021, approximately 87% of Life Science segment net revenues were generated from the industrial market, defined as IVD manufacturers, and reagents for use in
SARS-CoV-2
tests contributed approximately $111,900 of net revenues, following $71,500 in fiscal 2020. We engage direct sales teams in the U.S., the United Kingdom (“U.K.”), France, Germany, China and Australia. During fiscal 2021, 22% of net revenues for this segment were from three IVD manufacturing customers.
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Our Life Science segment products are marketed to IVD manufacturing customers as a source of raw materials for their human clinical diagnostics tests, or as an outsourced step in their manufacturing processes. Selectively, we seek and maintain multi-year supply arrangements to provide stability in volumes and pricing. Independent distributors market our molecular biology products to academic/research customers. These products are used in detecting DNA and RNA in human, animal, plant and environmental applications.
Market Trends
Major IVD manufacturing customers often have global footprints, where we are supplying reagents to specific manufacturing sites around the world. IVD manufacturers in specific countries of the Asia-Pacific region (e.g., China) are increasing their efforts in the development and manufacturing of infectious disease tests. We intend to use the breadth of our product portfolio, particularly molecular reagents, to continue to increase the penetration of our products in IVD manufacturing customers’ tests, regardless of customer class (large multi-national companies or regional companies).
Competition
The market for bulk biomedical reagents is highly competitive with respect to product quality, price, customer service and reputation. Our competitors, such as Thermo Fisher, often have greater financial, research and development, sales and marketing, and manufacturing resources. Customers also may choose to manufacture their biomedical reagents
in-house
rather than purchase from us.
Research and Development
Our research and development activities for the Life Science segment focus on molecular reagents for use in PCR and isothermal chemistries in detecting both DNA and RNA. Our new product development programs are progressing through sample-specific (e.g., blood, saliva, urine, stool, and plant) mixes in both
air-dryable
and lyophilization-ready forms, and isothermal reagents in both
air-dryable
and lyophilization-ready forms. We also have enzyme development programs that meet the EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals regulation. See “Operating Expenses” section on page 33 within MD&A.
Manufacturing and Government Regulation
Our Life Science segment facilities are ISO 13485 certified, and where appropriate, our Life Science segment facilities comply with Regulation EC 1069.
International Markets
International markets are an important source of net revenues and future growth opportunities for both of our reportable segments. For both reportable segments combined, net revenues from customers located outside of the U.S. and its territories approximated $173,000 or 55% of consolidated 2021 net revenues, $122,000 or 48% of consolidated 2020 net revenues, and $74,000 or 37% of consolidated 2019 net revenues. Since the outbreak of the
COVID-19
pandemic in fiscal 2020 and throughout fiscal 2021, a significantly higher percentage of our Life Science segment’s net revenues have been generated from international markets, and we expect to continue to look to key European and Asian markets as a source of revenue growth. For the Life Science segment, we also continue to focus resources on IVD manufacturing customers in China, India, Japan and Korea. To date, we have not experienced any adverse effects from the trade tensions between the U.S. and China, but we cannot be sure that we will not experience any adverse effects in the future.
Fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates in fiscal 2021 compared to fiscal 2020 had an approximate $9,200 favorable impact on consolidated 2021 net revenues; $1,300 within the Diagnostics segment and $7,900 within the Life Science segment. This compares to
year-to-year
currency exchange rates having an approximate $1,250 unfavorable impact on consolidated net revenues in 2020; $150 within the Diagnostics segment and $1,100 within the Life Science segment. In fiscal 2019, the unfavorable effect on net revenues totaled $2,200; $1,150 within the Diagnostics segment and $1,050 within the Life Science segment.
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Environmental
We are in compliance with applicable portions of the federal and state hazardous waste regulations and have never been a party to any environmental proceeding.
Human Capital
As of September 30, 2021, our Diagnostics segment had approximately 560 employees in ten countries, our Life Science segment had approximately 200 employees in seven countries, and Corporate had five employees, all in the U.S. Approximately 55% of our employees are women. In addition, of our U.S. based employees, which represents approximately 60% of our total worldwide workforce, approximately 25% are ethnically diverse.
Below is additional demographic information about our current employee base as of September 30, 2021.
We believe that developing a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture is critical to continuing to attract and retain the top talent necessary to deliver on our growth strategy. As such, we continue to invest in the creation of a work environment where our employees can feel inspired to deliver their workplace best every day. We continue to expand our Human Resources Information System (“HRIS”) and other systems to track key human capital metrics, including workforce demographics, diversity, turnover, engagement, and training data.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
In 2020, we initiated the “One Meridian Inclusion Diversity and Equity Team,” which is comprised of a group of employees around the world and led by Dr. Lourdes Weltzien, Executive Vice President, Life Science. This team has developed a mission statement and promotes awareness so we can encourage and support an environment in which all employees feel included and empowered to achieve their best.
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Compensation and Benefits
We strive to provide pay, benefits, and services that are competitive to market and create incentives to attract and retain employees globally. Our compensation packages include market-competitive pay, cash bonuses, health care and retirement benefits, paid time off, and family leave, among others, depending upon locale. We are focused on pay equity globally and are striving to close the gap in pay among similar roles and responsibilities in certain locations within our organization, after accounting for legitimate business factors that can explain differences, such as performance, time at grade level, and tenure. We intend to conduct market surveys every two years to assess market compensation levels from a total compensation perspective. We also continue to advance transparency in our pay and representation data by complying with all applicable statutory filing requirements.
Communication and Engagement
We strongly believe that Meridian’s success depends on employees understanding how their work contributes to the Company’s overall strategy. To this end, we utilize a variety of channels to facilitate open and direct communication, including: (i) One Meridian Company-wide intranet; (ii) quarterly CEO update videos; (iii) open forums or town hall meetings with executives; (iv) regular ongoing update communications; and (v) employee engagement surveys.
Health, Wellness and Safety
We are committed to the safety of our employees and communities, from operations to product development to supplier partnerships. Our ultimate goal is to achieve zero serious injuries through continued investment in, and focus on, our core safety programs and injury-reduction initiatives. We provide access to a variety of innovative, flexible, and convenient health and wellness tools.
ITEM 1A.
RISK FACTORS
In addition to the other information set forth in this report, you should carefully consider the following factors, which could materially affect our business, financial condition, cash flows or future results. Any one of these factors could cause our actual results to vary materially from recent results or from anticipated future results. The risks described below are not the only risks facing our company. Additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us, or that we currently deem to be immaterial, also may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and/or operating results.
Risk Factors Summary
Risks Related to Our Strategy
Our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be adversely affected by the ongoing and evolving
COVID-19
pandemic.
Net revenues for our Diagnostics segment may be impacted by our reliance upon large customers in North America, seasonal factors and sporadic outbreaks, and changing diagnostic market conditions.
Net revenues for our Life Science segment may be impacted by customer concentrations and buying patterns.
Intense competition could adversely affect our profitability and operating results.
We expect to continue to face increased competition resulting from the expiration of our
H. pylori
patents.
Risks Related to our Intellectual Property
We may be unable to protect or obtain adequate patent protection for intellectual property that we utilize or intend to utilize.
Product infringement claims by other companies could result in costly disputes and could limit our ability to sell our products.
Risks Related to our Operations
We may be unable to develop new products or acquire products on favorable terms.
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We may be unable to successfully integrate operations or to achieve expected cost savings from acquisitions we make.
The effective tax rate of the Company may be negatively impacted by changes in the mix of earnings as well as future changes to tax laws in global jurisdictions in which we operate.
Significant interruptions in production at our principal manufacturing facilities and/or third-party manufacturing facilities could adversely affect our business and operating results.
We depend on sole-source suppliers for certain critical raw materials, components and finished products. A supply interruption could adversely affect our business.
Our ability to meet future customer demand for selected products is dependent upon our ability to successfully manage our manufacturing capacity and supply chains.
Increased prices for, poor quality of, or extended inability to source raw materials or services used in our products, and supply chain disruptions, could adversely affect profitability.
Risks Related to Legal, Regulatory and International Matters
We are subject to comprehensive regulation, and our ability to earn profits may be restricted by these regulations.
If we or our third-party vendors fail to comply with FDA regulations relating to the manufacturing of our products or any component part, we may be subject to fines, injunctions and penalties, and our ability to commercially distribute and sell our products may be negatively impacted.
We incur costs and demands upon management as a result of complying with the laws and regulations affecting public companies in the U.S., and failure to comply with these laws could harm our business and the price of our common stock.
We could be adversely affected by health care reform legislation.
Efforts to reduce the U.S. federal deficit could adversely affect our results of operations.
Global market, political, environmental, and economic conditions, including those related to the financial markets, could have a material adverse effect on our operating results, financial condition, and liquidity.
We depend on international net revenues, and our operating results may be adversely impacted by foreign currency, regulatory or other developments affecting international markets.
New tariffs and other trade measures could adversely affect our operating results.
If product liability lawsuits are successfully brought against us, we may incur substantial liabilities and may have to limit or cease sales of our products.
Risks Related to Our Common Stock
The market price of our common stock may be volatile and fluctuate significantly, which could result in substantial losses for stockholders and subject us to litigation.
Our business could be negatively impacted as a result of shareholder activism, an unsolicited takeover proposal or a proxy contest.
The authority of our board to issue preferred stock and the effects of certain provisions of Ohio corporation law may discourage takeover bids.
General Risk Factors
One or more cybersecurity incidents may adversely impact our financial condition, results of operations and reputation.
Our business could be negatively affected if we are unable to attract, hire and retain key personnel.
Our bank credit agreement imposes restrictions with respect to our operations, which could adversely impact our business.
Risks Related to Our Strategy
Our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be adversely affected by the ongoing and evolving
COVID-19
pandemic.
Any outbreak of contagious diseases, such as
COVID-19,
or other adverse public health developments, could have material and adverse effects on our business operations. Such adverse effects could include diversion or prioritization of health care resources away from the conduct of diagnostic testing, disruptions of or restrictions on the ability of laboratories to process our tests, and delays with respect to or difficulties in patients accessing our tests, including those resulting from an inability to travel as a result of quarantines or other restrictions resulting from
COVID-19.
As
COVID-19
continues to affect individuals and businesses around the globe, we may experience disruptions that could severely impact our business, including:
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decreased volume of testing and related sales of certain of our Diagnostics segment products as a result of disruptions to health care providers and limitations on the ability of providers to administer tests;
disruptions or restrictions on the ability of the Company’s, our collaborators’, or our suppliers’ personnel to travel, and temporary closures of our facilities, or the facilities of our collaborators or suppliers;
limitations on employee resources that would otherwise be focused on the development of our products, the processing of our diagnostic tests, and/or the conduct of our clinical trials, because of illness of employees or their families, or requirements imposed on employees to avoid contact with large groups of people; and
delays in necessary interactions with local regulators, ethics committees, and other important agencies and contractors due to limitations in employee resources or forced furlough of government employees.
In addition, the continued spread of
COVID-19
globally could adversely affect our manufacturing and supply chains. Parts of our direct and indirect supply chains are located overseas, including in China, and may accordingly be subject to disruption. Additionally, our results of operations could be adversely affected to the extent that
COVID-19
or any other epidemic harms our business or the economy in general either domestically or in any other region in which we do business. The extent to which
COVID-19
affects our operations will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with confidence, including the duration of the outbreak, new information that may emerge concerning the severity of
COVID-19,
and the actions to contain
COVID-19
or treat its impact, among others, which could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. Over the course of the
COVID-19
pandemic, we have generally seen a slowing of our assay instrument placements and sales of related test kits, as diagnostic testing sites turned their attention to critical care testing. We are unable to predict when expected sales volume levels for our instruments and related test kits will return. Also, as a result of the
COVID-19
pandemic, certain clinical trials related to our products which were underway or scheduled to begin have been temporarily placed on hold. Such delays will impact our timing for filing applications for product clearances with the FDA, as well as related timing of FDA clearances of such filings. Additionally, the
COVID-19
pandemic could slow down our efforts to expand our product portfolio through acquisition opportunities, impacting the speed with which we are able to bring additional products to market.
Net revenues for our Diagnostics segment may be impacted by our reliance upon large customers in North America, seasonal factors and sporadic outbreaks, and changing diagnostic market conditions.
Key Distributors
Our Diagnostics segment’s net revenues from sales through three customers, including two key distributors, were approximately 33%, 32% and 31% of the Diagnostics segment’s total net revenues for 2021, 2020 and 2019, respectively, or approximately 13%, 15% and 21%, respectively, of each year’s consolidated net revenues. The loss of any one of these customers could negatively impact our net revenues and results of operations unless suitable alternatives were timely found or in the case of distributor customers, lost sales to one distributor were absorbed by another distributor. The loss of either of these distributors could negatively impact our revenues and results of operations unless suitable alternatives were timely found or lost sales to one distributor were absorbed by another distributor. Finding a suitable alternative on satisfactory terms may pose challenges in our industry’s competitive environment. As an alternative, we could expand our efforts to distribute and market our products directly. This alternative, however, would require substantial investment in additional sales, marketing and logistics resources, including hiring additional sales and customer service personnel, which would significantly increase our future selling, general and administrative expenses.
In addition, buying patterns of these customers may fluctuate from quarter to quarter, potentially leading to uneven concentration levels on a quarterly basis.
Seasonal Factors and Sporadic Outbreaks
Our principal business is the sale of a broad range of diagnostic test kits for common gastrointestinal and respiratory infectious diseases, and elevated blood lead levels. Certain infectious diseases may be seasonal in nature, while others may be associated with sporadic outbreaks, such as foodborne illnesses or pandemics such as an influenza outbreak or the
COVID-19
pandemic. While we believe that the breadth of our Diagnostics segment product lines normally reduces the risk that infections subject to seasonality and sporadic outbreaks will cause significant variability in Diagnostics segment net revenues, the
COVID-19
pandemic has had a significant adverse impact on our Diagnostics segment net revenues since it began in fiscal 2020. Accordingly, we can make no assurance that net revenues will not be negatively impacted period over period by such factors.
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Changing Diagnostic Market Conditions
Changes in the U.S. health care delivery system have resulted in consolidation among reference laboratories, hospital laboratories being operated by large reference laboratories, and the formation of multi-hospital alliances, reducing the number of institutional customers for diagnostic test products. Consolidation in the U.S. health care industry has also led to the creation of group purchasing organizations (“GPOs”) and IDNs that aggregate buying power for hospital groups and put pressure on our selling prices. Due to such consolidation, we may not be able to enter into and/or sustain contractual or other marketing or distribution arrangements on a satisfactory commercial basis with institutional customers, GPOs and/or IDNs, which could adversely affect our results of operations.
Net revenues for our Life Science segment may be impacted by customer concentrations and buying patterns.
Our Life Science segment’s net revenues from three diagnostic manufacturing customers were 22%, 30% and 27% of the Life Science segment’s total net revenues for 2021, 2020 and 2019, respectively. Sales to these three diagnostic manufacturing customers comprised 13%, 16% and 9% of consolidated net revenues for 2021, 2020 and 2019, respectively. Sales to these three diagnostic manufacturing customers comprised 14% and 8% of total consolidated revenues for fiscal 2020 and fiscal 2019, respectively. In addition, in excess of 10% of the Life Science segment’s total net revenues has historically been concentrated among a number of other significant customers. In addition, in excess of 10% of the segment’s total revenues has historically been concentrated among a number of other significant customers. Any significant alteration of buying patterns from these customers resulting from the decline in
COVID-19
related demand, or otherwise, could adversely affect our period over period net revenues and results of operations.
Intense competition could adversely affect our profitability and operating results.
The markets for our products and services are characterized by substantial competition and rapid change. Hundreds of companies around the world supply diagnostic tests and immunoassay and molecular reagents. These companies range from multinational health care entities, for which diagnostics is one line of business, to small
start-up
companies. Many of our competitors have significantly greater financial, technical, manufacturing and marketing resources than we do. We cannot provide assurance that our products and services will be able to compete successfully with the products and services of our competitors.
We expect to continue to face increased competition resulting from the expiration of our H. pylori patents.
The patents for our stool antigen
H. pylori
products, owned by us, expired in May 2016 in the U.S. and in May 2017 in countries outside the U.S. As a result, competition with respect to our stool antigen
H. pylori
products, high margin products which represent approximately 7% of our total net revenues has increased, adversely impacting our selling prices for these products, and/or our ability to retain business at prices acceptable to us. To mitigate certain of the pricing and volume pressures we face within the gastrointestinal product category, we have: (i) operated under a strategic collaboration agreement with DiaSorin to sell
H. pylori
tests; (ii) adjusted selling prices to secure volume; and (iii) upon FDA clearance in March 2020, launched Curian HpSA, our first assay on the Curian platform, which we expect will help protect our existing customer base using lateral flow tests. We also expect the BreathID and BreathTek products to mitigate competitive pressures, as these systems provide an alternative
non-invasive
option to stool antigen testing. We are unable to provide assurances that we will be successful with any strategy or that any strategy will prevent an adverse effect on our future results of operations and liquidity, including net revenues and gross profit.
Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property
We may be unable to protect or obtain adequate patent protection for intellectual property that we utilize or intend to utilize.
In developing and manufacturing our products, we employ a variety of proprietary and patented technologies. In addition, we have licensed, and expect to continue to license, various complementary technologies and methods from academic institutions and public and private companies. We cannot provide assurance that the technologies that we own or license provide protection from competitive threats or from challenges to our intellectual property. In addition, we cannot provide assurances that we will be successful in obtaining and retaining licenses, or proprietary or patented technologies, in the future.
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Product infringement claims by other companies could result in costly disputes and could limit our ability to sell our products.
Litigation over intellectual property rights is prevalent in the life science and diagnostic industries. As the market for diagnostics continues to grow and the number of participants in the market increases, we may increasingly be subject to patent infringement claims. It is possible that a third party may claim infringement against us. If found to infringe, we may attempt to obtain a license to such intellectual property; however, we may be unable to do so on favorable terms, or at all. Additionally, if our products are found to infringe on third-party intellectual property, we may be required to pay damages for past infringement and lose the ability to sell certain products, causing our revenues to decrease. Any substantial loss resulting from such a claim could have a material adverse effect on our profitability, and the damage to our reputation in the industry could have a material adverse effect on our future results of operations and liquidity, including net revenues and gross profit. Any substantial loss resulting from such a claim could have a material adverse effect on our profitability, and the damage to our reputation in the industry could have a material adverse effect on our business.
Risks Related to Our Operations
We may be unable to develop new products or acquire products on favorable terms.
The medical diagnostic and life science industries are characterized by ongoing technological developments and changing customer requirements. As such, our results of operations and continued growth depend, in part, on our ability in a timely manner to develop or acquire rights to, and successfully introduce into the marketplace, enhancements of existing products and services, or new products and services that incorporate technological advances, meet customer requirements, and/or respond to products developed by our competition. We cannot provide any assuranc