10-K 1 cutr20141231_10k.htm FORM 10-K cutr20141231_10k.htm Table Of Contents

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 


FORM 10-K

 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE

SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For fiscal year ended December 31, 2014

 

Commission file number: 000-50644

  

Cutera, Inc.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)  

     

Delaware

  

77-0492262

(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

  

(I.R.S. Employer Identification Number)

 

3240 Bayshore Blvd.

Brisbane, California 94005

(415) 657-5500

(Address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of registrant’s principal executive offices)

 


Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of Each Class

  

Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered

Common Stock, $0.001 par value per share

  

The NASDAQ Stock Market, LLC

 

Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.  Yes   No 

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.  Yes   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 than the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes   No 

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted 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 and post such files). Yes    No 

 

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of the registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, or a non-accelerated filer. See the definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act (check one):

 

Large accelerated filer  

Accelerated filer    

Non-accelerated filer (Do not check if a smaller

reporting company)  

Smaller reporting company  

 

Indicate by check mark whether registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).   Yes   No 

 

The aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock, held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2014 (which is the last business day of registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter) based upon the closing price of such stock on the NASDAQ Global Select Market on June 30, 2014, was approximately $85 million. For purposes of this disclosure, shares of common stock held by entities and individuals who own 5% or more of the outstanding common stock and shares of common stock held by each officer and director have been excluded in that such persons may be deemed to be “affiliates” as that term is defined under the Rules and Regulations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. This determination of affiliate status is not necessarily conclusive.

 

The number of shares of Registrant’s common stock issued and outstanding as of February 28, 2015 was 14,685,960.

 

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

 

Part III incorporates by reference certain information from the registrant’s definitive proxy statement for the 2015 Annual Meeting of Stockholders.

 

  

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

  

  

Page

PART I

  

  

  

  

  

Item 1.

Business

3

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

17

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

29

Item 2.

Properties

29

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

29

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

29

  

  

  

PART II

  

  

  

  

  

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

29

Item 6.

Selected Financial Data

32

Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

33

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

44

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

45

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

74

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

74

Item 9B.

Other Information

75

  

  

  

PART III

  

  

  

  

  

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

76

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

76

Item 12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

76

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

76

Item 14.

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

76

  

  

  

PART IV

  

  

  

  

  

Item 15.

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

77

 

 

 

PART I

  

ITEM 1.

BUSINESS

 

We are a global medical device company headquartered in Brisbane, California specializing in the design, development, manufacture, marketing and servicing of laser and other energy based aesthetics systems for practitioners worldwide. We offer easy-to-use products based on the following key product platforms: xeo®, Genesis PlusTM, excel VTM, truSculptTM, excel HRTM and enlightenTM — each of which enables physicians and other qualified practitioners to perform safe and effective aesthetic procedures for their customers. Each of our laser and other energy-based platforms consists of one or more hand pieces and a console that incorporates a universal graphical user interface, a laser or other energy-based module, control system software and high voltage electronics. However, depending on the application, the laser or other energy-based module is sometimes instead contained in the hand piece itself.

 

Our trademarks include: "Cutera," “CoolGlide,”“enlighten,” “excel HR, “excel V,”Genesis Plus,”“solera,” “titan,” “truSculpt,” and xeo.” Our logo and our other trade names, trademarks and service marks appearing in this document are our property. Other trade names, trademarks and service marks appearing in this annual report on Form 10-K are the property of their respective owners. Solely for convenience, our trademarks and trade names referred to in this annual report on Form 10-K appear without the ™ or ® symbols, but those references are not intended to indicate, in any way, that we will not assert, to the fullest extent under applicable law, our rights, or the right of the applicable licensor to these trademarks and trade names.

 

A description of each of our hand pieces, and the aesthetic conditions they are designed to treat, is contained in the section below entitled “Products” and a summary of the features of our primary products is as follows:

 

 

xeo- In 2003, we introduced the xeo platform, which can combine pulsed light and laser applications in a single system. The xeo is a multi-application platform on which a customer can purchase hand piece applications for the removal of unwanted hair, treatment of vascular lesions, and skin rejuvenation by treating discoloration, improving texture, reducing pore size, and treating fine lines and laxity. This multi-application platform represents the largest contributor to our Product revenue.

 

Genesis Plus- In 2010, we introduced the Genesis Plus platform, which is a dedicated laser system for performing aesthetic skin procedures and for the temporary increase of clear nail in patients with onychomycosis, or toenail fungus. This system features a hand piece that includes real time temperature monitoring of the treatment area, as well as a non-contact distance gauge using dual aiming beams that enhances ease of use. In addition, this system can be used to treat patients with skin concerns such as fine wrinkles, diffuse redness and rosacea.

 

excel V- In February 2011, we introduced our excel V platform, a high-performance, vascular platform designed specifically for the core-market of Dermatologists and Plastic Surgeons. This platform provides a combination of the 532 nanometer, or “nm” green laser with Cutera’s® award-winning 1064 nm Nd:YAG technology, to provide a single, compact and efficient system that treats the entire range of cosmetic vascular conditions, without the need for costly consumables.

 

truSculpt- In August 2012, we commenced shipments of our truSculpt platform with a 25cm2 hand piece. truSculpt is a high-powered radio frequency (“RF”) platform designed for the non-invasive body contouring market. This system is designed to treat all body areas and with its unique electrode design is able to achieve comfortable, uniform heating of the subcutaneous fat. In the fourth quarter of 2012, we commenced shipping a larger 40cm2 hand piece that enables faster treatments of larger areas. In the third quarter of 2013, we commenced shipping a smaller 16 cm2 hand piece.

 

excel HR- In June 2014, we introduced our excel HR platform, a premium hair removal solution for all skin types, combining Cutera’s proven long-pulse 1064 nm Nd:YAG laser and a high-power 755 nm Alexandrite laser with sapphire contact cooling.

 

enlighten- In December 2014, we introduced our enlighten platform, a dual wavelength (1064 nm + 532 nm) and dual pulse duration (750 picosecond, or “ps,” and 2 nanosecond, or “ns”) laser system for tattoo removal and the treatment of benign pigmented lesions.

  

Other than the above mentioned six primary systems, we continue to generate revenue from our legacy products such as CoolGlide®, solera®, and a third-party sourced system called myQTM for the Japanese market.

 

We offer our customers the ability to select the systems and applications that best fit their practice and to subsequently upgrade their systems to add new applications. This upgrade path allows our customers to cost-effectively build their aesthetic practices and provides us with a source of incremental revenue.

 

In addition to systems and upgrades, we generate revenue from the sale of post warranty services, Titan hand piece refills, and Dermal fillers and cosmeceuticals.

 

  

The Structure of Skin and Conditions that Affect Appearance

 

The skin is the body’s largest organ and is comprised of two layers called the epidermis and dermis. The epidermis is the outer layer, and serves as a protective barrier for the body. It contains cells that determine pigmentation, or skin color. The underlying layer of skin, the dermis, contains hair follicles and large and small blood vessels that are found at various depths below the epidermis. Collagen, also found within the dermis, provides strength and flexibility to the skin.

 

Many factors, including advancing age, smoking, and sun damage, can result in aesthetically unpleasant changes in the appearance of the skin. These changes can include:

 

 

Undesirable hair growth;

 

Enlargement or swelling of blood vessels due to circulatory changes that become visible at the skin’s surface in the form of unsightly veins;

 

Deterioration of collagen, leading to uneven texture, increased pore size, wrinkles and skin laxity;

 

Uneven pigmentation or sun spots due to long-term sun exposure.

 

In addition to these skin conditions, people seek removal of unwanted tattoos as well as removal of fat in certain body areas in order to improve their appearance and confidence.

 

The Market for Non-Surgical Aesthetic Procedures

 

The market for non-surgical aesthetic procedures has grown significantly over the past several years. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons estimates that in 2013 there were over 13.4 million minimally-invasive aesthetic procedures performed in North America, a 3% increase over 2012 and a 144% increase over 2000.

 

We believe there are several factors contributing to the growth of these aesthetic procedures:

 

 

Aging of the U.S. Population- The “baby boomer” demographic segment ─ ages 50 to 68 in 2014 ─ represented approximately 76 million people, or nearly 25%, of the U.S. population in 2014. The size and wealth of this aging segment, and its desire to retain a youthful appearance, has contributed to the growth in demand for aesthetic procedures.

 

Broader Range of Safe and Effective Treatments- Technical developments have led to safe, effective, easy-to-use and low-cost treatments with fewer side effects, resulting in broader adoption of aesthetic procedures by practitioners. In addition, technical developments have enabled practitioners to offer a broader range of treatments. These technical developments have reduced the required treatment and recovery times, which in turn have led to greater patient demand.

 

Broader Base of Customers- Managed care and government payer reimbursement restrictions in the U.S., and similar payment related constraints outside the U.S., may help motivate qualified practitioners from differing specialties to establish or expand their elective aesthetic practices with procedures that are paid for directly by patients. As a result, in addition to the core users such as dermatologists and plastic surgeons, many other non-core practitioners, such as gynecologists, family practitioners, primary care physicians, physicians offering aesthetic treatments in non-medical offices, and other qualified practitioners are offering aesthetic procedures.

 

Wide acceptance of aesthetic procedures and increased focus on body image and appearance- According to an ASAPS survey in 2010, 51% of Americans (including 53% of women and 49% of men) approved of cosmetic surgery, and 67% of Americans responded that they would not be embarrassed if their friends or family knew they had undergone a cosmetic procedure. Broader social acceptance of aesthetic treatments, and reduced average cost of treatments resulting from competition, have also driven the growth in aesthetic procedures.

 

Non-Surgical Aesthetic Procedures for Improving the Skin’s Appearance and Their Limitations

 

Many alternative therapies are available for improving a person’s appearance by treating specific structures within the skin. These procedures utilize injections or abrasive agents to reach different depths of the dermis and the epidermis. In addition, non-invasive and minimally-invasive treatments have been developed that employ laser and other energy-based technologies to achieve similar therapeutic results. Some of these more common therapies and their limitations are described below.

 

Hair Removal- Techniques for hair removal include waxing, depilatories, tweezing, shaving, electrolysis and laser and other energy-based hair removal. The only techniques that provide a long-lasting solution are electrolysis and other energy-based hair removal. Electrolysis is usually painful, time-consuming and expensive for large areas, but is the most common method for removing light-colored hair. During electrolysis, an electrologist inserts a needle directly into a hair follicle and activates an electric current in the needle. Since electrolysis only treats one hair follicle at a time, the treatment of an area as small as an upper lip may require numerous visits and many hours of treatment. In addition, electrolysis can cause blemishes and infection related to needle use.

 

Leg and Facial Veins- Current aesthetic treatment methods for leg and facial veins include sclerotherapy and laser and other energy-based treatments. With these treatments, patients seek to eliminate visible veins and improve overall skin appearance. Sclerotherapy requires a skilled practitioner to inject a saline or detergent-based solution into the target vein, which breaks down the vessel causing it to collapse and be absorbed into the body. The need to correctly position the needle on the inside of the vein makes it difficult to treat smaller veins, which limits the treatment of facial vessels and small leg veins. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons estimates that approximately 321,000 sclerotherapy procedures were performed in 2013.

 

  

Skin Rejuvenation- Skin rejuvenation treatments include a broad range of popular alternatives, including Botox and collagen injections, chemical peels, microdermabrasions, radio frequency treatments and lasers and other energy-based treatments. With these treatments, patients hope to improve overall skin tone and texture, reduce pore size, tighten skin and remove other signs of aging, including mottled pigmentation, diffuse redness and wrinkles. All of these procedures are temporary solutions and must be repeated within several weeks or months to sustain their effect, thereby increasing the cost and inconvenience to patients. For example, the body absorbs Botox and collagen and patients require supplemental injections every three to six months to maintain the benefits of these treatments.

 

Some skin rejuvenation treatments, such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion, can have undesirable side effects. Chemical peels use acidic or caustic solutions to peel away the epidermis, and microdermabrasion generally utilizes sand crystals to resurface the skin. These techniques can lead to stinging, redness, irritation and scabbing. In addition, more serious complications, such as changes in skin color, can result from deeper chemical peels. Patients that undergo these deep chemical peels are also advised to avoid exposure to the sun for several months following the procedure. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons estimates that in 2013, approximately 6.3 million injections of Botulinum Toxin and 2.24 million injections of collagen and other soft-tissue fillers were administered; and 1.16 million chemical peels and 970,000 microdermabrasion procedures were performed.

 

In radio frequency tissue tightening, energy is applied to heat the dermis of the skin with the goal of shrinking and tightening collagen fibers. This approach may result in a more subtle and incremental change to the skin than a surgical facelift. Drawbacks to this approach may include surface irregularities that may however resolve over time, and the risk of burning the treatment area.

 

Laser and other energy-based non-surgical treatments for hair removal, veins, skin rejuvenation and body contouring are discussed in the following section and in the section entitled “Our Applications and Procedures” below.

 

Laser and Other Energy-Based Aesthetic Treatments

 

Laser and other energy-based aesthetic treatments can achieve therapeutic results by affecting structures within the skin. The development of safe and effective aesthetic treatments has created a well-established market for these procedures.

 

Ablative skin resurfacing is a method of improving the appearance of the skin by removing the outer layers of the skin. Ablative skin resurfacing procedures are considered invasive or minimally invasive, depending on how much of the epidermis is removed during a treatment. Non-ablative skin resurfacing is a method of improving the appearance of the skin by treating the underlying structure of the skin without damaging the outer layers of the skin. Practitioners can use laser and other energy-based technologies to selectively target hair follicles, veins or collagen in the dermis, as well as cells responsible for pigmentation in the epidermis, without damaging surrounding tissue. Practitioners can also use these technologies to safely remove portions of the epidermis and deliver heat to the dermis as a means of generating new collagen growth.

 

Safe and effective laser and energy-based treatments require an appropriate combination of the following four parameters:

 

 

Energy Level- the amount of light or radio frequency emitted to heat a target;

 

Pulse Duration- the time interval over which the energy is delivered;

 

Spot Size or Electrode Size- the diameter of the energy beam, which affects treatment depth and area; and

 

Wavelength or Frequency- the position in the electromagnetic spectrum which impacts the absorption and therefore the effective depth of the energy delivered.

 

For example, in the case of hair removal, by utilizing the correct combination of these parameters, a practitioner can use a laser or other light source to selectively target melanin within the hair follicle to absorb the laser energy and destroy the follicle, without damaging other delicate structures in the surrounding tissue. Wavelength and spot size permit the practitioner to target melanin in the base of the hair follicle, which is found in the dermis. The combination of pulse duration and energy level may vary, depending upon the thickness of the targeted hair follicle. A shorter pulse length with a high energy level is optimal to destroy fine hair, whereas coarse hair is best treated with a longer pulse length with lower energy levels. If treatment parameters are improperly set, non-targeted structures within the skin may absorb the energy thereby eliminating or reducing the therapeutic effect. In addition, improper setting of the treatment parameters or failure to protect the surface of the skin may cause burns, which can result in blistering, scabbing and skin discoloration.

 

  

Technology and Design of Our Systems

 

Our unique xeo, Genesis Plus, excel V, truSculpt, excel HR and enlighten platforms provide the long-lasting benefits of laser and other energy-based aesthetic treatments. Our technology allows for a combination of a wide variety of applications available in a single system. Key features of our solutions include:

 

 

Multiple Applications Available in a Single System- Our platforms feature multiple-applications that enable practitioners to perform a variety of aesthetic procedures using a single device. These procedures include hair removal, vascular treatments and skin rejuvenation ─ including the treatment of discoloration, laxity, fine lines, pore size reduction, and uneven texture. Because practitioners can use our systems for multiple indications, the cost of a unit may be spread across a potentially greater number of patients and procedures and therefore may be more rapidly recovered.

 

Technology and Design Leadership- We offer innovative laser and other energy-based solutions for the aesthetic market. Our laser technology combines long wavelength, adjustable energy levels, variable spot sizes and a wide range of pulse durations, allowing practitioners to customize treatments for each patient and condition. Our proprietary pulsed light hand pieces for the treatment of discoloration, hair removal and vascular treatments optimize the wavelength used for treatments and incorporate a monitoring system to increase safety. Our Titan hand pieces utilize a novel light source that had not been previously used for aesthetic treatments. Our Pearl and Pearl Fractional hand pieces, with proprietary YSGG technology, represent the first application of the 2790 nm wavelength for minimally-invasive cosmetic dermatology. Further, our Genesis Plus platform performs aesthetic skin procedures and temporarily increases clear nail in patients with onychomycosis. The Genesis Plus platform contains a hand piece that includes real time temperature monitoring of the treatment area, as well as a non-contact distance gauge using dual aiming beams, for improving the clinical result of the treatment. excel V is a stand-alone laser device that combines a new high power green laser with Cutera's award winning Nd:YAG technology, to provide a system that treats the entire range of cosmetic vascular conditions, without the need for costly consumables. truSculpt is a mono-polar radio frequency platform and has a unique electrode design that delivers high-powered energy at 1 MHz for the deep and uniform heating of the subcutaneous fat tissues at sustained therapeutic temperatures. This system includes real-time skin temperature sensing and a large 40cm2 surface area for faster treatments over large areas of the body.

 

Upgradeable Platform- We have designed some of our products to allow our customers to cost-effectively upgrade to our multi-application systems (solera and xeo), which provide our customers with the option to add additional applications to their existing systems and provides us with a source of incremental revenue. We believe that product upgradeability allows our customers to take advantage of our latest product offerings and provide additional treatment options to their patients, thereby expanding the opportunities for their aesthetic practices.

 

Treatments for Broad Range of Skin Types and Conditions- Our products remove hair safely and effectively on patients of all skin types, including harder-to-treat patients with dark or tanned skin. In addition, the wide parameter range of our systems allows practitioners to effectively treat patients with both fine and coarse hair. Practitioners may use our products to treat spider and reticular veins (unsightly small veins in the leg) and small facial veins; perform skin rejuvenation procedures for discoloration, texture, pore size, fine lines, and laxity on any type of skin; and treat toenail fungus. The ability to customize treatment parameters enables practitioners to offer safe and effective therapies to a broad base of their patients.

 

Ease of Use- We design our products to be easy to use. Our proprietary hand pieces are lightweight and ergonomic, minimizing user fatigue, and allow for clear views of the treatment area, reducing the possibility of unintended damage and increasing the speed of application. Our control console contains a universal graphical user interface with three simple, independently adjustable controls from which to select a wide range of treatment parameters to suit each patient’s profile. The clinical navigation user interface on the xeo platform provides recommended clinical treatment parameter ranges based on patient criteria entered. And our Pearl and Pearl Fractional hand pieces include a scanner with multiple scan patterns to allow simple and fast treatments of the face. Risks involved in the use of our products include risks common to other laser and other energy-based aesthetic procedures, including the risk of burns, blistering and skin discoloration.

 

Strategy

 

Our goal is to maintain and expand our position as a leading, worldwide, provider of energy-based aesthetic devices and complementary aesthetic products by executing the following strategies:

 

 

Continue to Expand our Product Offering- Though we believe that our current portfolio of products is comprehensive, our research and development group has a pipeline of potential products under development that we expect to commercialize in the future. We launched GenesisPlus in 2010, excel V in 2011, truSculpt in 2012, the ProWave LX and truSculpt 16 cm2 hand pieces in 2013 and excel HR and enlighten in 2014. Such products will allow us to leverage our existing customer call points and provide us with new customer call points which will enhance the productivity of our distribution channels.

 

Increasing Revenue and Improving Productivity- We believe that the market for aesthetic systems will continue to offer growth opportunities. We continue to build brand recognition, add additional products to our international distribution channel, and are focused on enhancing our global distribution network, all of which we expect will increase our revenue.

 

Increasing Focus on Practitioners with Established Medical Offices- We believe there is growth opportunity in targeting our products to a broad customer base. However, in response to the 2009 to 2010 global recession, we shifted our focus to core practitioners and physicians with established medical offices. We believe that our customers’ success is largely dependent upon having an existing medical practice, in which our systems provide incremental revenue sources to augment their practice revenue. The success of our excel V platform has resulted from strong adoption by core customers in dermatology and plastic and reconstructive surgery.

 

Leveraging our Installed Base - With the introduction of excel V, truSculpt, and now excel HR and enlighten, we are able to effectively offer additional platforms into our existing installed base. In addition, each of these platforms allows for potential future upgrades to offer additional indications or capabilities. We believe this program aligns our interest in generating revenue with our customers’ interest in improving the return on their investment by expanding the range of applications that can be performed in their practice.

 

Generating Revenue from Services and Refillable Hand Pieces- Our Titan and pulsed-light hand pieces are refillable products, which provide us with a source of recurring revenue from our existing customers. We offer post-warranty services to our customers either through extended service contracts to cover preventive maintenance or through direct billing for parts and labor. These post-warranty services serve as additional sources of recurring revenue.

 

 

 

Products

 

Our CoolGlide, xeo, solera, Genesis Plus, excel V, truSculpt, myQ, excel HR and enlighten platforms allow for the delivery of multiple laser and energy-based aesthetic applications from a single system. With our xeo and solera platforms, practitioners can purchase customized systems with a variety of our multi-technology applications.

 

The following table lists our currently offered products and each checked box represents the applications that were included in the product in the years noted. In the fourth quarter of 2014, we discontinued the manufacture and sale of the VariLite product, but continue to provide services for this product to our existing installed base of customers.

 

Applications:              

Hair

 Removal:

 

Vascular

 Lesions:

  Skin Rejuvenation   Non Invasive Body Contouring:

System

Platforms:

 

Products:

 

Year:

 

Energy

 Source:

 

 

 

 

 

Dyschromia:

 

Texture,

 Lines and

 Wrinkles:

 

Skin

 Laxity:

 

Melasma &Tattoo

Removal:

   

CoolGlide

 

CV

 

2000

 

a

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

Excel

 

2001

 

a

 

x

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

Vantage

 

2002

 

a

 

x

 

x

 

 

 

x

     

 

   

xeo

 

Nd:YAG

 

2003

 

a

 

x

 

x

 

 

 

x

     

 

   

 

 

OPS600

 

2003

 

b

 

 

 

 

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

LP560

 

2004

 

b

 

 

 

 

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

Titan S

 

2004

 

c

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

x

       

 

 

ProWave 770

 

2005

 

b

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

AcuTip 500

 

2005

 

b

 

 

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

Titan V/XL

 

2006

 

c

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

x

       

 

 

LimeLight

 

2006

 

b

 

 

 

 

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

Pearl

 

2007

 

d

 

 

 

 

 

x

 

x

     

 

   

 

 

Pearl Fractional

 

2008

 

d

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

x

     

 

   
   

ProWave LX

 

2013

 

b

 

x

                       

solera

 

Titan S

 

2004

 

c

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

x

       

 

 

ProWave 770

 

2005

 

b

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

OPS 600

 

2005

 

b

 

 

 

 

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

LP560

 

2005

 

b

 

 

 

 

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

AcuTip 500

 

2005

 

b

 

 

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

Titan V/XL

 

2006

 

c

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

x

       

 

 

LimeLight

 

2006

 

b

 

 

 

 

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

GenesisPlus

     

2010

 

a

 

 

 

 

     

x

           

excel V

     

2011

 

e

     

x

 

x

 

x

           

myQ

     

2011

 

e

                     

x

   

truSculpt

     

2012

 

g

                         

x

excel HR

     

2014

 

h

 

x

                       

enlighten

     

2014

 

e

                     

x

   

 

Energy Source: a. 1064nm Nd:YAG laser; b. flashlamp; c. Infrared laser; d. 2790 nm YSGG laser; e. combined frequency-doubled 532 nm and 1064 nm Nd:YAG laser; f. Combined frequency-doubled 532 nm and 940 nm diode laser; g. Radio frequency at 1 MHz; h. combined frequency 755 nm Alexandrite laser and 1064 nm Nd:YAG laser

 

Each of our products consists of a control console and one or more hand pieces, depending on the model.

 

  

Control Console

 

Our control console includes a universal graphical user interface, control system software and high voltage electronics. All CoolGlide systems, Genesis Plus, excel V and some models of the xeo platform, include our laser module which consists of electronics, a visible aiming beam, a focusing lens, and an Nd:YAG and/or flashlamp laser that functions at wavelengths that permit penetration over a wide range of depths and is effective across all skin types. The interface allows the practitioner to set the appropriate laser or flashlamp parameters for each procedure through a user-friendly format. The control system software ensures that the operator’s instructions are properly communicated from the graphic user interface to the other components within the system. Our high voltage electronics produce over 10,000 watts of peak laser energy, which permits therapeutic effects at short pulse durations. Our solera console platform comes in two configurations—Opus and Titan—both of which include a universal graphical user interface, control system software and high voltage electronics. The solera Opus console is designed specifically to drive our flashlamp hand pieces while the solera Titan console is designed specifically to drive the Titan hand pieces. The control system software is designed to ensure that the operator’s instructions are properly communicated from the graphical user interface to the other components within the system and includes real-time calibration to control the output energy as the pulse is delivered during the treatment. Our truSculpt control console includes a high-powered, mono-polar RF generator at 1MHz capable of delivering up to 300 watts of energy. The truSculpt system dynamically adjusts current, voltage and power during treatment as needed to reach and maintain the appropriate treatment levels.

 

Hand Pieces

 

1064 nm Nd:YAG Hand Piece- Our 1064nm Nd:YAG hand piece delivers laser energy to the treatment area for hair removal, leg and facial vein treatment, and skin rejuvenation procedures to treat skin texture and fine lines, and reduce pore size. The 1064nm Nd:YAG hand piece consists of an energy-delivery component, consisting of an optical fiber and lens, and a copper cooling plate with imbedded temperature monitoring. The hand piece weighs approximately 14 ounces, which is light enough to be held with one hand. The lightweight nature and ergonomic design of the hand piece allows the operation of the device without user fatigue. Its design allows the practitioner an unobstructed view of the treatment area, which reduces the possibility of unintended damage to the skin and can increase the speed of treatment. The 1064nm Nd:YAG hand piece also incorporates our cooling system, providing integrated pre- and post-cooling of the treatment area through a temperature-controlled copper plate to protect the outer layer of the skin. The hand piece is available in either a fixed 10 millimeter spot size for our CoolGlide CV system, or a user-controlled variable 3, 5, 7 or 10 millimeter spot size for our CoolGlide Excel and CoolGlide Vantage systems.

 

excel V Hand Piece- The excel V system introduced in February 2011 delivers 1064 nm and 532 nm laser energy to the treatment area for vascular treatments. The excel V system supports two hand pieces, both consisting of an energy-delivery component housing an optical fiber and lens. One hand piece includes a sapphire window cooling plate with temperature monitoring. The second hand piece does not have a cooling plate and includes a non-contact temperature sensor to monitor the treatment area temperature. In addition, this second hand piece includes dual aiming beams that facilitate consistent treatments by maintaining the correct distance of the hand piece to the skin. Both hand pieces offer a spot size range from 1.5 to 12 mm in 0.1 mm increments. Each hand piece is capable of delivering either the 1064 nm or 532 nm laser energy.

 

Genesis Plus Hand Piece- Our Genesis Plus system launched in 2010 delivers 1064 nm laser energy to the treatment area for the temporary increase of clear nail in patients with onychomycosis and for the treatment of fine wrinkles, diffuse redness and rosacea. This lightweight 1064nm Nd:YAG hand piece consists of an energy-delivery component, housing an optical fiber and lens. The hand piece includes a non-contact temperature sensor to monitor the treatment area temperature. In addition, the hand piece includes dual, coaxial aiming beams that facilitate consistent treatments by maintaining the correct distance of the hand piece to the skin. This hand piece offers a single 5 mm spot size.

 

Pulsed Light Hand Piece- The LP560, ProWave 770, ProWave LX, AcuTip 500, and LimeLight hand pieces are designed to produce a pulse of light over a wavelength spectrum to treat discoloration such as age and sun spots and other dyschromia, hair removal, and superficial facial vessels. The hand pieces each consist of a custom flashlamp, proprietary wavelength filter, closed-loop power control and embedded temperature monitor, and weigh approximately 13 ounces. The filter in the AcuTip 500 eliminates long and short wavelengths, transmitting only the therapeutic range required for safe and effective treatment. The filter in the LP560, ProWave 770, ProWave LX, and LimeLight eliminates short wavelengths, allowing longer wavelengths to be transmitted to the treatment area. In addition, the wavelength spectrum of the ProWave 770 and the LimeLight can be shifted based on the setting of the control console. Our power control includes a monitoring system to ensure that the desired energy level is delivered. The hand pieces protect the epidermis by regulating the temperature of the hand piece window through the embedded temperature monitor. These hand pieces are available on the xeo and solera platforms.

 

  

Titan Hand Piece- The Titan hand pieces are designed to produce a sustained pulse of light over a wavelength spectrum tailored to induce heating in the dermis to treat skin laxity (although it is cleared in the U.S. by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, only for deep dermal heating). The hand piece consists of a custom light source, proprietary wavelength filter, closed-loop power control, sapphire cooling window and embedded temperature monitor, and weighs approximately three pounds. The temperature of the epidermis is controlled by using a sapphire window to provide cooling before, during and after the delivery of energy to the treatment site. We offer two different Titan hand pieces—Titan V and Titan XL.

 

 

Titan V- Titan V has a treatment tip that extends beyond the hand piece housing to provide enhanced visibility of the skin’s surface to effectively treat delicate areas such as the skin around the eyes and nose.

 

Titan XL- Titan XL, like the Titan V, has a treatment tip that extends beyond the housing for improved visibility. It also has a larger treatment spot size to treat larger body areas faster, such as the arms, abdomen and legs.

 

The Titan hand pieces can be used on the xeo and solera platforms. The Titan hand piece requires a periodic “refilling” process, which includes the replacement of the optical source, after a set number of pulses have been used. This provides us with a source of recurring revenue.

 

Pearl Hand Piece- The Pearl hand piece, introduced in 2007, is designed to treat fine lines, uneven texture and dyschromia through the application of proprietary YSGG laser technology. This hand piece can safely remove a small portion of the epidermis, while coagulating the remaining epidermis, leading to new collagen growth. The Pearl hand piece consists of a custom monolithic laser source, scanner and power monitoring electronics. The scanner includes multiple scan patterns to allow simple and fast treatments of the face. The hand piece includes an attachment for a smoke evacuator, allowing the practitioner to use one hand during treatment.

 

Pearl Fractional Hand Piece- The Pearl Fractional hand piece, introduced in 2008, also uses proprietary YSGG technology and is designed to treat wrinkles and deep dermal imperfections (although it is cleared in the U.S. by the FDA only for skin resurfacing and coagulation). This hand piece penetrates the deep dermis producing a series of micro-columns across the skin, which can result in the removal of damaged tissue and the production of new collagen. The Pearl Fractional hand piece consists of a custom monolithic laser source, scanner and power monitoring electronics. The scanner includes multiple scan patterns to allow simple and fast treatments of the face. The hand piece includes an attachment for a smoke evacuator, allowing the practitioner to use one hand during treatment.

 

truSculpt Hand Pieces- The truSculpt product introduced in August 2012 is used for the non-invasive heating of subcutaneous fat tissue. We sold three different truSculpt hand pieces in 2013. The original 25cm2 hand piece (now discontinued), 40 cm2 for larger body parts and the 16cm2 for smaller parts of the body. Each of the truSculpt hand pieces is light weight and ergonomically designed for operator comfort, which allows for the uniform heat distribution delivered by the hand pieces. In addition, the hand pieces have a built-in, real time, temperature sensing system to monitor the temperature during the treatment.

 

excel HR Hand Piece- The dual wavelength excel HR system introduced in June 2014 delivers 1064 nm and 755 nm laser energy to the treatment area for hair removal. excel HR’s single hand piece consists of an energy-delivery component housing an optical fiber and lens. The hand piece features a sapphire window and peripheral cooling plate with temperature monitoring. The sapphire window allows for 30 watts of temperature regulation with user selectable settings ranging from 4 to 20 degrees centigrade and provides cooling of the skin before, during, and immediately after each laser pulse. This “pre, parallel, and post” cooling provides an anesthetic benefit that makes treatments more comfortable than systems without contact cooling, and also increases the safety profile of treatments by reducing the chances of burning skin. The hand piece has a wide spot-size range between 3 to 18 mm (5 to 18 mm, alexandrite mode), and is adjustable in 1 mm increments.

 

enlighten Hand Piece- The dual wavelength and dual pulse mode enlighten system introduced in December 2014 delivers 532 nm and 1064 nm laser energy to treat benign pigmented lesions as well as the removal of multi-color tattoos. enlighten’s single hand piece consists of an energy-delivery component housing a motorized focus lens assembly connected to an articulated arm. The hand piece features spot size adjustability from 2 to 8mm, adjustable in 1 mm increments. As with all Cutera laser and light-based systems, the hand piece does not require manual power calibration through a separate calibration port. The power calibration is automatic and built into the laser system.

 

Upgrades

 

Our solera and xeo platforms are multi-application products that are designed to allow our customers to cost-effectively upgrade to our newest technologies, which provide our customers the option to add applications to their system and provides us with a source of recurring revenue.

 

Service

 

We offer post-warranty services to our customers through extended service contracts ─ that cover preventive maintenance and/or replacement parts and labor ─ as well as direct billing for detachable hand piece replacements, parts and labor. These post-warranty services serve as additional sources of recurring revenue from our installed base.

 

Titan and truSculpt Hand Piece Refills

 

When customers purchase a replacement Titan or truSculpt hand piece, we treat that as “refill” revenue, which provides us with a source of recurring revenue from existing customers. Following the launch of truSculpt product in 2012, we charged customers for hand piece refills, however, beginning in the third quarter of 2013 we included truSculpt refills as part of our standard warranty and service contract product offerings.

 

  

Fillers and Cosmeceuticals

 

We distribute ZO Skin Health, Inc.’s (“ZO”) physician-dispensed, topical skin health systems (or ‘cosmeceuticals’) and through the second quarter of 2014, we also distributed Merz’s Radiesse® dermal filler product to physicians in the Japanese market. Since the first quarter of 2010 we had been distributing Obagi Medical Products, Inc.’s (“Obagi”) cosmeceuticals. As of December 31, 2013 we stopped distributing the Obagi cosmeceuticals and have fully transitioned to the ZO product line.

 

Our Applications and Procedures

 

Our products are designed to allow the practitioner to select an appropriate combination of energy level, spot size and pulse duration for each treatment. The ability to manipulate the combinations of these parameters allows our customers to treat the broadest range of conditions available with a single energy-based system.

 

Hair Removal- Our laser technology allows our customers to treat all skin types and hair thicknesses. Our 1064 nm Nd:YAG and 755 nm Alexandrite lasers permits energy to safely penetrate through the epidermis of any skin type and into the dermis where the hair follicle is located. Using the universal graphic user interface on our control console, the practitioner sets parameters to deliver therapeutic energy with a large spot size and variable pulse durations, allowing the practitioner to treat fine or coarse hair. Our 1064nm Nd:YAG and 755 nm Alexandrite hand pieces allows our customers to treat all skin types, while our ProWave 770 and ProWave LX hand pieces, with pulsed light technology, treat the majority of skin types quickly and effectively.

 

For hair removal treatments, the treatment site on the skin is first cleaned and shaved. The practitioner then applies a thin layer of gel to improve contact and aid gliding of the hand piece across the skin. If using the CoolGlide 1064nm Nd:YAG hand piece, the hand piece is applied directly to the skin to cool the area to be treated, then moved and a laser pulse is delivered to the pre-cooled area. To remove hair using the excel HR, excel V, ProWave 770 and ProWave LX hand pieces, cooling is provided by a sapphire window placed directly on the skin, allowing the pulse of light to be applied while the treatment area is being cooled. In the case of both hand pieces, delivery of light which is converted to heat destroys the hair follicles and prevents hair re-growth. This procedure is then repeated at the next treatment site on the body, and can be done in a gliding motion to increase treatment speed. Patients receive on average three to six treatments. Each treatment can take between five minutes to one hour depending on the size of the area and the condition being treated. On average, there are six to eight weeks between treatments.

 

Vascular Lesions-   Our laser technology allows our customers to treat the widest range of aesthetic vein conditions, including spider and reticular veins and small facial veins. Our CoolGlide and xeo 1064nm Nd:YAG hand piece’s adjustable spot size of 3, 5, 7 or 10 millimeters; the excel V 1064 nm and 532 nm hand piece with adjustable spot sizes from 1.5 to 12 mm; and the excel HR 1064 nm and 755 nm hand pieces with adjustable spot sizes from 3 mm to 18 mm, allows the practitioner to control treatment depth to target different sized veins. Selection of the appropriate energy level and pulse duration ensures effective treatment of the intended target. Our AcuTip 500 hand piece, with its 6 millimeter spot size, uses pulsed-light technology and is designed for the treatment of facial vessels.

 

The vein treatment procedure when using the 1064nm Nd:YAG hand piece is performed in a substantially similar manner to the laser hair removal procedure. The laser hand piece is used to cool the treatment area both before and after the laser pulse has been applied. With the excel V and excel HR hand pieces the cooling can be performed pre, during and post-delivery of the laser pulse. With the AcuTip 500 hand piece, the pulse of light is delivered while the treatment area is being cooled with the sapphire tip. The delivered energy damages the vein and, over time, it is absorbed by the body. Patients receive on average between one and six treatments, with six weeks or longer between treatments.

 

Skin Rejuvenation- Our Nd:YAG laser and other energy based technologies allow our customers to perform non-invasive and minimally-invasive treatments that reduce redness, pore size, fine lines and laxity, improve skin texture, and treat other aesthetic conditions.

 

Tattoo Removal- Our enlighten dual wavelength, dual pulse duration system featuring picosecond technology and our myQ Q-switched laser can be used for tattoo removal, for the treatment of benign pigmented lesions, and for skin rejuvenation and laser skin toning.

 

Texture, Lines and Wrinkles- When using a 1064nm Nd:YAG laser to improve skin texture, reduce pore size and treat fine lines, cooling is not applied and the hand piece is held directly above the skin. A large number of pulses are directed at the treatment site, repeatedly covering an area, such as the cheek. By delivering many pulses of laser light to a treatment area, a gentle heating of the dermis occurs and collagen growth is stimulated to rejuvenate the skin and reduce wrinkles. Patients typically receive four to six treatments for this procedure. The treatment typically takes less than a half hour and there are typically two to four weeks between treatments.

 

  

When treating texture and fine lines with a Pearl hand piece, the hand piece is held at a controlled distance from the skin and the scanner delivers a preset pattern of spots to the treatment area. Cooling is not applied to the epidermis during the treatment. The energy delivered by the hand piece ablates a portion of the epidermis while leaving a coagulated portion that will gently peel off over the course of a few days. Heat is also delivered into the dermis which can result in the production of new collagen. Treatment of the full face can usually be performed in 15 to 30 minutes. Patients receive on average between one and three treatments at monthly intervals.

 

When treating wrinkles and deep dermal imperfections with a Pearl Fractional hand piece, the hand piece is held at a controlled distance from the skin and the scanner delivers a preset pattern of spots to the treatment area. Cooling is not applied to the epidermis during the treatment. The energy delivered by the hand piece penetrates the deep dermis producing a series of micro-columns across the skin, which can result in the removal of damaged tissue and the production of new collagen. Treatment of the full face can usually be performed in less than an hour. Patients receive on average between one and three treatments at monthly intervals.

 

Our CE Mark allows us to market Pearl Fractional in the European Union, Australia and certain other countries outside the U.S. for the treatment of wrinkles and deep dermal imperfections. However, in the U.S. we have a 510(k) clearance for only skin resurfacing and coagulation.

 

Toenail Fungus- In addition to performing skin rejuvenation, we have FDA, Health Canada and CE Mark approvals for Genesis Plus that allows us to market it for onychomycosis (“toenail fungus”). Tiny pulses of light from an Nd:YAG laser pass through the toenail to the fungus underneath, which is irradiated without any damage to the surrounding nail or skin. The Genesis Plus has dual aiming beams that facilitate consistent treatments by maintaining the correct distance of the hand piece to the skin. In addition, during the treatment an integrated sensor is used to actively monitor the temperature of the treatment area.

 

Dyschromia- Our pulsed-light technologies allow our customers to safely and effectively treat red and brown dyschromia, which is skin discoloration, pigmented lesions, and rosacea. The practitioner delivers a narrow spectrum of light to the surface of the skin through our LP560 or LimeLight hand pieces. These hand pieces include one of our proprietary wavelength filters, which reduce the energy level required for therapeutic effect and minimize the risk of skin injury.

 

In treating pigmented lesions with a pulsed-light technology, the hand piece is placed directly on the skin and then the light pulse is triggered. The cells forming the pigmented lesion absorb the light energy, darken and then flake off over the course of two to three weeks. Several treatments may be required to completely remove the lesion. The treatment takes a few minutes per area treated and there are typically three to four weeks between treatments.

 

The 532 nm wavelength green laser option on the excel V and the 755 nm infrared wavelength of the excel HR can also be used to treat pigmented lesions in substantially the same way as described above with the pulsed light devices.

 

Practitioners can also treat dyschromia and other skin conditions with our Pearl hand piece. During these treatments, the heat delivered by the Pearl hand piece will remove the outer layer of the epidermis while coagulating a portion of the epidermis. That coagulated portion will gently peel off over the course of a few days, revealing a new layer of skin underneath. Treatment of the full face can usually be performed in 15 to 30 minutes. Patients receive on average between one and three treatments at monthly intervals.

 

Skin Laxity- Our Titan technology allows our customers to use deep dermal heating to tighten lax skin. The practitioner delivers a spectrum of light to the skin through our Titan hand piece. This hand piece includes our proprietary light source and wavelength filter which tailors the delivered spectrum of light to provide heating at the desired depth in the skin.

 

In treating skin laxity, the hand piece is placed directly on the skin and then the light pulse is triggered. A sustained pulse causes significant heating in the dermis. This heating can cause immediate collagen contraction while also stimulating long-term collagen re-growth. Several treatments may be required to obtain the desired degree of tightening of the skin. The treatment of a full face can take over an hour and there are typically four weeks between treatments.

 

Our CE Mark allows us to market the Titan in the European Union, Australia and certain other countries outside the U.S. for the treatment of wrinkles through skin tightening. However, in the U.S. we have a 510(k) clearance for only deep dermal heating.

 

Non-Invasive Body Contouring- our truSculpt technology allows physicians to apply a hand piece directly to the skin and deliver high-powered RF energy that results in the deep and uniform heating of the subcutaneous fat tissue at sustained therapeutic temperatures. This heating can cause selective destruction of fat cells, which are eliminated from the treatment area through the body’s natural wound healing processes. The treatment takes approximately 45 minutes and two or more treatments may be required to obtain the desired aesthetic results.

 

Our CE Mark allows us to market the truSculpt in the European Union, and certain other countries outside the U.S. for fat reduction, body shaping and body contouring. In the U.S. we have 510(k) clearance for the purpose of elevating tissue temperature for the treatment of selected medical conditions such as relief of pain, muscle spasms, increase in local circulation, and the temporary improvement in the appearance of cellulite.

 

  

Sales and Marketing

 

In the U.S. we market and sell our products primarily through a direct sales organization. Generally, each direct sales employee is assigned a specific territory. As of December 31, 2014, we had a U.S. direct sales force of 33 employees. We internally manage our U.S. and Canadian sales organization as one North American sales region with 37 territories as of December 31, 2014.

 

International sales are generally made through a worldwide distributor network in over 40 countries, as well as a direct international sales force of 32 employees, as of December 31, 2014. As of December 31, 2014, we had direct sales offices in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Japan and Switzerland. Our international revenue as a percentage of total revenue represented 55% in 2014, 58% in 2013 and 59% in 2012.

  

We also sell certain items like Titan hand piece refills and marketing brochures through the internet.

 

Although specific customer requirements can vary depending on applications, customers generally demand quality, performance, ease of use, and high productivity in relation to the cost of ownership. We have responded to these customer demands by introducing new products focused on these requirements in the markets we serve. Specifically, we believe that we introduce new products and applications that are innovative, address the specific aesthetic procedures in demand, and are upgradeable on our customers’ existing systems. In addition, we provide attractive upgrade pricing to new product families and are responsive to our customers’ financing preferences. To increase market penetration, in addition to marketing to the core specialties of plastic surgeons and dermatologists, we also market to the non-core aesthetic practices consisting of gynecologists, primary care physicians, family practitioners, physicians offering aesthetic treatments in non-medical offices, podiatrists and other qualified practitioners.

 

We seek to establish strong ongoing relationships with our customers through the upgradeability of our products, sales of extended service contracts, the refilling of Titan hand pieces, ongoing training and support, and distributing (in Japan only) cosmeceutical products. We primarily target our marketing efforts to practitioners through office visits, workshops, trade shows, webinars and trade journals. We also market to potential patients through brochures, workshops and our website. In addition, we offer clinical forums with recognized expert panelists to promote advanced treatment techniques using our products to further enhance customer loyalty and uncover new sales opportunities.

 

Competition

 

Our industry is subject to intense competition. Our products compete against conventional non-energy-based treatments, such as electrolysis, Botox and collagen injections, chemical peels, microdermabrasion and sclerotherapy. Our products also compete against laser and other energy-based products offered by public companies, such as Cynosure, Elen (in Italy), Lumenis, Syneron and Zeltiq, as well as private companies, including, Alma, Sciton, and several others.

 

Competition among providers of laser and other energy-based devices for the aesthetic market is characterized by extensive research efforts and innovative technology. While we attempt to protect our products through patents and other intellectual property rights, there are few barriers to entry that would prevent new entrants or existing competitors from developing products that would compete directly with ours. There are many companies, both public and private, that are developing innovative devices that use both energy-based and alternative technologies. Some of these competitors have greater resources than we do or product applications for certain sub-markets in which we do not participate. Additional competitors may enter the market, and we are likely to compete with new companies in the future. To compete effectively, we have to demonstrate that our products are attractive alternatives to other devices and treatments by differentiating our products on the basis of performance, brand name, service and price. We have encountered, and expect to continue to encounter, potential customers who, due to existing relationships with our competitors, are committed to, or prefer the products offered by these competitors. Competitive pressures may result in price reductions and reduced margins for our products.

 

Research and Development

 

Our research and development group develops new products and applications and builds clinical support to address unmet or underserved market needs. As of December 31, 2014, our research and development activities were conducted by a staff of 38 employees with a broad base of experience in lasers, optoelectronics, software and other fields. We have developed relationships with outside contract engineering and design consultants, giving our team additional technical and creative breadth. We work closely with thought leaders and customers, to understand unmet needs and emerging applications in aesthetic medicine. Research and development expenses were approximately $10.5 million in 2014, $9.2 million in 2013 and $8.4 million in 2012.

 

  

Service and Support

 

Our products are engineered to enable quick and efficient service and support. There are several separate components of our products, each of which can easily be removed and replaced. We believe that quick and effective delivery of service is important to our customers. As of December 31, 2014, we had a 40-person global service department. Internationally, we provide direct service support through our Australia, Belgium, Canada, France and Japan offices, and also through the network of distributors and third-party service providers in over 40 countries. In February 2012, we acquired Iridex’s aesthetic business, which resulted in an increase in our service and support team and service revenue.

 

We provide a standard one-year warranty coverage for all of our systems. We provide initial warranties on our products to cover parts and service and offer extended service plans that vary by the type of product and the level of service desired. Our standard warranty on system consoles covers parts and service for a standard period of one year. From time to time, we also have promotions whereby we include a post-warranty service contract with the sale of our products. Customers are notified before their initial warranty expires and are able to choose from two different extended service plans covering preventative maintenance or replacement parts and labor. With effect from the third quarter of 2013, we included the refilling of truSculpt hand pieces in the initial warranty as well as service contracts offered to customers.

 

In the event a customer does not purchase an extended service plan, we will offer to service the customer’s system and charge the customer for time and materials. With respect to the truSculpt and other hand pieces, if a customer’s system is out of warranty and they have not purchased an extended service contract that covers hand piece replacements, then the customer is charged for their replacement hand piece.

 

Our Titan hand pieces generally include a warranty for a set number of shots, instead of for a period of time.

 

We have invested substantial financial and management resources to develop a worldwide infrastructure to meet the service needs of our customers through our direct operations in the U.S., Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Japan, and Switzerland. In countries where we are represented by distributor partners, our customers are serviced through the distributor network.

 

Manufacturing

 

We manufacture our products with components and subassemblies supplied by vendors. We assemble and test each of our products at our Brisbane, California facility. Quality control, cost reduction and inventory management are top priorities of our manufacturing operations.

 

We purchase certain components and subassemblies from a limited number of suppliers. We have flexibility with our suppliers to adjust the number of components and subassemblies as well as the delivery schedules. The forecasts we use are based on historical demands and sales projections. Lead times for components and subassemblies may vary significantly depending on the size of the order, time required to fabricate and test the components or subassemblies, specific supplier requirements and current market demand for the components and subassemblies. We reduce the potential for disruption of supply by maintaining sufficient inventories and identifying additional suppliers. The time required to qualify new suppliers for some components, or to redesign them, could cause delays in our manufacturing. To date, we have not experienced significant delays in obtaining any of our components or subassemblies.

 

We use small quantities of common cleaning products in our manufacturing operations, which are lawfully disposed of through a normal waste management program. We do not forecast any material costs due to compliance with environmental laws or regulations.

 

We are required to manufacture our products in compliance with the FDA’s Quality System Regulation, or QSR. The QSR covers the methods and documentation of the design, testing, control, manufacturing, labeling, quality assurance, packaging, storage and shipping of our products. The FDA enforces the QSR through periodic unannounced inspections. We had an FDA full quality system audit for three weeks during March 2014. There were no significant findings as a result of this audit and our responses have been accepted by the FDA. Our failure to maintain compliance with the QSR requirements could result in the shutdown of our manufacturing operations and the recall of our products, which would have a material adverse effect on business. In the event that one of our suppliers fails to maintain compliance with our quality requirements, we may have to qualify a new supplier and could experience manufacturing delays as a result. We have opted to maintain quality assurance and quality management certifications to enable us to market our products in the U.S., the member states of the European Union, the European Free Trade Association and countries which have entered into Mutual Recognition Agreements with the European Union. In January 2015, we passed our recertification audit establishing compliance with the most current requirements of EN ISO 13485:2012, CAN/CSA ISO 13485:2003, and MDD 93/42/EEC. Our manufacturing facility is ISO 13485 certified.

 

  

Patents and Proprietary Technology

 

We rely on a combination of patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret laws, and non-disclosure, confidentiality and invention assignment agreements to protect our intellectual property rights. As of December 31, 2014, we had 34 issued U.S. patents and 5 pending U.S. patent applications. In the U.S. and several foreign countries, we have registered our Company name and several of our product names as trademarks, including Cutera, Acutip 500, CoolGlide, CoolGlide Excel, Limelight, myQ, Pearl, ProWave 770, ProWave LX, solera, Titan, xeo and truSculpt. We may have common law rights in other product names, including excel V, Pearl Fractional, solera Titan, excel HR and enlighten. We intend to file for additional patents and trademarks to continue to strengthen our intellectual property rights.

 

We license certain patents from Palomar (acquired by Cynosure in 2013) and pay ongoing royalties based on sales of applicable hair-removal products. The royalty rate on these products ranges from 3.75% to 7.50% of revenue. One patent expired in February 2013, the remaining U.S. patents expired in February 2015 and the remaining international patents are set to expire in February 2016. Our revenue from systems that do not include hair-removal capabilities (such as our solera Titan, xeo SA, GenesisPlus, myQ, excel V and enlighten), and other revenue from service contracts, Titan, Fillers and cosmeceuticals, are not subject to these royalties. In addition, in 2006 we capitalized $1.2 million as an intangible asset representing the ongoing license for these patents, which is being amortized on a straight-line basis over their expected useful life of 9-10 years.

 

Our employees and technical consultants are required to execute confidentiality agreements in connection with their employment and consulting relationships with us. We also require them to agree to disclose and assign to us all inventions conceived in connection with the relationship. We cannot provide any assurance that employees and consultants will abide by the confidentiality or assignability terms of their agreements. Despite measures taken to protect our intellectual property, unauthorized parties may copy aspects of our products or obtain and use information that we regard as proprietary.

 

Government Regulation

 

Our products are medical devices subject to extensive and rigorous regulation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as well as other regulatory bodies. FDA regulations govern the following activities that we perform and will continue to perform to ensure that medical products distributed domestically or exported internationally are safe and effective for their intended uses:

 

 

Product design and development;

 

Product testing;

 

Product manufacturing;

 

Product safety;

 

Product labeling;

 

Product storage;

 

Recordkeeping;

 

Pre-market clearance or approval;

 

Advertising and promotion;

 

Production;

 

Product sales and distribution; and

 

Complaint Handling.

 

FDA’s Pre-market Clearance and Approval Requirements

 

Unless an exemption applies, each medical device we wish to commercially distribute in the U.S. will require either prior 510(k) clearance or pre-market approval from the FDA. The FDA classifies medical devices into one of three classes. Devices deemed to pose lower risks are placed in either class I or II, which requires the manufacturer to submit to the FDA a pre-market notification requesting permission to commercially distribute the device. This process is generally known as 510(k) clearance. Some low risk devices are exempted from this requirement. Devices deemed by the FDA to pose the greatest risk, such as life-sustaining, life-supporting or implantable devices, or devices deemed not substantially equivalent to a previously cleared 510(k) device, are placed in class III, requiring pre-market approval. All of our current products are class II devices.

 

510(k) Clearance Pathway

 

When a 510(k) clearance is required, we must submit a pre-market notification demonstrating that our proposed device is substantially equivalent to a previously cleared 510(k) device or a device that was in commercial distribution before May 28, 1976 for which the FDA has not yet called for the submission of Pre-Market Approval, or PMA, applications. By regulation, the FDA is required to clear or deny a 510(k), pre-market notification within 90 days of submission of the application. As a practical matter, clearance often takes significantly longer. The FDA may require further information, including clinical data, to make a determination regarding substantial equivalence. Laser devices used for aesthetic procedures, such as hair removal, have generally qualified for clearance under 510(k) procedures.

 

  

The following table details the indications for which we received a 510(k) clearance for our products and when these clearances were received.

 

 

FDA Marketing Clearances:

  

Date Received:

Laser-based products:

  

  

- treatment of vascular lesions

  

June 1999

- hair removal

  

March 2000

- permanent hair reduction

  

January 2001

- treatment of benign pigmented lesions and pseudo folliculitis barbae, commonly referred to as razor bumps, and for the reduction of red pigmentation in scars

  

June 2002

- treatment of wrinkles

  

October 2002

- treatment to increase clear nail in patients with onychomycosis

April 2011

- expanded spot size to 5 mm for clear nail in patients with onychomycosis

May 2013

- addition of Alexandrite 755 nm laser wavelength for hair removal, permanent hair reduction and the treatment of vascular and benign pigmented lesions

 

December 2013

- enlighten picosecond and nanosecond 532/1064 nm for the treatment of benign pigmented lesions

 

August 2014

- enlighten picosecond and nanosecond 532/1064 nm for tattoo removal

 

November 2014

     

Pulsed-light technologies:

  

  

- treatment of pigmented lesions

  

March 2003

- hair removal and vascular treatments

  

March 2005

  

 

Infrared Titan technology for deep dermal heating for the temporary relief of minor muscle and joint pain and for the temporary increase in local circulation where applied

  

February 2004

  

 

Solera tabletop console:

  

 

- for use with the Titan hand piece

  

October 2004

- for use with our pulsed-light hand pieces

  

January 2005

  

 

Pearl product for the treatment of wrinkles

  

March 2007

  

 

Pearl Fractional product for skin resurfacing and coagulation

  

August 2008

     

truSculpt radio frequency (“RF”) product for deep tissue heating for the temporary relief of minor muscle and joint pain and for a temporary improvement in the appearance of cellulite

   

- 16cm2 to 25cm2 hand pieces for smaller body parts

 

April 2008

- 16cm2 to 40cm2 hand pieces for larger body parts

 

November 2012

- Product labeling and technology updates for existing clearances

 

September 2014

 

Pre-Market Approval (PMA) Pathway

 

A PMA must be submitted to the FDA if the device cannot be cleared through the 510(k) process. A PMA must be supported by extensive data, including but not limited to, technical, preclinical, clinical trials, manufacturing and labeling to demonstrate to the FDA’s satisfaction the safety and effectiveness of the device. No device that we have developed to date has required pre-market approval, although development of future devices or indications may require pre-market approval.

 

Product Modifications

 

We have modified aspects of our products since receiving regulatory clearance, but we believe that new 510(k) clearances are not required for these modifications. After a device receives 510(k) clearance or a PMA, any modification that could significantly affect its safety or effectiveness, or that would constitute a major change in its intended use, will require a new clearance or approval. The FDA requires each manufacturer to make this determination initially, but the FDA can review any such decision and can disagree with a manufacturer’s determination. If the FDA disagrees with our determination not to seek a new 510(k) clearance or PMA, the FDA may retroactively require us to seek 510(k) clearance or pre-market approval. The FDA could also require us to cease marketing and distribution and/or recall the modified device until 510(k) clearance or pre-market approval is obtained. Also, in these circumstances, we may be subject to significant regulatory fines or penalties.

 

Clinical Trials

 

When FDA approval of a class I, class II or class III device requires human clinical trials, and if the device presents a “significant risk,” as defined by the FDA, to human health, the device sponsor is required to file an Investigational Device Exemption, or IDE, application with the FDA and obtain IDE approval prior to commencing the human clinical trial. If the device is considered a “non-significant” risk, IDE submission to the FDA is not required. Instead, only approval from the Institutional Review Board, or IRB, overseeing the clinical trial is required. Human clinical studies are generally required in connection with approval of class III devices and may be required for class I and II devices. 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. The IDE must be approved in advance by the FDA for a specified number of patients. Clinical trials for a significant risk device may begin once the application is reviewed and cleared by the FDA and the appropriate institutional review boards at the clinical trial sites. Future clinical trials of our products may require that we submit and obtain clearance of an IDE from the FDA prior to commencing clinical trials. The FDA, and the IRB at each institution at which a clinical trial is being performed, may suspend a clinical trial at any time for various reasons, including a belief that the subjects are being exposed to an unacceptable health risk.

 

   

Pervasive and Continuing Regulation

 

After a device is placed on the market, numerous regulatory requirements apply. These include:

 

 

Quality system regulations, which require manufacturers, including third-party manufacturers, to follow stringent design, testing, control, documentation and other quality assurance procedures during all aspects of the manufacturing process;

 

Labeling regulations and FDA prohibitions against the promotion of products for un-cleared, unapproved or “off-label” uses;

 

Medical device reporting regulations, which require that manufacturers report to the FDA if their device may have caused or contributed to a death or serious injury or malfunctioned in a way that would likely cause or contribute to a death or serious injury if the malfunction were to recur; and

 

Post-market surveillance regulations, which apply when necessary to protect the public health or to provide additional safety and effectiveness data for the device. 

 

The FDA has broad post-market and regulatory enforcement powers. We are subject to unannounced inspections by the FDA and the Food and Drug Branch of the California Department of Health Services, or CDHS, to determine our compliance with the QSR and other regulations, and these inspections may include the manufacturing facilities of our subcontractors. In the past, our prior facility has been inspected, and observations were noted. There were no findings that involved a material violation of regulatory requirements. Our responses to these observations have been accepted by the FDA and CDHS, and we believe that we are in substantial compliance with the QSR. Our current manufacturing facility has been inspected by the FDA and the CDHS. The FDA and the CDHS noted observations, but there were no findings that involved a material violation of regulatory requirements. Our responses to those observations have been accepted by the FDA and CDHS.

 

We are also regulated under the Radiation Control for Health and Safety Act, which requires laser products to comply with performance standards, including design and operation requirements, and manufacturers to certify in product labeling and in reports to the FDA that their products comply with all such standards. The law also requires laser manufacturers to file new product and annual reports, maintain manufacturing, testing and sales records, and report product defects. Various warning labels must be affixed and certain protective devices installed, depending on the class of the product.

 

Failure to comply with applicable regulatory requirements can result in enforcement action by the FDA, which may include any of the following sanctions:

 

 

Warning letters, fines, injunctions, consent decrees and civil penalties;

 

Repair, replacement, recall or seizure of our products;

 

Operating restrictions or partial suspension or total shutdown of production;

 

Refusing our requests for 510(k) clearance or pre-market approval of new products, new intended uses, or modifications to existing products;

 

Withdrawing 510(k) clearance or pre-market approvals that have already been granted; and

 

Criminal prosecution.

 

The FDA also has the authority to require us to repair, replace or refund the cost of any medical device that we have manufactured or distributed. If any of these events were to occur, they could have a material adverse effect on our business.

 

We are also subject to a wide range of federal, state and local laws and regulations, including those related to the environment, health and safety, land use and quality assurance. We believe that compliance with these laws and regulations as currently in effect will not have a material adverse effect on our capital expenditures, earnings and competitive and financial position.

 

International

 

International sales of medical devices are subject to foreign governmental regulations, which vary substantially from country to country. The time required to obtain clearance or approval by a foreign country may be longer or shorter than that required for FDA clearance or approval, and the requirements may be different.

 

  

The primary regulatory environment in Europe is that of the European Union, which consists of a 27 countries encompassing most of the major countries in Europe. The member states of the European Free Trade Association have voluntarily adopted laws and regulations that mirror those of the European Union with respect to medical devices. Other countries, such as Switzerland, have entered into Mutual Recognition Agreements and allow the marketing of medical devices that meet European Union requirements. The European Union has adopted numerous directives and European Standardization Committees have promulgated voluntary standards regulating the design, manufacture, clinical trials, labeling and adverse event reporting for medical devices. Devices that comply with the requirements of a relevant directive will be entitled to bear CE conformity marking, indicating that the device conforms with the essential requirements of the applicable directives and, accordingly, can be commercially distributed throughout the member states of the European Union, the member states of the European Free Trade Association and countries which have entered into a Mutual Recognition Agreement. The method of assessing conformity varies depending on the type and class of the product, but normally involves a combination of self-assessment by the manufacturer and a third-party assessment by a Notified Body, an independent and neutral institution appointed by a country to conduct the conformity assessment. This third-party assessment may consist of an audit of the manufacturer’s quality system and specific testing of the manufacturer’s device. An assessment by a Notified Body in one member state of the European Union, the European Free Trade Association or one country which has entered into a Mutual Recognition Agreement is required in order for a manufacturer to commercially distribute the product throughout these countries. ISO 9001 and ISO 13845 certification are voluntary harmonized standards. Compliance establishes the presumption of conformity with the essential requirements for a CE Marking. In February 2000, our facility was awarded the ISO 9001 and EN 46001 certification. In March 2003, we received our ISO 9001 updated certification (ISO 9001:2000) as well as our certification for ISO 13485:1996 which replaced our EN 46001 certification. In March 2004, we received our ISO 13485:2003 certification and in March 2006, March 2010, February 2011 and January 2012 we passed ISO 13485 recertification audits. Our most recent recertification audit occurred in January 2015. We passed the audit establishing compliance with the most current requirements of EN ISO 13485:2012, CAN/CSA ISO 13485:2003, and MDD 93/42/EEC.

 

Employees

 

As of December 31, 2014, we had 266 employees, compared to 238 employees as of December 31, 2013. Of the 266 employees at December 31, 2014, 106 were in sales and marketing, 58 in manufacturing operations, 40 in technical service, 38 in research and development and 24 in general and administrative. We believe that our future success will depend in part on our continued ability to attract, hire and retain qualified personnel. None of our employees are represented by a labor union, and we believe our employee relations are good.

 

Available Information

 

We are subject to the reporting requirements under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Consequently, we are required to file reports and information with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, including reports on the following forms: annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These reports and other information concerning the company may be accessed through the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. Such filings, as well as our charters for our Audit and Compensation Committees and our Code of Ethics are available on our website at www.cutera.com. In the event that we grant a waiver under our Code of Ethics to any of our officers and directors, we will publish it on our website.

 

 ITEM 1A.

RISK FACTORS

 

We operate in a rapidly changing economic and technological environment that presents numerous risks, many of which are driven by factors that we cannot control or predict. Our business, financial condition and results of operations may be impacted by a number of factors. In addition to the factors discussed elsewhere in this report, the following risks and uncertainties could materially harm our business, financial condition or results of operations, including causing our actual results to differ materially from those projected in any forward-looking statements. The following list of significant risk factors is not all-inclusive or necessarily in order of importance. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us, or that we currently deem immaterial, also may materially adversely affect us in future periods. You should carefully consider these risks and uncertainties before investing in our securities.

 

Revenue from the U.S. represents a significant part of our total revenue. In 2014, our U.S. revenue increased by approximately 13%, compared to 2013. Unless our U.S. revenue continues to improve, we could experience a material adverse effect on our total revenue, profitability, employee retention and stock price.

 

Revenue from the U.S. represented 45% of our total revenue in 2014 compared to 42% in 2013. U.S. revenue increased by approximately 13% in 2014, compared to 2013, due to several factors, including:

 

 

In 2014, we expanded our North American direct sales force, restructured their compensation arrangements, and hired new sales management.

 

Historically, following a new product introduction, we experience revenue growth, compared to the same period in the prior year. We experienced revenue growth from our new enlighten and excel HR products launched in the fourth and second quarter of 2014, respectively, as well as continued growth of our excel V product.

 

 

 

There can be no assurance that we will continue to introduce new products each year, or that the new product introductions will translate into increased revenue in the long term in the U.S., or that the new direct sales employees and management hired to replace the departed sales employees will be effective and result in improved sales productivity. Further, if the current economic recovery does not continue, or there is another recession in the U.S., our future revenue would be adversely impacted.

 

Given the U.S. represents a significant source of our revenue, if our U.S. revenue does not improve further, we could experience a material adverse effect on our total revenue, profitability, employee retention and stock price.

 

In over five years we have only had two profitable quarters and we are unable to predict whether we will return to sustained quarterly profits in the future.

 

Although we had a profitable fourth quarter in 2009 and 2012, we have had net quarterly losses in each quarter since the third quarter of 2008. There is no guarantee that we will be profitable in the future and you should not rely on our operating results for any prior quarterly or annual periods as an indication of our future operating performance. Any predictions about the performance of our operations in the future may not be as accurate as they could be if we had a longer history of profitability.

 

Revenue growth in our business is driven by several factors and one such factor is new product introductions. While we generated revenue from sales of our newly released enlighten and excel HR product in the second, third and fourth quarters of 2014, and sales of our excel V platform increased in 2014 and 2013, compared with the respective prior years, sales of our truSculpt product introduced in 2012 have not gained a share of the market segment to the degree we had expected. If our total revenue does not continue to grow in 2015 compared to 2014, we may not be able to become profitable in future quarters.

 

In an effort to improve our revenue in 2014, we expanded our North American sales force and restructured their compensation arrangements, hired new senior sales management with prior experience in the aesthetic medical device industry, and have increased our marketing and promotional activities in North America. Given the time it takes to train new sales employees to sell our products and for the marketing efforts to yield in improved revenue, our total sales and marketing expenses increased to 41% of total net revenue in 2014, compared to 38% in 2013. If our North American revenue does not increase by more than our expenses, we may not be able to become profitable in future quarters.

 

Our ability to sustain profitability depends on the extent to which we can increase revenue and control our costs in order to, among other things, counter any unforeseen difficulties, complications, product delays or other unknown factors that may require additional expenditures. Because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with our growth prospects, product development, sales and marketing and other efforts, we are unable to predict the extent of our future profitability or losses. If our revenue does not achieve adequate growth in the future, we may continue to incur a quarterly net loss and may continue to consume cash in our operations in the future.

 

We rely heavily on our sales professionals to market and sell our products worldwide. If we are unable to hire, effectively train, manage, improve the productivity of, and retain the sales professionals, our business will be harmed, which would impair our future revenue and profitability.

 

Our success largely depends on our ability to hire, train, manage and improve the productivity levels of our sales professionals worldwide. Because of our focus on the non-core market in the past, several of our sales professionals do not have established relationships with core market physicians (dermatologists and plastic surgeons) or where those relationships exist, they are not very strong.

 

We have experienced direct sales employee and sales management turnover in North America for several reasons. One such reason was the consolidation of our specialty podiatry sales force into the mainstream aesthetic sales group in the third quarter of 2013. Further, competition for sales professionals who are familiar and trained to sell in the aesthetic equipment market continues to be strong. As a result, we have lost some of our sales people to our competitors. However, we have also hired a record number of new sales people, including several from our competitors. Several of our sales employees and sales management have been recently hired or recently transferred into different roles, and it will take time for them to be fully trained to improve their productivity. These factors have heavily impacted the revenue we derived from our products and upgrades in the 2014.

 

In 2014, we restructured our North American direct sales force and sales management, and expanded our direct sales force in North America. We have increased our efforts to hire high quality experienced sales professionals but there can be no guarantee that we will be able to retain all of the hired sales professionals or that they will all become productive in a short period of time. Our industry is characterized by a few established companies that compete vigorously for talented sales professionals. Further, as the economy in North America has rebounded from the recent recession, some of those sales professionals have left our company for jobs that they perceive to be better opportunities, both within and outside of the aesthetic industry. We believe that the sales employee turnover, restructuring and expansion of the sales force had a negative impact on our North American productivity in the 2014.

 

  

We train our existing and recently recruited sales professionals to better understand our existing and new product technologies and how they can be positioned against our competitors’ products. These initiatives are intended to improve the productivity of our sales professionals and our revenue and profitability. It takes time for the sales professionals to become productive following their training and there can be no assurance that the recently recruited sales professionals will be adequately trained in a timely manner, or that our direct sales productivity will improve, or that we will not experience significant levels of attrition in the future. If we are not able to improve the productivity and retention of our North American and international sales professionals, then our total revenue, profitability and stock price may be adversely impacted.

 

Measures we implement in an effort to recruit, retain, train and manage our sales professionals, strengthen their relationships with core market physicians, and improve their productivity may not be successful and may instead contribute to instability in our operations, additional departures from our sales organization, or further reduce our revenue and harm our business.

 

If our revenue does not improve, or if our cost of revenue and/or operating expenses increase by a greater percentage than our revenue, our gross margins and operating margins may be adversely impacted, our loss from operations will increase, and our cash used in operating activities will increase, which could reduce our assets and have a material adverse effect on our stock price.

 

Our gross margin (revenue less cost of revenue) was 56% for both 2014 and 2013. Our gross margin is impacted by the revenue that we generate and the costs incurred to generate the revenue. To the extent that our revenue declines, it is difficult to improve our gross margins as our fixed costs must be spread over a lower revenue base. Our future revenue may be adversely affected by a number of factors including the competitive market environment in which we operate which may result in a decrease in the number of units sold, a decrease in the number of applications per system purchased by customers, a decrease in the average selling prices achieved for our product sales, a shift in our product mix towards products with lower average selling prices, or a shift in our product mix towards products with lower margins.

 

Our cost of revenue may also be adversely impacted by various factors such as obsolescence of our inventory, impairment of our intangibles, increased expenses associated with the repair of defective products covered by our warranty program, utilization of our relatively fixed manufacturing costs, and a shift in our product mix towards products that have a higher cost of manufacturing.

 

We have also been investing significant resources in our research and development and sales and marketing activities. We have expanded our global direct sales force, and it may take time for our new sales professionals to become productive and for the revenue that they generate to become accretive to our operating income. We plan to continue making such investments in order to bring new products to market and to distribute them effectively. If these investments do not yield increased revenue, we may continue to generate losses and consume cash.

 

If our revenue does not improve, or if our cost of revenue increases by a greater percentage than our revenue, or if we are not able to reduce expenses in the event of a decline in revenue, we may continue to generate losses from operations and use cash, which could reduce our assets and have a material adverse effect on our operations and stock price.

 

The aesthetic equipment market is characterized by rapid innovation. To compete effectively, we must develop and/or acquire new products, market them successfully, and identify new markets for our technology.

 

We have created products to apply our technology to body contouring, hair removal, treatment of veins, tattoo removal, and skin rejuvenation, including the treatment of diffuse redness, skin laxity, fine lines, wrinkles, skin texture, pore size and pigmented lesions, etc. In the fourth quarter of 2014, we launched enlighten, a dual wavelength, dual pulse duration tattoo removal and benign pigmented lesions system featuring picosecond technology. Additionally, in the second quarter of 2014 we launched excel HR, a premium hair removal platform for all skin types. In 2012, we launched truSculpt for the body contouring market; and acquired VariLite for the treatment of vascular and pigmented lesions, which we discontinued selling in the fourth quarter of 2014. In 2011, we launched our vascular laser product – excel V – and began distribution of a Q-switched laser in Japan that Cutera is sourcing from a third party OEM for superficial and deep pigmented lesions (i.e., melasma), skin rejuvenation, laser skin toning and tattoo removal. Currently, these applications represent the majority of offered laser and other energy-based aesthetic procedures. In addition, since the first quarter of 2010, we have been distributing cosmeceuticals and dermal fillers in the Japanese market. In the second quarter of 2014, we terminated our agreement with Merz for the distribution of their Radiesse dermal filler product. To grow in the future, we must continue to develop and/or acquire new and innovative aesthetic products and applications, identify new markets, and successfully launch the newly acquired or developed product offerings.

 

  

To successfully expand our product offerings, we must, among other things:

 

 

Develop and acquire new products that either add to or significantly improve our current product offerings;

 

Convince our existing and prospective customers that our product offerings are an attractive revenue-generating addition to their practice;

 

Sell our product offerings to a broad customer base;

 

Identify new markets and alternative applications for our technology;

 

Protect our existing and future products with defensible intellectual property; and

 

Satisfy and maintain all regulatory requirements for commercialization.

 

Historically, product introductions have been a significant component of our financial performance. To be successful in the aesthetics industry, we need to continue to innovate. Our business strategy has therefore been based, in part, on our expectation that we will continue to increase our product offerings. We need to continue to devote substantial research and development resources to make new product introductions, which can be costly and time consuming to our organization.

 

We also believe that, to increase revenue from sales of new products, we need to continue to develop our clinical support, further expand and nurture relationships with industry thought leaders and increase market awareness of the benefits of our new products. However, even with a significant investment in research and development, we may be unable to continue to develop, acquire or effectively launch and market new products and technologies regularly, or at all. If we fail to successfully commercialize new products, our business may be harmed.

 

While we attempt to protect our products through patents and other intellectual property, there are few barriers to entry that would prevent new entrants or existing competitors from developing products that compete directly with ours. We expect that any competitive advantage we may enjoy from current and future innovations may diminish over time as companies successfully respond to our, or create their own, innovations. Consequently, we believe that we will have to continuously innovate and improve our products and technology to compete successfully. If we are unable to innovate successfully, our products could become obsolete and our revenue could decline as our customers and prospects purchase our competitors’ products.

 

Demand for our products in any of our markets could be weakened by several factors, including:

 

 

Our ability to develop and market our products to the core market specialties of dermatologists and plastic surgeons;

 

Poor financial performance of market segments that try introducing aesthetic procedures to their businesses;

 

The inability to differentiate our products from those of our competitors;

 

Reduced patient demand for elective aesthetic procedures;

 

Failure to build and maintain relationships with opinion leaders within the various market segments;

 

An increase in malpractice lawsuits that result in higher insurance costs; and

 

The lack of credit financing for some of our potential customers.

 

If we do not achieve anticipated demand for our products, there could be a material adverse effect on our total revenue, profitability, employee retention and stock price.

 

Macroeconomic political and market conditions, and catastrophic events may adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and stock price.

 

Our business is influenced by a range of factors that are beyond our control, including:

 

 

General economic and business conditions;

 

The overall demand for our products by the core market specialties of dermatologists and plastic surgeons;

 

Governmental budgetary constraints or shifts in government spending priorities;

 

General political developments;

 

Natural disasters; and

 

Currency exchange rate fluctuations.

 

Macroeconomic developments like the global recession and the debt crisis in the U.S. and certain countries in the European Union, could negatively affect our business, operating results or financial condition which, in turn, could adversely affect our stock price. A general weakening of, and related declining corporate confidence in, the global economy or the curtailment in government or corporate spending could cause current or potential customers to reduce their budgets or be unable to fund product or upgrade application purchases, which could cause customers to delay, decrease or cancel purchases of our products and services or cause customers not to pay us or to delay paying us for previously purchased products and services.

 

In addition, political unrest in regions like the Middle East, terrorist attacks around the globe and the potential for other hostilities in various parts of the world, potential public health crises and natural disasters continue to contribute to a climate of economic and political uncertainty that could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition, including our revenue growth and profitability. For example, the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami and other collateral events in Japan adversely affected the demand for our products and services in the Japanese market.

 

  

Macroeconomic declines, negative political developments, adverse market conditions and catastrophic events may cause a decline in our revenue, negatively affect our operating results, adversely affect our cash flow and could result in a decline in our stock price.

 

To successfully market and sell our products internationally, we must address many issues that are unique to our international business.

 

International revenue represented 55% of our total revenue in 2014, compared to 58% in 2013. International revenue is a material component of our business strategy. We depend on third-party distributors and a direct sales force to sell our products internationally, and if they underperform, we may be unable to increase or maintain our level of international revenue. For example, our direct business in Japan and Canada as well as revenue from Asia Pacific distributors declined in year ended December 31, 2014, negatively impacting our revenue from international operations.

 

We have experienced significant turnover of our European sales team in the past. While we continue to have a direct sales and service organization in France, Belgium and Switzerland, a significant portion of our European revenue is generated through our network of distributors. Though we continue to evaluate and replace non-performing distributors, and have recently brought greater focus on collaborating with our distributor partners, there can be no assurance given that these initiatives will result in improved European-sourced revenue or profitability in the future.

 

To grow our business, we will need to improve productivity in current sales territories and expand into new territories. However, direct sales productivity may not improve and distributors may not accept our business or commit the necessary resources to market and sell our products to the level of our expectations. If we are not able to increase or maintain international revenue growth, our total revenue, profitability and stock price may be adversely impacted.

 

We believe, as we continue to manage our international operations and develop opportunities in additional international territories, our international revenue will be subject to a number of risks, including:

 

 

Difficulties in staffing and managing our foreign operations;

 

Export restrictions, trade regulations and foreign tax laws;

 

Fluctuating foreign currency exchange rates;

 

Foreign certification and regulatory requirements;

 

Lengthy payment cycles and difficulty in collecting accounts receivable;

 

Customs clearance and shipping delays;

 

Political and economic instability;

 

Lack of awareness of our brand in international markets;

 

Preference for locally-produced products; and

 

Reduced protection for intellectual property rights in some countries.

 

If one or more of these risks were realized, it could require us to dedicate significant resources to remedy the situation; and if we were unsuccessful at finding a solution, we may not be able to sell our products in a particular market and, as a result, our revenue may decline.

 

We are subject to fluctuations in the exchange rate of the U.S. Dollar and foreign currencies.

 

Foreign currency fluctuations could result in volatility of our revenue. We do not actively hedge our exposure to currency rate fluctuations. While we transact business primarily in U.S. Dollars, and a significant proportion of our revenue is denominated in U.S. Dollars, a portion of our costs and revenue is denominated in other currencies, such as the Euro, Japanese Yen, Australian Dollar and Canadian Dollar. As a result, changes in the exchange rates of these currencies to the U.S. Dollar will affect our results from operations. For example, as a result of the recent strengthening of the U.S. Dollar, relative to many other major currencies, our products priced in U.S. Dollars have become more expensive relative to products of our foreign competitors. In addition, our revenue earned in foreign currencies, such as our locally generated revenue in Japan, has been negatively impacted upon translation into U.S. Dollars. Both these factors had a negative impact on our international revenue in 2014, compared to 2013. Future foreign currency fluctuations could adversely impact and increase the volatility of our revenue, profitability and stock price.

 

  

Our ability to effectively compete and generate additional revenue from new and existing products depend upon our ability to distinguish our company and our products from our competitors and their products, and to develop and effectively market new and existing products. Our success is dependent on many factors, including the following:

 

 

Speed of new and innovative product development;

 

Effective strategy and execution of new product launches;

 

Identify and develop clinical support for new indications of our existing products;

 

Product performance;

 

Product pricing;

 

Quality of customer support;

 

Development of successful distribution channels, both domestically and internationally; and

 

Intellectual property protection.

 

To compete effectively, we have to demonstrate that our new and existing products are attractive alternatives to other devices and treatments, by differentiating our products on the basis of such factors as innovation, performance, brand name, service, and price. This is difficult to do, especially in a crowded aesthetic market. Some of our competitors have newer or different products and more established customer relationships than we do, which could inhibit our market penetration efforts. For example, we have encountered, and expect to continue to encounter, situations where, due to pre-existing relationships, potential customers decided to purchase additional products from our competitors. Potential customers also may need to recoup the cost of products that they have already purchased from our competitors and may decide not to purchase our products, or to delay such purchases. If we are unable to increase our market penetration or compete effectively, our revenue and profitability will be adversely impacted.

 

We compete against companies that offer alternative solutions to our products, or have greater resources, a larger installed base of customers and broader product offerings than ours. If we are not able to effectively compete with these companies, it may harm our business.

 

Our industry is subject to intense competition. Our products compete against similar products offered by public companies, such as Cynosure, Elen (in Italy), Lumenis, Solta (acquired by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. in January 2014), Syneron, as well as private companies such as Alma, Sciton and several other companies. Recently, there has been consolidation in the aesthetic industry leading to companies combining their resources. For example, Valeant acquired Solta in January 2014 and Cynosure acquired Palomar in June 2013. We are likely to compete with new companies in the future. Competition with these companies could result in reduced selling prices, reduced profit margins and loss of market share, any of which would harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

The energy-based aesthetic market faces competition from non-energy-based medical products, such as Botox, an injectable compound used to reduce wrinkles, and collagen injections. Other alternatives to the use of our products include electrolysis, a procedure involving the application of electric current to eliminate hair follicles, and chemical peels. We may also face competition from manufacturers of pharmaceutical and other products that have not yet been developed.

 

If there is not sufficient consumer demand for the procedures performed with our products, practitioner demand for our products could be inhibited, resulting in unfavorable operating results and reduced growth potential.

 

Continued expansion of the global market for laser and other-energy-based aesthetic procedures is a material assumption of our business strategy. Most procedures performed using our products are elective procedures not reimbursable through government or private health insurance, with the costs borne by the patient. The decision to utilize our products may therefore be influenced by a number of factors, including:

 

 

Consumer disposable income and access to consumer credit, which as a result of the unstable economy, may have been significantly impacted;

 

The cost of procedures performed using our products;

 

The cost, safety and effectiveness of alternative treatments, including treatments which are not based upon laser or other energy-based technologies and treatments which use pharmaceutical products;

 

The success of our sales and marketing efforts; and

 

The education of our customers and patients on the benefits and uses of our products, compared to competitors’ products and technologies.

 

If, as a result of these factors, there is not sufficient demand for the procedures performed with our products, practitioner demand for our products could be reduced, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, revenue and result of operations.

 

  

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the “FDA”), federal and state agencies and international regulatory bodies have broad enforcement powers. If we fail to comply with applicable regulatory requirements, it could result in enforcement action by the FDA, federal and state agencies or international regulatory bodies.

 

The FDA, state authorities and international regulatory bodies have broad enforcement powers. For example, in July 2012, we received a warning letter from the FDA concerning the promotional labeling for our GenesisPlus laser. The FDA determined that some of the claims, such as the one related to Skin Rejuvenation, constituted new Indications for Use and required additional 510(k) clearances. The FDA subsequently requested that we review the promotional labeling for all of our products to ensure our claims were within regulatory clearances and that we submit updated promotional labeling for our products to the FDA for their review. In October 2014, following the satisfactory review of our amended marketing materials and website, the FDA issued us a formal notice of closure of the warning letter.

 

If we fail to comply with any U.S. law or any of the applicable regulatory requirements of the FDA, or federal or state agencies, or one of the international regulatory bodies, it could result in enforcement action by the agencies, which may include any of the following sanctions:

 

 

Warning letters, fines, injunctions, consent decrees and civil penalties;

 

Repair, replacement, refund, recall or seizure of our products;

 

Operating restrictions or partial suspension or total shutdown of production;

 

Refusing our requests for 510(k) clearance or pre-market approval of new products, new intended uses, or modifications to existing products;

 

Withdrawing 510(k) clearance or pre-market approvals that have already been granted; and

 

Criminal prosecution.

 

If we fail to obtain or maintain necessary FDA clearances for our products and indications, if clearances for future products and indications are delayed or not issued, if there are federal or state level regulatory changes or if we are found to have violated applicable FDA marketing rules, our commercial operations would be harmed.

 

Our products are medical devices that are subject to extensive regulation in the U.S. by the FDA for manufacturing, labeling, sale, promotion, distribution and shipping. Before a new medical device, or a new use of or labeling claim for an existing product, can be marketed in the U.S., it must first receive either 510(k) clearance or pre-marketing approval from the FDA, unless an exemption applies. Either process can be expensive and lengthy. In the event that we do not obtain FDA clearances or approvals for our products, our ability to market and sell them in the U.S. and revenue derived from there may be adversely affected.

 

Medical devices may be marketed in the U.S. only for the indications for which they are approved or cleared by the FDA. For example, prior to April 2011 our GenesisPlus product had a number of general indications for use in the U.S. that allowed us to market the product in the U.S.; however, we could only market it for the treatment of toenail fungus outside of the US where it held CE Mark approval for this indication. In April 2011, we received FDA clearance to market GenesisPlus in the U.S. for the clearance of nails that are infected with toenail fungus. Another example is our Pearl Fractional product which is cleared only for skin resurfacing in the U.S. and our Titan product only for deep heating for the temporary relief of muscle aches and pains in the U.S. Therefore, we are prevented from promoting or advertising Titan and Pearl Fractional in the U.S. for any other indications. If we fail to comply with these regulations, it could result in enforcement action by the FDA which could lead to such consequences as warning letters, adverse publicity, criminal enforcement action and/or third-party civil litigation, each of which could adversely affect us.

 

We have obtained 510(k) clearance for the indications for which we market our products. However, our clearances can be revoked if safety or effectiveness problems develop. We also are subject to Medical Device Reporting regulations, which require us to report to the FDA if our products cause or contribute to a death or serious injury, or malfunction in a way that would likely cause or contribute to a death or serious injury. Our products are also subject to state regulations, which are, in many instances frequently changing. Changes in state regulations may impede sales. For example, federal regulations allow our products to be sold to, or on the order of, “licensed practitioners,” as determined on a state-by-state basis. As a result, in some states, non-physicians may legally purchase our products. However, a state could change its regulations at any time, thereby disallowing sales to particular types of end users. We cannot predict the impact or effect of future legislation or regulations at the federal or state levels.

 

Federal regulatory reforms and changes occurring at the FDA could adversely affect our ability to sell our products profitably and financial condition.

 

From time to time, legislation is drafted and introduced in Congress that could significantly change the statutory provisions governing the clearance or approval, manufacture and marketing of a device. It is impossible to predict whether legislative changes will be enacted or FDA regulations, guidance or interpretations changed, and what the impact of such changes, if any, may be.

 

In addition, FDA regulations and guidance are often revised or reinterpreted by the agency in ways that may significantly affect our business and our products. Changes in FDA regulations may lengthen the regulatory approval process for medical devices and require additional clinical data to support regulatory clearance for the sale and marketing of our new products. In addition, it may require additional safety monitoring, labeling changes, restrictions on product distribution or use, or other measures after the introduction of our products to market. Either of these changes lengthen the duration to market, increase our costs of doing business, adversely affect the future permitted uses of approved products, or otherwise adversely affect the market for our products.

 

  

If we fail to comply with the FDA’s Quality System Regulation and laser performance standards, our manufacturing operations could be halted, and our business would suffer.

 

We are currently required to demonstrate and maintain compliance with the FDA’s Quality System Regulation (the “QSR”). The QSR is a complex regulatory scheme that covers the methods and documentation of the design, testing, control, manufacturing, labeling, quality assurance, packaging, storage and shipping of our products. Because our products involve the use of lasers, our products also are covered by a performance standard for lasers set forth in FDA regulations. The laser performance standard imposes specific record-keeping, reporting, product testing and product labeling requirements. These requirements include affixing warning labels to laser products, as well as incorporating certain safety features in the design of laser products.

 

The FDA enforces the QSR and laser performance standards through periodic unannounced inspections. We have had multiple quality system audits by the FDA, our Notified Body, and other foreign regulatory agencies, with the most recent inspection by the FDA occurring over three weeks in March 2014. There were no significant findings and only one observation as a result of this audit. Our response to this observation was accepted by the FDA. Failure to take satisfactory corrective action in response to an adverse QSR inspection or our failure to comply with applicable laser performance standards could result in enforcement actions, including a public warning letter, a shutdown of our manufacturing operations, a recall of our products, civil or criminal penalties, or other sanctions, such as those described in the preceding paragraph, which would cause our sales and business to suffer.

 

If we modify one of our FDA-approved devices, we may need to seek re-approval, which, if not granted, would prevent us from selling our modified products or cause us to redesign our products.

 

Any modifications to an FDA-cleared device that would significantly affect its safety or effectiveness or that would constitute a major change in its intended use would require a new 510(k) clearance or possibly a pre-market approval. For example, we designed a larger 40cm2 hand piece for our truSculpt product and had to get that clearance from the FDA before we could market it, which clearance was received in November 2012. We may not be able to obtain additional 510(k) clearance or pre-market approvals for new products or for modifications to, or additional indications for, our existing products in a timely fashion, or at all. Delays in obtaining future clearance would adversely affect our ability to introduce new or enhanced products in a timely manner, which in turn would harm our revenue and future profitability.

 

We have made modifications to our devices in the past and may make additional modifications in the future that we believe do not or will not require additional clearance or approvals. If the FDA disagrees, and requires new clearances or approvals for the modifications, we may be required to recall and to stop marketing the modified devices, which could harm our operating results and require us to redesign our products.

 

We may be unable to obtain or maintain international regulatory qualifications or approvals for our current or future products and indications, which could harm our business.

 

Sales of our products outside the U.S. are subject to foreign regulatory requirements that vary widely from country to country. In addition, exports of medical devices from the U.S. are regulated by the FDA. Complying with international regulatory requirements can be an expensive and time-consuming process and approval is not certain. The time required for obtaining clearance or approvals, if required by other countries, may be longer than that required for FDA clearance or approvals, and requirements for such clearances or approvals may significantly differ from FDA requirements. We may be unable to obtain or maintain regulatory qualifications, clearances or approvals in other countries. We may also incur significant costs in attempting to obtain and in maintaining foreign regulatory approvals or qualifications. If we experience delays in receiving necessary qualifications, clearances or approvals to market our products outside the U.S., or if we fail to receive those qualifications, clearances or approvals, we may be unable to market our products or enhancements in international markets effectively, or at all, which could have a material adverse effect on our business and growth strategy.

 

Any defects in the design, material or workmanship of our products may not be discovered prior to shipment to customers, which could materially increase our expenses, adversely impact profitability and harm our business.

 

The design of our products is complex. To manufacture them successfully, we must procure quality components and employ individuals with a significant degree of technical expertise. If our designs are defective, or the material components used in our products are subject to wearing out, or if suppliers fail to deliver components to specification, or if our employees fail to properly assemble, test and package our products, the reliability and performance of our products will be adversely impacted.

 

If our products contain defects that cannot be repaired easily, inexpensively, or on a timely basis, we may experience:

 

 

Damage to our brand reputation;

 

Loss of customer orders and delay in order fulfillment;

 

Increased costs due to product repair or replacement;

 

Inability to attract new customers;

 

Diversion of resources from our manufacturing and research and development departments into our service department; and

 

Legal action.

 

The occurrence of any one or more of the foregoing could materially increase expenses, adversely impact profitability and harm our business.

 

  

We depend on skilled and experienced personnel to operate our business effectively. If we are unable to recruit, hire, train and retain these employees, our ability to manage and expand our business will be harmed, which would impair our future revenue and profitability.

 

Our success largely depends on the skills, experience and efforts of our officers and other key employees. Except for Change of Control and Severance Agreements for our executive officers and a few key employees, we do not have employment contracts with any of our officers or other key employees. Any of our officers and other key employees may terminate their employment at any time. We do not have a succession plan in place for each of our officers and key employees. In addition, we do not maintain “key person” life insurance policies covering any of our employees. The loss of any of our senior management team members could weaken our management expertise and harm our business.

 

Our ability to retain our skilled labor force and our success in attracting and hiring new skilled employees are critical factors in determining whether we will be successful in the future. We may not be able to meet our future hiring needs or retain existing personnel. The staff we hire to perform administrative functions may be become stretched due to our increased growth and they may not be able to perform their jobs effectively or efficiently as a result.

 

We may face particularly significant challenges and risks in hiring, training, managing and retaining engineering and sales and marketing employees. Failure to attract, train and retain personnel, particularly technical and sales and marketing personnel, would materially harm our ability to compete effectively and grow our business.

 

Product liability suits could be brought against us due to a defective design, material or workmanship or misuse of our products and could result in expensive and time-consuming litigation, payment of substantial damages and an increase in our insurance rates.

 

If our products are defectively designed, manufactured or labeled, contain defective components or are misused, we may become subject to substantial and costly litigation by our customers or their patients. Misusing our products or failing to adhere to operating guidelines could cause significant eye and skin damage, and underlying tissue damage. In addition, if our operating guidelines are found to be inadequate, we may be subject to liability. We have been involved, and may in the future be involved, in litigation related to the use of our products. Product liability claims could divert management’s attention from our core business, be expensive to defend and result in sizable damage awards against us. We may not have sufficient insurance coverage for all future claims. We may not be able to obtain insurance in amounts or scope sufficient to provide us with adequate coverage against all potential liabilities. 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, could harm our reputation in the industry and could reduce product sales. In addition, we historically experienced steep increases in our product liability insurance premiums as a percentage of revenue. If our premiums continue to rise, we may no longer be able to afford adequate insurance coverage.

 

If customers are not trained and/or our products are used by non-physicians, it could result in product misuse and adverse treatment outcomes, which could harm our reputation, result in product liability litigation, distract management, result in additional costs, all of which could harm our business.

 

Because we do not require training for users of our products, and sell our products at times to non-physicians, there exists an increased potential for misuse of our products, which could harm our reputation and our business. U.S. federal regulations allow us to sell our products to or on the order of “licensed practitioners.” The definition of “licensed practitioners” varies from state to state. As a result, our products may be purchased or operated by physicians with varying levels of training, and in many states, by non-physicians, including nurse practitioners, chiropractors and technicians. Outside the U.S. many jurisdictions do not require specific qualifications or training for purchasers or operators of our products. We do not supervise the procedures performed with our products, nor do we require that direct medical supervision occur. We and our distributors generally offer but do not require product training to the purchasers or operators of our products. In addition, we sometimes sell our systems to companies that rent our systems to third parties and that provide a technician to perform the procedures. The lack of training and the purchase and use of our products by non-physicians may result in product misuse and adverse treatment outcomes, which could harm our reputation and our business, and, in the event these result in product liability litigation, distract management and subject us to liability, including legal expenses.

 

  

In the past we entered into strategic alliances to distribute third party products internationally. To successfully market and sell these products, we must address many issues that are unique to these businesses and could reduce our available cash reserves and negatively impact our profitability.

 

In the past we entered into distribution arrangements pursuant to which we utilize our sales force and distributors to sell products manufactured by other companies. In Japan we distribute a Q-switched laser product manufactured by a third party OEM. We also have an agreement with ZO to distribute certain of their proprietary cosmeceuticals, or skin care products, in Japan. Each of these agreements requires us to purchase annual minimum dollar amounts of their product. If we do not make these minimum purchases, we could lose exclusivity for distributing these products to physicians in Japan. Finally, we had an agreement with Merz Aesthetics to distribute its Radiesse dermal filler product in Japan, but terminated this agreement in the second quarter of 2014.

 

Each of these distribution agreements presents its own unique risks and challenges. For example, to sell cosmeceutical products we need to invest in creating a sales structure that is experienced in the sale of cosmeceuticals and not in capital equipment. We need to commit resources to training this sales force, obtaining regulatory licenses in Japan and developing new marketing materials to promote the sale of cosmeceutical products. In addition, the minimum commitments and other costs of distributing products manufactured by these companies may exceed the incremental revenue that we derive from the sale of their products thereby negatively impacting our profitability and reducing our available cash reserves.

 

Adverse conditions in the global banking industry and credit markets may adversely impact the value of our marketable investments or impair our liquidity.

 

We invest our excess cash primarily in money market funds and in highly liquid debt instruments of the U.S. government and its agencies and U.S. municipalities, in commercial paper and high grade corporate debt. As of December 31, 2014, our balance in marketable investments was $71 million. The longer the duration of a security, the more susceptible it is to changes in market interest rates and bond yields. As yields increase, those securities with a lower yield-at-cost show a mark-to-market unrealized loss. For example, assuming a hypothetical increase in interest rates of one percentage point, the fair value of our total investment portfolio as of December 31, 2014 would have potentially decreased by approximately $612,000, resulting in an unrealized loss that would subsequently adversely impact our earnings. As a result, changes in the market interest rates will affect our future net income (loss).

 

The price of our common stock may fluctuate substantially due to several factors, some of which are discussed below. Further, we have a limited number of shares of common stock outstanding, a large portion of which is held by a small number of investors, which could result in the increase in volatility of our stock price.

 

As of December 31, 2014, approximately 53% of our outstanding shares of common stock were held by 10 institutional investors. As a result of our relatively small public float, our common stock may be less liquid than the stock of companies with broader public ownership. Among other things, trading of a relatively small volume of our common stock may have a greater impact on the trading price for our shares than would be the case if our public float were larger. The public market price of our common stock has in the past fluctuated substantially and, due to the current concentration of stockholders, it may continue to do so in the future. The market price for our common stock could also be affected by a number of other factors, including:

 

 

Litigation surrounding executive compensation has increased with the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. If we are involved in a lawsuit related to compensation matters or any other matters not covered by our D&O insurance, there could be material expenses involved, fines, or remedial actions which could negatively affect our stock price;

 

The general market conditions unrelated to our operating performance;

 

Sales of large blocks of our common stock, including sales by our executive officers, directors and our large institutional investors;

 

Quarterly variations in our, or our competitors’, results of operations;

 

Changes in analysts’ estimates, investors’ perceptions, recommendations by securities analysts or our failure to achieve analysts’ estimates;

 

The announcement of new products or service enhancements by us or our competitors;

 

The announcement of the departure of a key employee or executive officer by us or our competitor;

 

Regulatory developments or delays concerning our, or our competitors’ products; and

 

The initiation of litigation by us or against us.

 

Actual or perceived instability and / or volatility in our stock price could reduce demand from potential buyers of our stock, thereby causing our stock price to either remain depressed or to decline further.

 

  

Our manufacturing operations are dependent upon third-party suppliers, making us vulnerable to supply shortages and price fluctuations, which could harm our business.

 

Many of the components and materials that comprise our products are currently manufactured by a limited number of suppliers. A supply interruption or an increase in demand beyond our current suppliers’ capabilities could harm our ability to manufacture our products until a new source of supply is identified and qualified. Our reliance on these suppliers subjects us to a number of risks that could harm our business, including:

 

 

Interruption of supply resulting from modifications to or discontinuation of a supplier’s operations;

 

Delays in product shipments resulting from uncorrected defects, reliability issues or a supplier’s variation in a component;

 

A lack of long-term supply arrangements for key components with our suppliers;

 

Inability to obtain adequate supply in a timely manner, or on reasonable terms;

 

Inability to redesign one or more components in our systems in the event that a supplier discontinues manufacturing such components and we are unable to source it from other suppliers on reasonable terms;

 

Difficulty locating and qualifying alternative suppliers for our components in a timely manner;

 

Production delays related to the evaluation and testing of products from alternative suppliers and corresponding regulatory qualifications; and

 

Delay in supplier deliveries.

 

Any interruption in the supply of components or materials, or our inability to obtain substitute components or materials from alternate sources at acceptable prices in a timely manner, could impair our ability to meet the demand of our customers, which would have an adverse effect on our business.

 

Intellectual property rights may not provide adequate protection for some or all of our products, which may permit third parties to compete against us more effectively.

 

We rely on patent, copyright, trade secret and trademark laws and confidentiality agreements to protect our technology and products. At December 31, 2014, we had 34 issued U.S. patents. Some of our components, such as our laser module, electronic control system and high-voltage electronics, are not, and in the future may not be, protected by patents. Additionally, our patent applications may not issue as patents or, if issued, may not issue in a form that will be advantageous to us. Any patents we obtain may be challenged, invalidated or legally circumvented by third parties. Consequently, competitors could market products and use manufacturing processes that are substantially similar to, or superior to, ours. We may not be able to prevent the unauthorized disclosure or use of our technical knowledge or other trade secrets by consultants, vendors, former employees or current employees, despite the existence generally of confidentiality agreements and other contractual restrictions. 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. Moreover, the laws of many foreign countries will not protect our intellectual property rights to the same extent as the laws of the U.S.

 

The absence of complete intellectual property protection exposes us to a greater risk of direct competition. Competitors could purchase one of our products and attempt to replicate some or all of the competitive advantages we derive from our development efforts, design around our protected technology, or develop their own competitive technologies that fall outside of our intellectual property rights. If our intellectual property is not adequately protected against competitors’ products and methods, our competitive position and our business could be adversely affected.

 

We may be involved in future costly intellectual property litigation, which could impact our future business and financial performance.

 

Our competitors or other patent holders may assert that our present or future products and the methods we employ are covered by their patents. In addition, we do not know whether our competitors own or will obtain patents that they may claim prevent, limit or interfere with our ability to make, use, sell or import our products. Although we may seek to resolve any potential future claims or actions, we may not be able to do so on reasonable terms, or at all. If, following a successful third-party action for infringement, we cannot obtain a license or redesign our products, we may have to stop manufacturing and selling the applicable products and our business would suffer as a result. In addition, a court could require us to pay substantial damages, and prohibit us from using technologies essential to our products, any of which would have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

 

We may become involved in litigation not only as a result of alleged infringement of a third party’s intellectual property rights but also to protect our own intellectual property. For example, we have been, and may hereafter become, involved in litigation to protect the trademark rights associated with our company name or the names of our products. Infringement and other intellectual property claims, with or without merit, can be expensive and time-consuming to litigate, and could divert management’s attention from our core business.

 

We offer credit terms to some qualified customers and also to leasing companies to finance the purchase of our products. In the event that any of these customers default on the amounts payable to us, our earnings may be adversely affected.

 

While we qualify customers to whom we offer credit terms (generally net 30 to 90 days), we cannot provide any assurance that the financial position of these customers will not change adversely before we receive payment. Our general and administrative expenses and earnings are negatively impacted by customer defaults and cause an increase in the allowance for doubtful accounts. In the event that there is a default by any customers to whom we have provided credit terms in the future, we may recognize a bad debt charge in our general and administrative expenses and this could negatively affect our earnings and results of operations.

 

  

The expense and potential unavailability of insurance coverage for our customers could adversely affect our ability to sell our products, and therefore our financial condition.

 

Some of our customers and prospective customers have had difficulty in procuring or maintaining liability insurance to cover their operation and use of our products. Medical malpractice carriers are withdrawing coverage in certain states or substantially increasing premiums. If this trend continues or worsens, our customers may discontinue using our products and potential customers may opt against purchasing laser and light based products due to the cost or inability to procure insurance coverage. The unavailability of insurance coverage for our customers and prospects could adversely affect our ability to sell our products, and that could harm our financial condition.

 

Healthcare reform legislation will continue to adversely affect our profitability and financial condition.

 

In December 2009, the President and members of Congress passed legislation relating to healthcare reform. Procedures performed by our products are not reimbursed by insurance companies or federal or state governments and as a result this legislation had a limited impact on our business. Medical device manufacturers have to pay an excise tax of 2.3% on certain U.S. medical device revenues. Though there are some exceptions, this excise tax applies to all of our product and upgrade revenue from the U.S. and will continue to have an adverse effect on our operating profitability and financial condition.

 

Our ability to use net operating losses and tax credit carryforwards to offset future tax liabilities may be limited.

 

As of December 31, 2014, we had cumulative net operating loss carry-forwards for federal and state income tax reporting purposes of approximately $34.3 million and $10.4 million, respectively, and research and development tax credits for federal and state income tax purposes of approximately $4.2 million and $5.1 million, respectively. A lack of future taxable income would adversely affect our ability to utilize these NOLs and tax credit carryforwards. In addition, under Section 382 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, or the Code, a corporation that experiences a more-than 50% ownership change over a three-year testing period is subject to limitations on its ability to utilize its pre-change NOLs and tax credit carryforwards to offset future taxable income. We have not conducted a study to-date to assess whether a limitation would apply under Section 382 of the Code. In the event it is determined that we previously experienced an ownership change, or should we experience an ownership change in the future, the amount of net operating losses and research and development credit carryovers available in any taxable year, could be limited and may expire unutilized.

 

Any acquisitions that we make could result in operating difficulties, dilution, and other consequences that may adversely impact our business and results of operations.

 

While we from time to time evaluate potential acquisitions of businesses, products and technologies, and anticipate continuing to make these evaluations, we have no present understandings, commitments or agreements with respect to any material acquisitions or collaborative projects We may not be able to identify appropriate acquisition candidates or strategic partners, or successfully negotiate, finance or integrate any businesses, products or technologies that we acquire.

 

We have limited experience as a team with acquiring companies and products. Furthermore, the integration of any acquisition and management of any collaborative project may divert management’s time and resources from our core business and disrupt our operations and we may incur significant legal, accounting and banking fees in connection with such a transaction. Acquisitions could diminish our available cash balances for other uses, result in the incurrence of debt, contingent liabilities, or amortization expenses, and restructuring charges. Also, the anticipated benefits or value of our acquisitions or investments may not materialize and could result in an impairment of goodwill and/or purchased long-lived assets, similar to the $650,000 charge we recorded in the fourth quarter of 2014 related to an acquisition completed in 2012.

 

Our failure to address these risks or other problems encountered in connection with our past or future acquisitions and investments could cause us to fail to realize the anticipated benefits of such acquisitions or investments, incur unanticipated liabilities, and harm our business and our financial condition or results.

 

Anti-takeover provisions in our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws, and Delaware law, contain provisions that could discourage a takeover.

 

Our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws, and Delaware law, contain provisions that might enable our management to resist a takeover, and might make it more difficult for an investor to acquire a substantial block of our common stock. These provisions include:

 

 

A classified board of directors;

 

Advance notice requirements to stockholders for matters to be brought at stockholder meetings;

 

Limitations on stockholder actions by written consent; and

 

The right to issue preferred stock without stockholder approval, which could be used to dilute the stock ownership of a potential hostile acquirer.

 

These provisions, as well as Change of Control and Severance Agreements entered into with each of our executive officers and certain key employees, might discourage, delay or prevent a change in control of our company or a change in our management. The existence of these provisions could adversely affect the voting power of holders of common stock and limit the price that investors might be willing to pay in the future for shares of our common stock.

 

  

ITEM 1B.

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

 

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 2.

PROPERTIES

 

Our corporate headquarters and U.S. operations are located in an approximately 66,000 square foot facility in Brisbane, California. We lease these premises under a non-cancelable operating lease which expires on December 31, 2017. In addition, we have leased office facilities in certain countries as follows:

 

 

Country

 

Square Footage

 

Lease termination or Expiration

 

 

Japan

 

Approximately 5,896

 

Two leases, one of which expires in March 2018 and one which expires in December 2015.

 

 

France

 

Approximately 2,239

 

One lease which expires in October 2021 but can be terminated with six months’ notice prior to October 2015 and 2018.

 

 

We believe that these facilities are adequate for our current and future needs for at least the next twelve months.

 

ITEM 3.

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

 

We are not a party to any pending litigation that we believe will have a material impact to our results of operations.

 

ITEM 4.

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

 

Not applicable.

 

PART II

 

ITEM 5.

MARKET FOR THE REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

 

Stock Exchange Listing

 

Our common stock trades on The NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “CUTR.” As of February 27, 2015, the closing sale price of our common stock was $12.85 per share.

 

Common Stockholders

 

We had 10 stockholders of record as of February 28, 2015. Since many stockholders choose to hold their shares under the name of their brokerage firm, we estimate that the actual number of stockholders was over 1,900 shareholders.

 

Stock Prices

 

The following table sets forth quarterly high and low closing sales prices of our common stock for the indicated fiscal periods:

 

   

Common Stock

 
   

2014

   

2013

 
   

High

   

Low

   

High

   

Low

 

4th Quarter

  $ 11.04     $ 9.66     $ 10.56     $ 8.39  

3rd Quarter

    10.75       9.27       10.18       8.89  

2nd Quarter

    11.73       9.25       13.70       8.62  

1st Quarter

    11.24       9.00       13.03       8.95  

 

 

 

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

The following table summarizes the activity related to stock repurchases for the year ended December 31, 2014 and 2013 (in thousands except per share data):

 

Period

 

Total Number
of Shares
Purchased

   

Average Price

Paid

per Share

   

Total Number of
Shares Purchased
as Part of

Publicly Announced
Plans or Programs

   

Approximate Dollar Value of Shares

That May Yet

Be Purchased

Under the Plans

or Programs

 

August 1-30, 2013

    546     $ 9.46       546     $ 14,833  

September 1-30, 2013

    251     $ 9.70       251     $ 12,400  

November 1-30, 2013

    264     $ 9.10       264     $ 10,000  

As of December 31, 2013

    1,061     $ 9.43       1,061     $ 10,000  

January 1-December 31, 2014

        $           $ 10,000  

As of December 31, 2014

    1,061     $ 9.43       1,061     $ 10,000  

 

On August 5, 2013, our Board of Directors modified Cutera, Inc.’s stock buyback program, originally adopted in November 2012, to permit an additional $10 million of its issued and outstanding common shares to be repurchased. As modified, the stock buyback program permits us to purchase an aggregate of $20 million of our common stock through a 10b5-1 program based on predetermined pricing and volume parameters, as well as open-market purchase that are subject to management discretion and regulatory restrictions.

 

In the year ended December 31, 2013, we repurchased 1,060,447 shares of our common stock for approximately $10.0 million. There were no repurchases of shares of our common stock in 2014. As of December 31, 2014, there remained an additional $10.0 million of our common stock to be purchased under the modified stock buyback program. The number of shares to be repurchased, and the timing of such repurchases, will be based on several factors, including the price of the Company's common stock, regulatory restrictions, and general market and business conditions.

 

On February 18, 2015, our Board of Directors approved the expansion of our Stock Repurchase Program from $10 million to $40 million, under which we are authorized to repurchase shares of our common stock. We plan to make the repurchases from time to time through open market transactions at prevailing prices and/ or through privately-negotiated transactions, and/ or through a pre-arranged Rule 10b5-1 trading plan.

 

Sales of Unregistered Securities

 

We did not sell any unregistered securities during the period covered by this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

Securities Authorized for Issuance under Equity Compensation Plans

 

The information required by this Item regarding equity compensation plans is incorporated by reference to the information set forth in Part III Item 12 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

  

 Performance Graph

 

Below is a graph showing the cumulative total return to our stockholders during the period from December 31, 2009 through December 31, 2014 in comparison to the cumulative return on the NASDAQ Composite Index (U.S.) and the NASDAQ Medical Equipment Index during that same period.

 

The information under “Performance Graph” is not deemed filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and is not to be incorporated by reference in any filing of Cutera under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, whether made before or after the date of this 10-K and irrespective of any general incorporation language in those filings.

 

Dividend Policy

 

We have never paid a cash dividend and have no present intention to pay cash dividends in the foreseeable future. We intend to retain any future earnings for use in our business.

 

  

ITEM 6.

SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

 

The table set forth below contains certain consolidated financial data for each of our last five fiscal years. The following selected consolidated financial data should be read in conjunction with Item 7 “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and the related notes appearing in Item 8 “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

   

Year Ended December 31,

 

Consolidated Statements of Operations Data (in thousands, except per share data):

 

2014

   

2013

   

2012

   

2011

   

2010

 

Net revenue

  $ 78,138     $ 74,594     $ 77,277     $ 60,290     $ 53,274  

Cost of revenue

    34,765       32,712       35,737       25,978       23,058  

Gross profit

    43,373       41,882       41,540       34,312       30,216  

Operating expenses:

                                       

Sales and marketing

    32,246       27,984       28,664       25,499       24,735  

Research and development

    10,543       9,216       8,427       9,141       7,004  

General and administrative

    11,203       9,938       11,276       10,104       9,576  

Total operating expenses

    53,992       47,138       48,367       44,744       41,315  

Loss from operations

    (10,619

)

    (5,256

)

    (6,827

)

    (10,432

)

    (11,099

)

Interest and other income, net

    226       455       497       614       583  

Loss before income taxes

    (10,393

)

    (4,801

)

    (6,330

)

    (9,818

)

    (10,516

)

Income tax (benefit) provision

    219       (54

)

    218       243       2  

Net loss

  $ (10,612

)

  $ (4,747

)

  $ (6,548

)

  $ (10,061

)

  $ (10,518

)

Net loss per share:

                                       

Basic and diluted

  $ (0.74

)

  $ (0.33

)

  $ (0.46

)

  $ (0.73

)

  $ (0.78

)

Weighted-average number of shares used in per share calculations:

                                       

Basic and diluted

    14,254       14,421       14,089       13,807       13,540  

 

 

   

As of December 31,

 

Consolidated Balance Sheet Data (in thousands):

 

2014

   

2013

   

2012

   

2011

   

2010

 

Cash, cash equivalents and marketable investments

  $ 81,146     $ 83,073     $ 85,572     $ 88,686     $ 90,003  

Long-term investments

                      3,027       6,784  

Working capital (current assets less current liabilities)

    81,900       84,654       88,788       89,075       90,339  

Total assets

    108,913       108,669       112,794       111,353       111,805  

Retained earnings (accumulated deficit)

    (25,232

)

    (14,620

)

    (9,873

)

    (3,325

)

    6,736  

Total stockholders’ equity

    80,508       84,265       90,774       91,567       95,417  

 

 

  

 ITEM 7.

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

 

The following discussion should be read in conjunction with our audited financial statements and notes thereto for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2014. This Annual Report on Form 10-K, including the following sections, contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Throughout this Report, and particularly in this Item 7, the forward-looking statements are based upon our current expectations, estimates and projections and that reflect our beliefs and assumptions based upon information available to us at the date of this Report. In some cases, you can identify these statements by words such as “may,” “might,” “will,” “should,” “expects,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “potential” or “continue,” and other similar terms. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties, and assumptions that are difficult to predict. Our actual results, performance or achievements could differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements relating to our future financial performance, the ability to grow our business, increase our revenue, manage expenses, generate additional cash, achieve and maintain profitability, develop and commercialize existing and new products and applications, improve the performance of our worldwide sales and distribution network, and to the outlook regarding long term prospects. We caution you not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which reflect management’s analysis only as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. We undertake no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances occurring after the date of this Form 10-K.

 

Some of the important factors that could cause our results to differ materially from those in our forward-looking statements, and a discussion of other risks and uncertainties, are discussed in Item 1A—Risk Factors commencing on page 17. We encourage you to read that section carefully as well as other risks detailed from time to time in our filings with the SEC.

 

Introduction

 

The Management’s Discussion and Analysis, or MD&A, is organized as follows:

 

 

Executive Summary. This section provides a general description and history of our business, a brief discussion of our product lines and the opportunities, trends, challenges and risks we focus on in the operation of our business.

 

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates. This section describes the key accounting policies that are affected by critical accounting estimates.

 

Recent Accounting Guidance. This section describes the issuance and effect of new accounting pronouncements that are and may be applicable to us.

 

Results of Operations. This section provides our analysis and outlook for the significant line items on our Consolidated Statements of Operations.

 

Liquidity and Capital Resources. This section provides an analysis of our liquidity and cash flows, as well as a discussion of our commitments that existed as of December 31, 2014.

 

Executive Summary

 

Company Description.

 

We are a leading medical device company specializing in the research, development, manufacture, marketing and servicing of laser and other energy-based aesthetics systems for practitioners worldwide. We offer easy-to-use products which enable physicians and other qualified practitioners to perform safe and effective aesthetic procedures, including treatment of vascular conditions and removal of benign pigmented lesions, hair-removal, skin rejuvenation, body contouring, skin resurfacing, tattoo removal and toenail fungus. Our platforms are designed to be easily upgraded to add additional applications and hand pieces, which provide flexibility for our customers as they expand their practices. In addition to systems and upgrade revenue, we generate revenue from the sale of post warranty service contracts, providing services for products that are out of warranty, hand piece refills, and third-party manufactured dermal fillers and cosmeceuticals. In the second quarter of 2014, we terminated our agreement with Merz for the distribution of its Radiesse dermal filler product.

 

Our corporate headquarters and U.S. operations are located in Brisbane, California, from where we conduct our manufacturing, warehousing, research and development, regulatory, sales and marketing, service, and administrative activities. We market, sell and service our products through direct sales and service employees in the U.S., Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Japan and Switzerland. Sales and Service outside of these direct markets are made through a worldwide distributor network in over 40 countries. As of December 31, 2014, we had a U.S. direct sales force of 33 employees and a direct international sales force of 32 employees.

 

Products. Our revenue is derived from the sale of Products, Upgrades, Service, Titan and truSculpt hand piece refills, and Dermal fillers and cosmeceutical products. Product revenue represents the sale of a system. A system consists of a console that incorporates a universal graphic user interface, a laser and/or other energy based module, control system software and high voltage electronics; as well as one or more hand pieces. However, depending on the application, the laser or other energy based module is sometimes contained in the hand piece such as with our Pearl and Pearl Fractional applications instead of within the console.

 

  

We offer our customers the ability to select the system that best fits their practice at the time of purchase and then to cost-effectively add applications to their system as their practice grows. This provides customers the flexibility to upgrade their systems whenever they want and provides us with a source of recurring revenue which we classify as Upgrade revenue. Service revenue relates to amortization of prepaid service contracts, direct billings for detachable hand piece replacements and revenue for parts and labor on out-of-warranty products. For our Titan hand pieces, after a set number of treatments have been performed, the customer is required to send the hand piece back to the factory for refurbishment, which we refer to as ”refilling” the hand piece. In Japan, we distribute ZO’s cosmeceutical products, and through the second quarter of 2014, we also distributed Merz Pharma GmbH’s (“Merz”) Radiesse dermal filler product.

 

Significant Business Trends. We believe that our ability to grow revenue will be primarily dependent on the following:

 

 

Continuing to expand our product offerings ─ both through internal development and sourcing from other vendors.

 

Ongoing investment in our global sales and marketing infrastructure.

 

Use of clinical results to support new aesthetic products and applications.

 

Enhanced luminary development and reference selling efforts (to develop a location where our products can be displayed and used to assist in selling efforts).

 

Customer demand for our products.

 

Consumer demand for the application of our products.

 

Marketing to physicians in the core dermatology and plastic surgeon specialties, as well as outside those specialties.

 

Generating ongoing revenue from our growing installed base of customers through the sale of Service, Upgrade, Titan hand piece refills, and Dermal fillers and cosmeceutical products.

 

For a detailed discussion of the significant business trends impacting our business, please see “Results of Operations” below.

 

Factors that May Impact Future Performance

 

Our industry is impacted by numerous competitive, regulatory and other significant factors. Our industry is highly competitive and our future performance depends on our ability to compete successfully. Additionally, our future performance is dependent upon our ability to continue to expand our product offerings with innovative technologies, obtain regulatory clearances for our products, protect the proprietary technology of our products and our manufacturing processes, manufacture our products cost-effectively, and successfully market and distribute our products in a profitable manner. If we fail to execute on the aforementioned initiatives, our business would be adversely affected. A detailed discussion of these and other factors that could impact our future performance are provided in Part I, Item 1A “Risk Factors.”

 

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

 

The preparation of our Consolidated Financial Statements and related disclosures in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles in the U.S. (“GAAP”) requires us to make estimates, judgments and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenue and expenses. These estimates, judgments and assumptions are based on historical experience and on various other factors that we believe are reasonable under the circumstances. We periodically review our estimates and make adjustments when facts and circumstances dictate. To the extent that there are material differences between these estimates and actual results, our financial condition or results of operations will be affected.

 

Critical accounting estimates, as defined by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), are those that are most important to the portrayal of our financial condition and results of operations and require our management’s most difficult and subjective judgments and estimates of matters that are inherently uncertain. Our critical accounting estimates are as follows:

 

  

Revenue Recognition

 

We earn revenue from the sale of Products, Upgrades, Titan and truSculpt hand piece refills, and Dermal fillers and cosmeceuticals. We recognize revenue when persuasive evidence of an arrangement exists, transfer of title to the customer has occurred, the sales price is fixed or determinable, and collectability is probable. We defer revenue in the event that any of these revenue recognition criteria is not met.

 

 

Persuasive evidence of an arrangement exists: We use customer purchase agreements or contracts, or customer purchase orders to determine the existence of an arrangement;

 

Transfer of title: Our standard terms generally specify that title transfers upon shipment to the customer. We generally use third party shipping documents to verify that title has transferred. For service revenue, we use the date that services have been rendered;

 

Sales price is fixed or determinable: We assess whether the sales price is fixed or determinable at the time of the transaction. Sales prices are documented in the customer purchase agreement or purchase order received prior to shipment. Our standard terms do not allow for trial or evaluation periods, rights of return or refund, payments contingent upon the customer obtaining financing or other terms that could impact the customer's obligation; and

 

Collectability is probable: We assess whether collection is reasonably assured based on a number of factors, including receipt of cash or credit card payment, customer's past transaction history, credit worthiness, or the receipt of an irrevocable letter of credit.

 

Multiple-Element Arrangements

 

For System or Upgrade sales, all of the tangible products, including the embedded software, are delivered to the customer at the time of sale. In some circumstances, in conjunction with the purchase of a System or Upgrade, customers purchase Service contracts for one or more years to cover their products. For these transactions, the following multiple-element arrangement exists:

a tangible product delivered to the customer at the inception of the revenue arrangement; and

a service contract for delivery of services to the customer over a contractually stated period of time defined in the service contract.

 

For multiple-element arrangements, judgments are required as to the allocation of the proceeds received from an arrangement to the multiple elements of the arrangement. For multiple element arrangements entered into on or after January 1, 2010, we allocate revenue to all deliverables based on their relative selling prices. Because we have neither vendor-specific objective evidence (“VSOE”) nor third-party evidence of selling price (“TPE”) for our systems, the allocation of revenue has been based on our best estimate of selling prices (“BESP”). The objective of BESP is to determine the price at which we would transact a sale if the product or service was sold on a stand-alone basis. We determine BESP for our deliverables by considering multiple factors including, but not limited to, features and functionality of the system, geographies, type of customer and market conditions.

 

Revenue under service contracts is recognized on a straight-line basis over the period of the applicable service contract. Service revenue, not under a service contract, is recognized as the services are provided.

 

Hand Piece Refills

 

When customers purchase a hand piece refill, we ship a previously refurbished unit and recognize revenue upon shipment. With respect to our truSculpt product, prior to the third quarter of 2013, we sold the system and hand piece and then charged the customer an incremental fee for any future refills and we treated the refills as a separate deliverable under FASB ASC 605-25. In addition, we also provided promotions that included an unlimited number of “free” hand piece replacements during a stated trial period of 3 months or 12 months. We determined that these free refills were an undelivered element under FASB ASC 605-25 in the original revenue transaction. As such, we deferred the relative fair value related to the estimated number of hand piece replacements to be delivered during the promotional period and recognized that deferred revenue over the free refills promotion period. Commencing with the third quarter of 2013, we included unlimited hand piece replacements in the truSculpt standard warranty contract and concluded that this no longer was a separate deliverable under the multiple-element arrangement revenue guidance. Following this change, we recognized the revenue under the warranty model, in which the revenue for the system sale was recognized up-front along with an estimate of the costs which will be incurred under the warranty obligation recorded in cost of revenue.

 

Shipping and handling costs

 

We expense shipping and handling costs as incurred and include them in cost of revenue. In those cases where we bill shipping and handling costs to customers, we classify the amounts billed as revenue.

 

  

Stock-based Compensation Expense

 

Stock options

 

We account for stock-based compensation in accordance with the fair value recognition provisions of U.S. GAAP. We use the Black-Scholes-Merton option-pricing model which requires the input of highly subjective assumptions. These assumptions include:

 

 

Estimating the length of time employees will retain their vested stock options before exercising them (“expected term”);

 

Estimated volatility of our common stock price over the expected term;

 

Number of options that will ultimately not complete their vesting requirements (“forfeiture rate”); and

 

Expected risk-free interest rate and dividend rate over the expected term.

 

The assumptions for expected volatility and expected term are the two assumptions that significantly affect the grant date fair value.

 

The expected term represents the weighted-average period that our stock options are expected to be outstanding. The expected term is based on the observed and expected time to post-vesting exercise of options by employees. We use historical exercise patterns of previously granted options in relation to stock price movements to derive an employee behavioral pattern used to forecast expected exercise patterns.

 

We estimate volatility based on historical volatility and we also consider implied volatility when there is sufficient volume of freely traded options with comparable terms and exercise prices in the open market.

 

U.S. GAAP requires us to develop an estimate of the number of share-based awards that will be forfeited due to employee turnover. Adjustments in the estimated forfeiture rates can have a significant effect on our reported share-based compensation, as we recognize the cumulative effect of the rate adjustments for all expense amortization in the period the estimated forfeiture rates were adjusted. We estimate and adjust forfeiture rates based on a periodic review of recent forfeiture activity and expected future employee turnover. If a revised forfeiture rate is higher than previously estimated forfeiture rate, we may make an adjustment that will result in a decrease to the expense recognized in the financial statements during the period when the rate was changed. Adjustments in the estimated forfeiture rates could also cause changes in the amount of expense that we recognize in future periods.

 

Changes in expected risk-free interest rate and dividend rate do not significantly impact the calculation of fair value, and determining this input is not highly subjective.

 

Changes in the subjective assumptions of expected term, volatility and forfeiture rate can materially affect the estimate of fair value of stock-based compensation and, consequently, the related amount recognized on the Consolidated Statements of Income.

 

Restricted Stock Units

 

We grant restricted stock unit (“RSU”) awards to our management employees, officers and directors. RSUs are measured based on the fair market values of the underlying stock on the dates of grant and the stock based compensation expense is recognized over the vesting period using the straight-line method. Shares are issued on the vesting dates net of the minimum statutory tax withholding requirements to be paid by us on behalf of our employees. As a result, the actual number of shares issued will be fewer than the actual number of RSUs outstanding. Furthermore, we record the liability for withholding amounts to be paid by us as a reduction to additional paid-in capital.

 

Performance Stock Units 

 

Performance stock unit (“PSU”) awards were granted to our officers and other members of management in 2014 and 2013. The final number of shares of common stock issuable at the end of the performance measurement period, subject to the recipient’s continued service through that date, is determined based on the degree of achievement of the performance goals. The stock-based compensation expenses for the PSUs is measured based on the fair market value on the dates of grant of the target number of underlying shares. Stock based compensation expense is recognized over the vesting period using the straight-line method and the expected degree of achievement of the performance goals. At the vesting date, we issue fully-paid up common stock, net of the minimum statutory tax withholding requirements to be paid by us on behalf of our officers. As a result, the actual number of shares issued is less than the original number of PSUs outstanding. Furthermore, we record the liability for withholding amounts to be paid by us as a reduction to additional paid-in capital.

 

Intangible Assets

 

Our intangible assets include identifiable intangibles and goodwill. Identifiable intangibles include sub-licenses, rights acquired from a former distributor and those acquired in conjunction with an acquisition in 2012. All of our identifiable intangibles have finite lives.

 

In February 2012, we acquired the global aesthetic business unit of IRIDEX Corporation, which included various laser systems (such as the VariLite and Gemini) and an installed base of customers, whose products are being serviced by us. This acquisition was considered a business combination for accounting purposes, and as such, in addition to valuing all the assets, we recorded goodwill associated with the expected synergies from leveraging the customer relationships and integrating new product offerings into our business. The fair values of the assets acquired were determined to be $4.8 million of net tangible and intangible assets and $1.3 million of goodwill.

 

  

Identifiable intangible assets with finite lives are subject to impairment testing and are reviewed for impairment when events or circumstances indicate that such assets may not be recoverable at their carrying value. We evaluate the recoverability of the carrying value of these identifiable intangibles based on estimated undiscounted cash flows to be generated from such assets. If the cash flow estimates or the significant operating assumptions upon which they are based change in the future, we may be required to record additional impairment charges. When events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of long-lived assets may not be recoverable, we recognize such impairment in the event the net book value of such assets exceeds the future undiscounted cash flows attributable to such assets.

 

The valuation and classification of intangible assets and goodwill and the assignment of useful amortization lives for the intangible assets involves judgments and the use of estimates. The evaluation of these intangibles and goodwill for impairment under established accounting guidelines is required on a recurring basis. Changes in business conditions could potentially require future adjustments to asset valuations. If we determine that the remaining useful lives of assets are shorter than we had originally estimated, we accelerate the rate of amortization over the assets’ new, shorter useful lives. A considerable amount of judgment is required in assessing impairment, which includes financial forecasts. Should conditions be different from management’s current estimates, material write-downs of long-lived assets may be required, which would adversely affect our operating results.

 

As of December 31, 2014, we evaluated the recoverability of our long-lived assets. Relating to the purchased intangible assets associated with the Iridex acquisition in 2012, due to the discontinuation of the manufacture and sale of all products acquired, lower than projected future service revenue, and lower than projected revenue expected from the distributor relationships acquired, we determined based on an undiscounted cash flow model that the remaining carrying value of these assets was impaired. Based on a discounted cash flow model, we measured the impairment of the purchased intangible assets and recorded an impairment charge of $650,000 in cost of revenue in the year ended December 31, 2014. There were no impairment charges or accelerated amortization recorded for the years ended December 31, 2013 or 2012. Our valuation model relied on unobservable inputs (referred to as Level 3 in the fair value hierarchy), that are supported by little or no market activity and reflect the use of significant management judgment and included expected future cash flow streams as well as a market discount rate. Our valuation model is subject to uncertainties that are difficult to predict.

 

Based on the remaining fair value of the purchased intangible assets, we recorded an impairment charge of $650,000 in cost of revenue in the year ended December 31, 2014. There were no impairment charges or accelerated amortization recorded for the years ended December 31, 2013 or 2012.

 

Valuation of Inventories

 

We state our inventories at the lower of cost or market, computed on a standard cost basis, which approximates actual cost on a first-in, first-out basis and market being determined as the lower of replacement cost or net realizable value. Standard costs are monitored and updated quarterly or as necessary, to reflect changes in raw material costs, labor to manufacture the product and overhead rates. We provide for excess and obsolete inventories when conditions indicate that the selling price could be less than cost due to physical deterioration, usage, obsolescence, reductions in estimated future demand and reductions in selling prices. Inventory provisions are measured as the difference between the cost of inventory and estimated market value and charged to cost of revenue to establish a lower cost basis for the inventories. We balance the need to maintain strategic inventory levels with the risk of obsolescence due to changing technology, timing of new product introductions and customer demand levels. Unfavorable changes in market conditions may result in a need for additional inventory provisions that could adversely impact our gross margins. Conversely, favorable changes in demand could result in higher gross margins when product that had previously been written down is sold.

 

Warranty Obligations

 

We provide a one-year standard warranty on all systems. Warranty coverage provided is for labor and parts necessary to repair the systems during the warranty period. Commencing with the third quarter of 2013, for sales of our truSculpt product, we included free hand piece refills during the warranty period. We provide for the estimated future costs of warranty obligations in cost of revenue when the related revenue is recognized. The accrued warranty costs represent our best estimate at the time of sale, and as reviewed and updated quarterly, of the total costs that we expect to incur during the warranty period to repair or replace product parts that fail, including the refurbishment of any truSculpt refills included as part of the original sale. Accrued warranty costs include costs of material, technical support labor and associated overhead. The amount of accrued estimated warranty costs obligation for established products is primarily based on historical experience as to product failures adjusted for current information on repair costs. Actual warranty costs could differ from the estimated amounts. On a quarterly basis, we review the accrued balances of our warranty obligations and update based on historical warranty cost trends. If we were required to accrue additional warranty cost in the future due to actual product failure rates, material usage, service delivery costs or overhead costs differing from our estimates, revisions to the estimated warranty liability would be required, which would negatively impact our operating results.

 

Provision for Income Taxes

 

We are subject to taxes on earnings in both the U.S. and various foreign jurisdictions. As a global taxpayer, significant judgments and estimates are required in evaluating our uncertain tax positions and determining our provision for income taxes on earnings. We perform a two-step approach to recognizing and measuring uncertain tax positions. The first step is to evaluate the tax position for recognition by determining if the weight of available evidence indicates that it is more likely than not that the position will be sustained on audit, including resolution of related appeals or litigation processes, if any. The second step is to measure the tax benefit as the largest amount that is more than 50% likely of being realized upon settlement. Although we believe we have adequately reserved for our uncertain tax positions, no assurance can be given that the final tax outcome of these matters will not be different. We adjust these reserves in light of changing facts and circumstances, such as the closing of a tax audit or the refinement of an estimate. To the extent that the final tax outcome of these matters is different than the amounts recorded, such differences will impact the provision for income taxes in the period in which such determination is made. The provision for income taxes includes the impact of reserve provisions and changes to reserves that are considered appropriate, as well as the related net interest.

 

  

Our effective tax rates have differed from the statutory rate primarily due to changes in the valuation allowance, foreign operations, research and development tax credits, state taxes, and certain benefits realized related to stock option activity. Our current effective tax rate does not assume U.S. taxes on undistributed profits of foreign subsidiaries. These earnings could become subject to incremental foreign withholding or U.S. federal and state taxes, should they either be deemed or actually remitted to the U.S. The effective tax rate in 2014, 2013 and 2012 was approximately (2)%, 1%, and (3)%, respectively. Our future effective tax rates could be adversely affected by earnings being lower in countries where we have lower statutory rates and being higher in countries where we have higher statutory rates, or by changes in tax laws, accounting principles, interpretations thereof, net operating loss carryback, research and development tax credits, and due to changes in the valuation allowance of our U.S. deferred tax assets. In addition, we are subject to the examination of our income tax returns by the Internal Revenue Service and other tax authorities. We regularly assess the likelihood of adverse outcomes resulting from these examinations to determine the adequacy of our provision for income taxes.

 

At December 31, 2014, we had an aggregate of approximately $2.6 million of unremitted earnings of foreign subsidiaries that have been, or are intended to be, indefinitely reinvested for continued use in foreign operations. Depending on the timing and nature of the distribution, if the total undistributed earnings of foreign subsidiaries were remitted while the Company is able to utilize its net operating losses, it is likely there would be no material additional tax resulting from the distribution.

 

Our deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the expected future tax consequences of temporary differences between the financial reporting and tax bases of assets and liabilities, and for operating losses and tax credit carryforwards. A valuation allowance reduces deferred tax assets to estimated realizable value, which assumes that it is more likely than not that we will be able to generate sufficient future taxable income in certain tax jurisdictions to realize the net carrying value. We have fully reserved our U.S. federal and state deferred tax assets due to our history of operating losses.

 

Litigation

 

We have been, and may in the future become, subject to legal proceedings related to securities litigation, intellectual property, product liability claims, contractual disputes and other matters. Based on all available information at the balance sheet dates, we assess the likelihood of any adverse judgments or outcomes for these matters, as well as potential ranges of probable loss. If losses are probable and reasonably estimable, we record an estimated liability. 

 

Results of Operations

 

The following table sets forth selected consolidated financial data expressed as a percentage of net revenue.

 

   

Year Ended December 31,

 
   

2014

   

2013

   

2012

 
                         

Net revenue

    100

%

    100

%

    100

%

Cost of revenue

    44

%

    44

%

    46

%

Gross profit

    56

%

    56

%

    54

%

Operating expenses:

                       

Sales and marketing

    41

%

    38

%

    37

%

Research and development

    14

%

    12

%

    11

%

General and administrative

    14

%

    13

%

    15

%

Total operating expenses

    69

%

    63

%

    63

%

Loss from operations

    (13

)%

    (7

)%

    (9

)%

Interest and other income, net

   

%

    1

%

    1

%

Loss before income taxes

    (13

)%

    (6

)%

    (8

)%

Income tax (benefit) provision

   

%

   

%

   

%

Net loss

    (13

)%

    (6

)%

    (8

)%

 

 

 

Net Revenue

 

The following table sets forth selected consolidated revenue by major geographic area and product category with changes thereof.

 

   

Year Ended December 31,

 

(Dollars in thousands)

 

2014

   

% Change

   

2013

   

% Change

   

2012

 

Revenue mix by geography:

                                       

United States

  $ 35,494       13

%

  $ 31,487       (1

)%

  $ 31,949  

Percent of total

    45

%

            42

%

            41

%

                                         

Japan

  $ 13,328       (6

)%

  $ 14,205       (20

)%

  $ 17,826  

Asia, excluding Japan

    11,023       (2

)%

    11,263       27

%

    8,902  

Europe

    7,792       6

%

    7,358       48

%

    4,958  

Rest of the world

    10,501       2

%

    10,281       (25

)%

    13,642  

Total international revenue

    42,644       (1

)%

    43,107       (5

)%

    45,328  

Percent of total

    55

%

            58

%

            59

%

Total consolidated revenue

  $ 78,138       5

%

  $ 74,594       (3

)%

  $ 77,277  
                                         

Revenue mix by product category:

                                       

Products and upgrades

  $ 53,106       10

%

  $ 48,374       (2

)%

  $ 49,605  

Titan and truSculpt hand piece refills

    3,714       (13

)%

    4,267       (11

)%

    4,807  

Dermal fillers and cosmeceuticals

    3,479       (18

)%

    4,264       (24

)%

    5,645  

Total product revenue

    60,299       6

%

    56,905       (5

)%

    60,057  

Service

    17,839       1

%

    17,689       3

%

    17,220  

Total consolidated revenue

  $ 78,138       5

%

  $ 74,594       (3

)%

  $ 77,277  

  

Revenue by Geography:

 

Our U.S. revenue increased by 13% in 2014, compared to 2013. We believe the increase in U.S. revenues was attributable to several factors, including:

 

 

Revenue generated by our recently introduced enlighten and excel HR products;

 

Continued growth of excel V product revenue; partially offset by

 

Reduced productivity of our U.S. sales force, caused in part by field sales and management turnover; and

 

A decline in revenue from our xeo, Genesis Plus and truSculpt products.

 

Our total international revenue decreased by 1% in 2014, compared to 2013, and represented 55% of our total revenue. The decrease in international revenue was primarily a result of decreased revenue from Canada, the decline in 2014 of the Japanese Yen versus the U.S. Dollar compared to 2013, partially offset by growth in revenue from Australia and the Benelux region.

 

Revenue by Product Category:

 

Our product and upgrade revenue increased by 10% in 2014 and decreased by 2% in 2013, compared to the respective prior year periods. The 2014 increase in product and upgrade revenue was primarily attributable to revenue generated by our newly introduced enlighten and excel HR products and the continued growth in excel V sales, partially offset by declines in xeo, Genesis Plus and truSculpt sales. The 2013 decrease in product and upgrade revenue was primarily attributable to a decline of the Japanese Yen versus the U.S. Dollar and the decline of Genesis Plus sales, partially offset by continued growth in excel V sales.

 

Our service revenue increased by 1% in 2014 and by 3% in 2013, compared to the respective prior year periods. The ratable recognition of service contract fees is the primary component of our service revenue. The increase in 2013 was primarily due to an expanded customer base as well as one additional month of service revenue in 2013, versus 2012, relating to the acquisition of the Iridex aesthetic business in February 2012.

 

Our Titan and truSculpt hand piece refill revenue decreased by 13% and 11% in 2014 and 2013, compared to the respective prior year periods. The decrease in 2014 was due primarily to declines in Titan hand piece refill revenue caused by reduced utilization. The decrease in 2013 was due primarily to declines in Titan hand piece refill revenue caused by reduced utilization and partly due to decline in the Japanese Yen versus the U.S. Dollar, which was partially offset by an increase in revenue from truSculpt refills. Commencing in the third quarter of 2013, we have repositioned our truSculpt product to include the refurbishment of the hand pieces as part of the original system warranty or ongoing service contracts, thereby enabling our customers unlimited usage as part of the original system warranty.

 

  

Our Dermal filler and cosmeceutical business decreased by 18% and 24% in 2014 and 2013, compared to the respective prior year periods. The decrease in 2014 was primarily a result of the discontinuation of the distribution of the Merz Radiesse filler product in Japan in the second quarter of 2014. In addition, the continued devaluation of the Japanese Yen versus the U.S. Dollar by approximately 9% in 2014, compared to 2013, had an adverse impact on our revenue. The decrease in 2013 Dermal filler and cosmeceuticals revenue was primarily the result of a devaluation of the Japanese Yen, versus the U.S. Dollar, by approximately 22%, compared to 2012.

 

Gross Profit

 

   

Year Ended December 31,

 

(Dollars in thousands)

 

2014

   

% Change

   

2013

   

% Change

   

2012

 

Gross Profit

  $ 43,373       4

%

  $ 41,882       1

%

  $ 41,540  

As a percentage of total revenue

    56

%

            56

%

            54

%

 

Our cost of revenue consists primarily of materials, personnel expenses, royalty expense, warranty and manufacturing overhead expenses. Gross margin as a percentage of net revenue was flat at 56% in 2014, compared to 2013, which was primarily attributable to the following:

 

 

A $3.5 million increase in total revenue, which improved the leverage of our manufacturing department expenses; offset by

 

A one-time impairment charge of $650,000 for purchased intangibles related to a previous acquisition; and

 

A partial shift in product mix towards lower margin products, primarily as a result of our newly introduced excel HR and enlighten products in 2014 that had a high initial cost structure.

 

Gross margin as a percentage of net revenue improved to 56% in 2013, compared to 2012, which was primarily attributable to the following:

 

 

A partial shift in product mix towards higher margin products;

 

Improved gross margin from our Service business, due primarily to reduced material expenses resulting from improved reliability of our products;

 

Results of cost reduction initiatives; and

 

Reduced amortization of intangibles related to the acquisition of Iridex’s aesthetic business.

 

Sales and Marketing

 

   

Year Ended December 31,

 

(Dollars in thousands)

 

2014

   

% Change

   

2013

   

% Change

   

2012

 

Sales and marketing

  $ 32,246       15

%

  $ 27,984       (2

)%

  $ 28,664  

As a percentage of total revenue

    41

%

            38

%

            37

%

 

Sales and marketing expenses consist primarily of personnel expenses, expenses associated with customer-attended workshops and trade shows, post-marketing studies and advertising. Sales and marketing expenses increased by $4.3 million in 2014, compared to 2013, which was primarily attributable to the following:

  

 

$2.6 million increase in personnel related expenses in North American, driven primarily by the expansion of our sales force;

 

$1.4 million increase in non-Japan international spending, primarily as a result of higher international sales headcount as well as the expansion of our international operations;

 

$752,000 of increased promotional spending, primarily in North America;

 

$541,000 of increased North American travel and entertainment expenses due to the higher sales headcount; partially offset by

 

$941,000 of decreased Japan expenses resulting primarily from the continued devaluation of the Japanese Yen, versus the U.S. Dollar.

 

 

 

In 2013, sales and marketing expenses decreased by $680,000 compared to 2012. This decrease was primarily attributable to:

 

 

$1.0 million of decreased Japan expenses resulting primarily from the devaluation of the Japanese Yen, versus the U.S. Dollar;

 

$312,000 of decreased North American travel and entertainment expenses due primarily to reduced business meetings and other cost cutting measures; partially offset by

 

$523,000 of increased North American product demonstration, promotional and marketing expenses.

 

Sales and marketing expenses as a percentage of net revenue, increased to 41% in 2014, compared to 38% in 2013. This increase was due to a larger increase in expenses, compared to the increase in revenue. Sales and marketing expenses as a percentage of net revenue, increased to 38% in 2013, compare to 37% in 2012. This increase was due to lower revenue in 2012.

 

Research and Development (R&D)

 

   

Year Ended December 31,

 

(Dollars in thousands)

 

2014

   

% Change

   

2013

   

% Change

   

2012

 

Research and development

  $ 10,543       14

%

  $ 9,216       9

%

  $ 8,427  

As a percentage of total revenue

    14

%

            12

%

            11

%

 

Research and development expenses consist primarily of personnel expenses, clinical, regulatory and material costs. R&D expenses increased $1.3 million in 2014, compared to 2013, which was primarily attributable to:

 

 

$1.0 million higher personnel expenses as a result of increased headcount;

 

$398,000 increase in material spending due to product development efforts related to our two new launched products (enlighten and excel HR); partially offset by

 

A decrease of $110,000 in equipment spending.

 

In 2013, R&D expenses increased by $789,000, compared to 2012, which primarily attributable to:

 

 

$1.1 million increase in material spending related to new product development; partially offset by

 

A decrease of $237,000 in outside consulting expenses.

 

General and Administrative (G&A)

 

   

Year Ended December 31,

 

(Dollars in thousands)

 

2014

   

% Change

   

2013

   

% Change

   

2012

 

General and administrative

  $ 11,203       13

%

  $ 9,938       (12

)%

  $ 11,276  

As a percentage of total revenue

    14

%

            13

%

            15

%

 

General and administrative expenses consist primarily of: personnel expenses, legal fees, accounting, audit and tax consulting fees, and other general and administrative expenses. G&A expenses increased by $1.3 million in 2014, compared to 2013, which was primarily attributable to:

 

 

$1.3 million of increased personnel related expenses;

 

$407,000 of increased legal fees and costs of settlements; partially offset by

 

A reduction of $600,000 in fees resulting from the conclusion of a management consulting engagement that commenced in 2013.

 

In 2013, G&A expenses decreased by $1.3 million, compared to 2012. This decrease was primarily attributable to:

 

 

$1.0 million of decreased personnel related expenses;

 

$532,000 of reduced legal fees and costs of settlements;

 

A reduction of $527,000 of business integration expenses, which were incurred in 2012 due to the acquisition of Iridex;

 

$292,000 of reduced accounting fees; partially offset by

 

$800,000 in fees relating to a management consulting engagement in 2013; and

 

$343,000 of increased expenses due to the introduction of the U.S. medical excise tax with effect from January 1, 2013.

 

 

 

Interest and Other Income, Net

 

The components of “Interest and Other Income, Net” are as follows:

 

   

Year Ended December 31,

 

(Dollars in thousands)

 

2014

   

% Change

   

2013

   

% Change

   

2012

 

Interest income

  $ 406       (4

)%

  $ 421       (12

)%