Filed Pursuant to Rule 424(b)(3)
Registration No. 333-254836
BUTTERFLY NETWORK, INC.
Up to 110,352,371 Shares of Class A Common Stock
Up to 26,426,937 Shares of Class B Common Stock
Up to 6,853,333 Warrants
This prospectus relates to the issuance by us of up to an aggregate of 20,652,790 shares of our Class A common stock, par value $0.0001 per share (“Class A common stock”), which consists of (i) up to 6,853,333 shares of Class A common stock that are issuable upon the exercise of private placement warrants (the “Private Placement Warrants”) originally issued in a private placement in connection with the initial public offering of our predecessor company, Longview Acquisition Corp., a Delaware corporation (“Longview”), at an exercise price of $11.50 per share of Class A common stock, and (ii) up to 13,799,457 shares of Class A common stock that are issuable upon the exercise of 13,799,457 outstanding warrants issued in connection with the initial public offering of Longview (the “Public Warrants,” and together with the Private Placement Warrants, the “Warrants”).
This prospectus also relates to the resale from time to time by the Selling Securityholders named in this prospectus (the “Selling Securityholders”) of up to (i) 6,853,333 Private Placement Warrants; (ii) 6,853,333 shares of Class A common stock that may be issued upon exercise of the Private Placement Warrants; (iii) 89,699,581 shares of Class A common stock consisting of shares of Class A common stock held by Longview’s sponsor, Longview Investors LLC (the “Sponsor”) and certain of its transferees (the “Founder Shares”), shares of Class A common stock issued in the PIPE Financing (as defined below), and shares of Class A common stock issued to our directors, officers and affiliates and the directors, officers and affiliates of Legacy Butterfly (as defined below) pursuant to the Business Combination Agreement (as defined below), including shares of Class A common stock that may be issued upon the exercise of stock options (the “Options”) and the vesting of restricted stock units or upon the conversion of Class B common stock, par value $0.0001 per share (“Class B common stock”), and (iv) 26,426,937 shares of Class B common stock issued pursuant to the Business Combination Agreement.
This prospectus provides you with a general description of such securities and the general manner in which we and the Selling Securityholders may offer or sell the securities. More specific terms of any securities that we and the Selling Securityholders may offer or sell may be provided in a prospectus supplement that describes, among other things, the specific amounts and prices of the securities being offered and the terms of the offering. The prospectus supplement may also add, update or change information contained in this prospectus.
We will not receive any proceeds from the sale of shares of Class A common stock, shares of Class B common stock or Private Placement Warrants by the Selling Securityholders or of shares of Class A common stock by us pursuant to this prospectus, except with respect to amounts received by us upon exercise of the Warrants or the Options. However, we will pay the expenses, other than any underwriting discounts and commissions, associated with the sale of securities pursuant to this prospectus.
We are registering the securities for resale pursuant to the Selling Securityholders’ registration rights under certain agreements between us and the Selling Securityholders. Our registration of the securities covered by this prospectus does not mean that either we or the Selling Securityholders will issue, offer or sell, as applicable, any of the securities. The Selling Securityholders may offer and sell the securities covered by this prospectus in a number of different ways and at varying prices. We provide more information about how the Selling Securityholders may sell the shares or Warrants in the section entitled “Plan of Distribution.”
You should read this prospectus and any prospectus supplement or amendment carefully before you invest in our securities.
Our Class A common stock and Public Warrants are listed on The New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) under the symbols “BFLY” and “BFLY WS,” respectively. On April 18, 2022, the closing price of our Class A common stock was $3.98 and the closing price for our Public Warrants was $0.77.
Investing in our securities involves a high degree of risk. See “Risk Factors” beginning on page 12 of this prospectus and in the other documents that are incorporated by reference in this prospectus.
Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved of these securities or determined if this prospectus is truthful or complete. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.
The date of this prospectus is April 28, 2022.
You should rely only on the information contained in this prospectus. No one has been authorized to provide you with information that is different from that contained in this prospectus or incorporated by reference in this prospectus. This prospectus is dated as of the date set forth on the cover hereof. You should not assume that the information contained in this prospectus is accurate as of any date other than that date.
For investors outside the United States: We have not done anything that would permit this offering or possession or distribution of this prospectus in any jurisdiction where action for that purpose is required, other than in the United States. You are required to inform yourselves about and to observe any restrictions relating to this offering and the distribution of this prospectus.
In this document:
“Advisory Agreement” means the Advisory Agreement, entered into by and between Butterfly and Jonathan M. Rothberg, Ph.D., effective as of the Closing.
“Business Combination” means the transactions contemplated by the Business Combination Agreement, including the merger of Merger Sub with and into Legacy Butterfly, pursuant to which (i) Legacy Butterfly survived the Merger as a wholly owned subsidiary of Longview, (ii) each share of Legacy Butterfly capital stock (other than the Legacy Butterfly Series A preferred stock) that was issued and outstanding immediately prior to the Effective Time became the right to receive 1.0383 shares of Butterfly Class A common stock, rounded down to the nearest whole number of shares; (iii) each share of Legacy Butterfly Series A preferred stock that was issued and outstanding immediately prior to the Effective Time was automatically canceled and converted into the right to receive 1.0383 shares of Butterfly Class B common stock, rounded down to the nearest whole number of shares; (iv) each option to purchase shares of Legacy Butterfly common stock, whether vested or unvested, that was outstanding and unexercised as of immediately prior to the Effective Time will was assumed by Butterfly and became an option (vested or unvested, as applicable) to purchase a number of shares of Butterfly Class A common stock equal to the number of shares of Legacy Butterfly common stock subject to such option immediately prior to the Effective Time multiplied by 1.0383, rounded down to the nearest whole number of shares, at an exercise price per share equal to the exercise price per share of such option immediately prior to the Effective Time divided by 1.0383 and rounded up to the nearest whole cent; (v) each Legacy Butterfly restricted stock unit outstanding immediately prior to the Effective Time was assumed by Butterfly and became a restricted stock unit with respect to a number of shares of Butterfly Class A common stock, rounded to the nearest whole share, equal to the number of shares of Legacy Butterfly common stock subject to such Legacy Butterfly restricted stock unit immediately prior to the Effective Time multiplied by 1.0383; and (vi) the principal amount plus accrued but unpaid interest, if any, on the Legacy Butterfly convertible notes outstanding as of immediately prior to the Effective Time was automatically canceled and converted into the right to receive shares of Butterfly Class A common stock, with such shares of Butterfly Class A common stock calculated by dividing the outstanding principal plus accrued but unpaid interest, if any, of each Legacy Butterfly convertible note by $10.00, rounded down to the nearest whole number of shares.
“Business Combination Agreement” means that Business Combination Agreement, dated as of November 19, 2020, by and among Longview, Merger Sub and Legacy Butterfly.
“Butterfly” means Butterfly Network, Inc., a Delaware corporation (which, prior to consummation of the Business Combination, was known as Longview Acquisition Corp. (“Longview” herein)) and, where applicable, its direct and indirect wholly-owned subsidiaries.
“Butterfly Board” means the board of directors of Butterfly.
“Butterfly Class A common stock” means the shares of Class A common stock, par value $0.0001 per share, of Butterfly, which shares have the same economic terms as the shares of Butterfly Class B common stock, but are only entitled to one (1) vote per share.
“Butterfly Class B common stock” means the shares of Class B common stock, par value $0.0001 per share, of Butterfly, which shares have the same economic terms as the shares of Butterfly Class A common stock, but are entitled to twenty (20) votes per share.
“Butterfly common stock” means, collectively, the Butterfly Class A common stock and the Butterfly Class B common stock.
“Butterfly Equity Incentive Plan” means the Butterfly Network, Inc. Amended and Restated 2020 Equity Incentive Plan.
“Butterfly Management” means the management of Butterfly following the consummation of the Business Combination.
“Charter” means the amended and restated certificate of incorporation of Butterfly Network, Inc.
“Closing” means the closing of the Business Combination.
“Closing Date” means the closing date of the Business Combination, which occurred on February 12, 2021.
“Code” means the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.
“DGCL” means the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware.
“Effective Time” means, with respect to the Merger, the time on the Closing Date at which the Merger became effective.
“Exchange Act” means the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.
“FASB” means the Financial Accounting Standards Board.
“Founder Shares” means the aggregate of 10,350,000 shares of Longview Class B common stock held by the Sponsor, Westley Moore, Derek Cribbs and Randy Simpson.
“GAAP” means United States generally accepted accounting principles.
“Glenview” means Glenview Capital Management, LLC, an affiliate of the Sponsor.
“Initial Stockholders” means the Sponsor and Longview’s independent directors.
“Investment Company Act” means the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended.
“Initial public offering” means Longview’s initial public offering, consummated on May 26, 2020, through the sale of an aggregate of 41,400,000 units at $10.00 per unit, including 36,000,000 units on May 26, 2020 plus 4,000,000 additional units on June 9, 2020 and 1,400,000 additional units on June 26, 2020.
“JOBS Act” means the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012.
“Legacy Butterfly Board” means the board of directors of Legacy Butterfly.
“Legacy Butterfly” means BFLY Operations, Inc. a Delaware corporation (formerly Butterfly Network, Inc.).
“Legacy Butterfly capital stock” means the shares of Legacy Butterfly capital stock outstanding prior to the Business Combination, comprised of the Legacy Butterfly common stock, the Legacy Butterfly Series A preferred stock, the Legacy Butterfly Series B preferred stock, the Legacy Butterfly Series C preferred stock, the Legacy Butterfly Series D preferred stock and each other class or series of capital stock of Legacy Butterfly (including preferred stock).
“Legacy Butterfly Series A preferred stock” means the Series A preferred stock, par value $0.0001 per share, of Legacy Butterfly.
“Legacy Butterfly Series B preferred stock” means the Series B preferred stock, par value $0.0001 per share, of Legacy Butterfly.
“Legacy Butterfly Series C preferred stock” means the Series C preferred stock, par value $0.0001 per share, of Legacy Butterfly.
“Legacy Butterfly Series D preferred stock” means the Series D preferred stock, par value $0.0001 per share, of Legacy Butterfly.
“Legacy Butterfly convertible notes” means the convertible promissory notes of Legacy Butterfly issued pursuant to the October 2020 Convertible Note Purchase Agreement and the May 2020 Convertible Note Purchase Agreement, which notes had an aggregate principal amount of $50.0 million, including $25.1 million in aggregate principal amount of convertible promissory notes of Legacy Butterfly issued to certain affiliates of Glenview pursuant to the October 2020 Convertible Note Purchase Agreement. On January 15, 2021, an aggregate principal amount of $2,072,770 of Legacy Butterfly convertible notes were sold by certain investment funds managed by Glenview to certain directors named in this prospectus. See “Certain Relationships and Related Party Transactions — Legacy Butterfly.”
“Legacy Butterfly option” means each option to purchase shares of Legacy Butterfly common stock granted to a Legacy Butterfly employee, director or consultant.
“Legacy Butterfly stockholder” means each holder of Legacy Butterfly capital stock as of any determination time prior to the Effective Time.
“Longview” means Longview Acquisition Corp., a Delaware corporation (which, after the Closing is known as Butterfly Network, Inc.).
“Longview Class A common stock” means the shares of Class A common stock, par value $0.0001 per share, of Longview.
“Longview Class B common stock” means the shares of Class B common stock, par value $0.0001 per share, of Longview.
“Longview common stock” means, collectively, the Longview Class A common stock and Longview Class B common stock.
“Longview Parties” means, together, Longview and Merger Sub.
“May 2020 Convertible Note Purchase Agreement” means the Convertible Note Purchase Agreement, dated as of May 19, 2020, by and between Legacy Butterfly and the investors named therein, pursuant to which Legacy Butterfly issued $20.65 million in aggregate principal amount of Butterfly convertible notes.
“Merger” means the merger of Merger Sub with and into Legacy Butterfly.
“Merger Sub” means Clay Merger Sub, Inc., a Delaware corporation and wholly owned subsidiary of Longview.
“NYSE” means The New York Stock Exchange.
“October 2020 Convertible Note Purchase Agreement” means the Convertible Note Purchase Agreement, dated as of October 30, 2020, by and between Legacy Butterfly and the investors named therein, pursuant to which Legacy Butterfly issued $29.35 million in aggregate principal amount of Legacy Butterfly convertible notes, including $25.1 million in aggregate principal amount of convertible promissory notes issued to certain affiliates of Glenview. On January 15, 2021, certain investment funds managed by Glenview transferred $118,443, $1,184,441, $177,666 and $592,221 aggregate principal amount of Legacy Butterfly convertible notes to directors Dawn Carfora, John Hammergren, Gianluca Pettiti and S. Louise Phanstiel, respectively. See “Certain Relationships and Related Party Transactions — Legacy Butterfly.”
“PIPE Financing” means the issuance of an aggregate of 17,500,000 shares of Longview Class A common stock pursuant to the Subscription Agreements to the PIPE Investors immediately prior to the Closing, at a purchase price of $10.00 per share.
“PIPE Investors” means the certain institutional investors who are party to the Subscription Agreements.
“Private placement warrants” means the 6,853,333 warrants issued to the Sponsor concurrently with Longview’s initial public offering, each of which is exercisable for one share of Class A common stock.
“Public shares” means shares of Longview Class A common stock included in the units issued in Longview’s initial public offering.
“Public stockholders” means holders of public shares.
“Public Warrants” means the warrants included in the units issued in Longview’s initial public offering, each of which is exercisable for one share of Class A common stock, in accordance with its terms.
“Registration Rights Agreement” means the amended and restated registration rights agreement entered into as of the Closing by and among Butterfly, the Sponsor, certain affiliates of the Sponsor, and certain securityholders of Legacy Butterfly.
“Sarbanes-Oxley Act” means the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
“SEC” means the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
“Securities Act” means the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.
“Sponsor” means Longview Investors LLC, a Delaware limited liability company.
“Subscription Agreements” means the subscription agreements, each dated as of November 19, 2020, by and between Longview and the PIPE Investors, pursuant to which Longview issued an aggregate of 17,500,000 shares of Longview Class A common stock to the PIPE Investors immediately prior to the Closing at a purchase price of $10.00 per share.
“Transfer Agent” means Continental Stock Transfer & Trust Company.
“Trust Account” means the Trust Account of Longview that held the proceeds from Longview’s initial public offering and the private placement of the private placement warrants.
“Trustee” means Continental Stock Transfer & Trust Company.
“Units” means the units of Longview, each consisting of one share of Longview Class A common stock and one-third (1/3) of one public warrant of Longview.
This prospectus includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), that relate to future events or our future financial performance regarding, among other things, our plans, strategies and prospects, both business and financial. These statements are based on the beliefs and assumptions of our management team. Generally, statements that are not historical facts, including statements concerning possible or assumed future actions, business strategies, events or results of operations, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements contained in this prospectus include, but are not limited to, statements about:
the success, cost and timing of our product development activities;
the potential attributes and benefits of our products and services;
our ability to obtain and maintain regulatory approval for our products, and any related restrictions and limitations of any authorized product;
our ability to identify, in-license or acquire additional technology;
our ability to maintain our existing license, manufacturing and supply agreements;
our ability to compete with other companies currently marketing or engaged in the development of ultrasound imaging devices, many of which have greater financial and marketing resources than us;
the size and growth potential of the markets for our products and services, and the ability of each to serve those markets, either alone or in partnership with others;
our estimates regarding expenses, revenue, capital requirements and needs for additional financing;
our ability to raise financing in the future;
our financial performance; and
the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
These statements may be preceded by, followed by or include the words “believes,” “estimates,” “expects,” “projects,” “forecasts,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “seeks,” “plans,” “scheduled,” “anticipates” or “intends” or similar expressions or phrases, or the negative of those expressions or phrases. The forward-looking statements are based on projections prepared by, and are the responsibility of, our management. Although we believe that our plans, intentions and expectations reflected in or suggested by these forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot assure you that we will achieve or realize these plans, intentions or expectations. Forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions relating to, among other things:
our rapid growth may not be sustainable and depends on our ability to attract and retain customers;
our business could be harmed if we fail to manage our growth effectively;
our projections are subject to risks, assumptions, estimates and uncertainties;
our business is subject to a variety of U.S. and foreign laws, which are subject to change and could adversely affect our business;
the pricing of our products and services and reimbursement for medical procedures conducted using our products and services;
changes in applicable laws or regulations;
failure to protect or enforce our intellectual property rights could harm our business, results of operations and financial condition;
the ability to maintain the listing of our Class A common stock on the NYSE;
economic downturns and political and market conditions beyond our control could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations; and
the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
These forward-looking statements are based on information available as of the date of this prospectus, and current expectations, forecasts and assumptions, and involve a number of judgments, risks and uncertainties. Important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated or implied by forward-looking statements such as those contained in documents we have filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Accordingly, forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any subsequent date, and we do not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date they were made, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required under applicable securities laws.
As a result of a number of known and unknown risks and uncertainties, our actual results or performance may be materially different from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. For a discussion of the risks involved in our business and investing in our common stock, see the section entitled “Risk Factors.”
Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should any of the underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary in material respects from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.
An investment in our securities involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the risks described below before making an investment decision. Our business, prospects, financial condition, or operating results could be harmed by any of these risks, as well as other risks not known to us or that we consider immaterial as of the date of this prospectus. The trading price of our securities could decline due to any of these risks, and, as a result, you may lose all or part of your investment.
Risks Related to Our Financial Condition and Capital Requirements
We have a limited operating history on which to assess the prospects for our business, we have generated limited revenue from sales of our products, and we have incurred losses since inception. We anticipate that we will continue to incur significant losses for at least the next several years as we continue to commercialize our existing products and services and seek to develop and commercialize new products and services.
Since inception, we have devoted substantially all of our financial resources to develop our products and related services. We have financed our operations primarily through the issuance of equity and convertible debt securities. We have generated limited revenue from the sale of our products and services to date and have incurred significant losses. The amount of our future net losses will depend, in part, on sales and on-going development of our products and related services, the rate of our future expenditures and our ability to obtain funding through the issuance of our securities, strategic collaborations or grants. We expect to continue to incur significant losses for at least the next several years as we continue to commercialize our existing products and services and seek to develop and commercialize new products and services. We anticipate that our expenses will increase substantially if and as we:
|●||continue to build our sales, marketing and distribution infrastructure to commercialize our products and services;|
|●||continue to develop our products and services;|
|●||seek to identify, assess, acquire, license and/or develop other products and services and subsequent generations of our current products and services;|
|●||seek to maintain, protect and expand our intellectual property portfolio;|
|●||seek to attract and retain skilled personnel; and|
|●||support our operations as a public company.|
Our ability to generate future revenue from product and service sales depends heavily on our success in many areas, including, but not limited to:
|●||launching and commercializing current and future products and services, either directly or in conjunction with one or more collaborators or distributors;|
|●||obtaining and maintaining marketing authorization with respect to each of our products and maintaining regulatory compliance throughout relevant jurisdictions;|
|●||maintaining clinical and economical value for end-users and customers in changing environments;|
|●||addressing any competing technological and market developments;|
|●||negotiating favorable terms in any collaboration, licensing or other arrangements into which we may enter;|
|●||establishing and maintaining distribution relationships with third-parties that can provide adequate (in amount and quality) infrastructure to support market demand for our products; and|
|●||maintaining, protecting and expanding our portfolio of intellectual property rights, including patents, trade secrets and know-how.|
We have incurred significant losses since inception. As such, you cannot rely upon our historical operating performance to make an investment decision about us.
Since our inception, we have engaged in research and development activities and launched our first product, Butterfly iQ, in the fourth quarter of 2018, and our second product, Butterfly iQ+, in 2020. Since commercialization of the Butterfly iQ, we also engaged in the continued development and sales of our enterprise software. We have financed our operations primarily through the issuance of equity securities and convertible debt. We have incurred net losses of $32.4 million, $162.7 million and $99.7 million in the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019, respectively. Our accumulated deficit as of December 31, 2021 was $427.2 million. We do not know whether or when we will become profitable. Our ability to generate revenue and achieve profitability depends upon our ability to accelerate the commercialization of our products and service offerings in line with the demand from current and future customers and our aggressive business strategy. We may be unable to achieve any or all of these goals.
We may need to raise additional funding to expand the commercialization of our products and services and to expand our research and development efforts. This additional financing may not be available on acceptable terms, or at all. Failure to obtain this necessary capital when needed may force us to delay, limit or terminate our product commercialization or development efforts or other operations.
Our operations have consumed substantial amounts of cash since inception. We expect to expend substantial additional amounts to commercialize our products and services and to develop new products and services. We expect to use the funds received in connection with the Business Combination to scale our operations, develop new products and services, expand internationally, and for working capital and general corporate purposes. We may require additional capital to expand the commercialization of our existing products and services and to develop new products and services. In addition, our operating plans may change as a result of many factors that may currently be unknown to us, and we may need to seek additional funds sooner than planned.
We cannot guarantee that future financing will be available in sufficient amounts or on terms acceptable to us, if at all. Moreover, the terms of any future financing may adversely affect the holdings or the rights of our stockholders and the issuance of additional securities, whether equity or debt, by the Company, or the possibility of such issuance, may cause the market price of our common stock to decline. The incurrence of indebtedness could result in increased fixed payment obligations, and we may be required to agree to certain restrictive covenants, such as limitations on our ability to incur additional debt, limitations on our ability to acquire, sell or license intellectual property rights and other operating restrictions that could adversely impact our ability to conduct our business. We could also be required to seek funds through arrangements with collaborative partners or otherwise at an earlier stage than otherwise would be desirable, and we may be required to relinquish rights to some of our technologies or products or otherwise agree to terms that are unfavorable to us, any of which may have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and prospects. In addition, raising additional capital through the issuance of equity or convertible debt securities would cause dilution to holders of our equity securities, and may affect the rights of then-existing holders of our equity securities. Even if we believe that we have sufficient funds for our current or future operating plans, we may seek additional capital if market conditions are favorable or if we have specific strategic considerations.
Risks Related to Our Business and Operations
Our success depends upon market acceptance of our products and services, our ability to develop and commercialize existing and new products and services and generate revenues, and our ability to identify new markets for our technology.
We have developed, and we are engaged in the development of, ultrasound imaging solutions using our ultrasound-on-a-semiconductor-chip technology. We are commercializing Butterfly iQ+ point-of-care ultrasound imaging devices. Our success will depend on the acceptance of our products and services in the U.S. and international healthcare markets. We are faced with the risk that the marketplace will not be receptive to our products and services over competing products, including traditional cart-based ultrasound devices used in hospitals, imaging centers and physicians’ offices, and that we will be unable to compete effectively. Factors that could affect our ability to successfully commercialize our current products and services and to commercialize any potential future products and services include:
|●||challenges of developing (or acquiring externally-developed) technology solutions that are adequate and competitive in meeting the requirements of next-generation design challenges; and|
|●||dependence upon physicians’ and other healthcare practitioners’ acceptance of our products.|
We cannot assure investors that our current products and services or any future products and services will gain broad market acceptance. If the market for our current products and services or any future products and services fails to develop or develops more slowly than expected, or if any of the services and standards supported by us do not achieve or sustain market acceptance, our business and operating results would be materially and adversely affected.
Medical device development is costly and involves continual technological change, which may render our current or future products obsolete.
The market for point-of-care medical devices is characterized by rapid technological change, medical advances and evolving industry standards. Any one of these factors could reduce the demand for our devices or services or require substantial resources and expenditures for research, design and development to avoid technological or market obsolescence.
Our success will depend on our ability to enhance our current technology, services and systems and develop or acquire and market new technologies to keep pace with technological developments and evolving industry standards, while responding to changes in customer needs. A failure to adequately develop or acquire device enhancements or new devices that will address changing technologies and customer requirements adequately, or to introduce such devices on a timely basis, may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We might have insufficient financial resources to improve existing devices, advance technologies and develop new devices at competitive prices. Technological advances by one or more competitors or future entrants into the field may result in our current devices becoming non-competitive or obsolete, which may decrease revenues and profits and adversely affect our business and results of operations.
We may encounter significant competition across our existing and future planned products and services and in each market in which we sell or plan to sell our products and services from various companies, many of which have greater financial and marketing resources than we do. Our primary competitors include General Electric, Phillips Healthcare, Canon Medical Systems (f/k/a Toshiba), Hitachi and Siemens Healthineers, which, per IHI Markit data, are the top five manufacturers of legacy cart-based incumbent ultrasound devices.
In addition, our competitors, which are well-established manufacturers with significant resources, may engage in aggressive marketing tactics. Competitors may also possess the ability to commercialize additional lines of products, bundle products or offer higher discounts and incentives to customers in order to gain a competitive advantage. If the prices of competing products are lowered as a result, we may not be able to compete effectively.
We will be dependent upon the success of our sales and customer acquisition and retention strategies.
Our business is dependent upon the success of our sales and customer acquisition and retention strategies, and our marketing efforts are focused on developing a strong reputation with healthcare providers and increasing awareness of our products and services. If we fail to maintain a high quality of service or a high quality of device technology, we may fail to retain existing users or add new users. If we do not successfully continue our sales efforts and promotional activities, particularly to health systems and large institutions, or if existing users decrease their level of engagement, our revenue, financial results and business may be significantly harmed. Our future success depends upon continued expansion of our commercial operations in the United States and internationally, as well as entering additional markets to commercialize our products and services. We believe that our growth will depend on the further development and commercialization of our current products and services, and marketing authorization of our future products and services. If we fail to expand the use of our products and services in a timely manner, we may not be able to expand our market share or to grow our revenue. Our financial performance will be substantially dictated by our success in adding, retaining and engaging active users of our products. If customers do not perceive our products or services to be useful, reliable and trustworthy, we may not be able to attract or retain customers or otherwise maintain or increase the frequency and duration of their engagement. As our business model is predicated on both hardware and software sales, there is risk that any decline in software renewal rates will adversely impact our business. To date, utilization of our software has varied across different medical specialties, but usage does not directly correlate to renewal of subscriptions, as different medical specialties interact with the device in different ways depending on their clinical focus and routine. A decrease in customer retention, growth or engagement with our products and services may have a material and adverse impact on our revenue, business, financial condition and results of operations.
Any number of factors could negatively affect customer retention, growth and engagement, including:
|●||customers increasingly engaging with competing products;|
|●||failure to introduce new and improved products and services;|
|●||inability to continue to develop products for mobile devices that customers find engaging, that work with a variety of mobile operating systems and networks and that achieve a high level of market acceptance;|
|●||changes in customer sentiment about the quality or usefulness of our products and services or concerns related to privacy and data sharing, safety, security or other factors;|
|●||inability to manage and prioritize information to ensure customers are presented with content that is engaging, useful and relevant to them;|
|●||adverse changes in our products that are mandated by legislation or regulatory agencies, both in the United States and internationally; or|
|●||technical or other problems preventing us from delivering products or services in a rapid and reliable manner or otherwise affecting the user experience.|
If we do not successfully manage the development and launch of new products, we will not meet our long term forecasts, and operating and financial results and condition could be adversely affected.
Our technology on a microchip has the potential to allow us to monitor patients in various care settings due to its portability and cost. We expect our development path will be directed at accessing and optimizing our technology for use in various care settings, potentially including home scanning and or wearable patient technology, subject to appropriate regulatory authorization. We face risks associated with launching such new products. If we encounter development or manufacturing challenges or discover errors during our product development cycle, the product launch dates of new products may be delayed, which will cause delays in our ability to achieve our forecasted results. The expenses or losses associated with unsuccessful product development or launch activities or lack of market acceptance of our new products could adversely affect our business or financial condition.
We expect to generate an increasing portion of our revenue internationally in the future and may become subject to various additional risks relating to our international activities, which could adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition.
During the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019, approximately 31%, 28% and 13%, respectively, of our product and service revenue was generated from customers located outside of the United States. We believe that a substantial percentage of our future revenue will come from international sources as we expand our sales and marketing opportunities internationally. We have limited experience operating internationally, and engaging in international business involves a number of difficulties and risks, including:
|●||the challenges associated with building local brand awareness, obtaining local key opinion leader support and clinical support, implementing reimbursement strategies and building local marketing and sales teams;|
|●||required compliance with foreign regulatory requirements and laws, including regulations and laws relating to patient data and medical devices;|
|●||trade relations among the United States and those foreign countries in which our current or future customers, distributors, manufacturers and suppliers have operations, including protectionist measures such as tariffs and import or export licensing requirements, whether imposed by the United States or such foreign countries, in particular the strained trade relations between United States and China since 2018;|
|●||difficulties and costs of staffing and managing foreign operations;|
|●||difficulties protecting, procuring or enforcing intellectual property rights internationally;|
|●||required compliance with anti-bribery laws, such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, data privacy requirements, labor laws and anti-competition regulations;|
|●||laws and business practices that may favor local companies;|
|●||longer payment cycles and difficulties in enforcing agreements and collecting receivables through certain foreign legal systems;|
|●||political and economic instability and war or other military conflict, including the ongoing conflict occurring in Ukraine, which could have a material adverse impact on our sales in Europe and elsewhere; and|
|●||potentially adverse tax consequences, tariffs, customs charges, bureaucratic requirements and other trade barriers.|
If we dedicate significant resources to our international operations and are unable to manage these risks effectively, our business, operating results and financial condition may be adversely affected.
We are subject to export and import control laws and regulations that could impair our ability to compete in international markets or subject us to liability if we violate such laws and regulations.
We are required to comply with export and import control laws, which may affect our ability to enter into or complete transactions with certain customers, business partners, and other persons. In certain circumstances, export control regulations may prohibit the export of certain products, services, and technologies. We may be required to obtain an export license before exporting a controlled item, and granting of a required license cannot be assured. Compliance with the import laws that apply to our businesses may restrict our access to, and may increase the cost of obtaining, certain products and could interrupt our supply of imported inventory.
Exported technologies necessary to develop and manufacture certain products are subject to U.S. export control laws and similar laws of other jurisdictions. We may be subject to adverse regulatory consequences, including government oversight of facilities and export transactions, monetary penalties, and other sanctions for violations of these laws. In certain instances, these regulations may prohibit us from developing or manufacturing certain of our products for specific applications outside the United States. Failure to comply with any of these laws and regulations could result in civil and criminal, monetary, and nonmonetary penalties; disruptions to our business; limitations on our ability to import and export products and services; or damage to our reputation.
If we experience decreasing prices for our products and are unable to reduce our expenses, including the per unit cost of producing our products, there may be a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
We may experience decreasing prices for our products due to pricing pressure from managed care organizations and other third-party payors and suppliers, increased market power of our payors as the medical device industry consolidates, and increased competition among suppliers, including manufacturing services providers. If the prices for our products and services decrease and we are unable to reduce our expenses, including the cost of sourcing materials, logistics and the cost to manufacture our products, our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows may be adversely affected. To the extent that we engage in enterprise sales, we may be subject to procurement discounts, which could have a negative impact on the prices of our products.
If we are unable to attract, recruit, train, retain, motivate and integrate key personnel, we may not achieve our goals.
Our future success depends on our ability to attract, recruit, train, retain, motivate and integrate key personnel, including our Founder and Chairman, Dr. Jonathan Rothberg, and our President and Chief Executive Officer, Todd M. Fruchterman, M.D., Ph.D., as well as our management team and our research and development, manufacturing, software engineering and sales and marketing personnel. Competition for qualified personnel is intense. Several members of our senior management team ended their service with us during the past year. The loss or incapacity of existing members of our executive management team could adversely affect our operations if we experience difficulties in hiring qualified successors. Our executive officers have signed offer letters or employment agreements with us, but their service is at-will and may end at any point in time. In addition, all of our employees are at-will, which means that either we or the employee may terminate their employment at any time.
We believe that our management team must be able to act decisively to apply and adapt our business model in the rapidly changing markets in which we will compete. In addition, we rely upon technical and scientific employees or third-party contractors to effectively establish, manage and grow our business. Consequently, we believe that our future viability will depend largely on our ability to attract and retain highly skilled managerial, sales, scientific and technical personnel. In order to do so, we increased our employee compensation in 2021 and in the future we may need to pay higher compensation or fees to our employees or consultants than we currently expect, and such higher compensation payments may have a negative effect on our operating results. Competition for experienced, high-quality
personnel is intense, and there is no assurance that we will be able to recruit and retain such personnel. Our growth depends, in particular, on attracting and retaining highly-trained sales personnel with the necessary technical background and ability to understand our products and services at a technical level to effectively identify and sell to potential new customers and develop new products. Because of the technical nature of our products and the dynamic market in which we compete, any failure to attract, recruit, train, retain, motivate and integrate qualified personnel could materially harm our operating results and growth prospects. Recruiting, training and retention difficulties can limit our ability to support our research and development and commercialization efforts.
We will need to expand our organization, and we may experience difficulties in recruiting needed additional employees and consultants, which could disrupt our operations.
As our development and commercialization plans and strategies develop, we will need additional managerial, operational, sales, marketing, financial, legal and other resources. The competition for qualified personnel in the medical device industry is intense. Due to this intense competition, we may be unable to attract and retain the qualified personnel necessary for the development of our business or to recruit suitable replacement personnel.
Our management may need to divert a disproportionate amount of its attention away from our day-to-day activities and devote a substantial amount of time to managing these growth activities. We may not be able to effectively manage the expansion of our operations, which may result in weaknesses in our infrastructure, operational mistakes, loss of business opportunities, loss of employees and reduced productivity among remaining employees. Our expected growth could require significant capital expenditures and may divert financial resources from other projects, such as the development of additional products. If our management is unable to effectively manage our growth, our expenses may increase more than expected, our ability to generate and/or grow revenue could be reduced and we may not be able to implement our business strategy. Our future financial performance and our ability to commercialize products and services and compete effectively will depend, in part, on our ability to effectively manage any future growth.
We have limited experience in marketing and selling our products and related services, and if we are unable to successfully commercialize our products and related services, our business and operating results will be adversely affected.
We have limited experience marketing and selling our products and related services. We currently sell our products to healthcare practitioners through eCommerce, distributors and enterprise sales. Future sales of our products will depend in large part on our ability to effectively market and sell our products and services, successfully manage and expand our sales force, and increase the scope of our marketing efforts. We may also enter into additional distribution arrangements in the future. Because we have limited experience in marketing and selling our products, our ability to forecast demand, the infrastructure required to support such demand and the sales cycle to customers is unproven. If we do not build an efficient and effective marketing and sales force, our business and operating results will be adversely affected.
We have chosen to engage a single supplier, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited, or TSMC, to supply and manufacture a key component of our products. If TSMC fails to fulfill its obligations under its existing contractual arrangements with us or does not perform satisfactorily, or if this relationship is terminated for other reasons, our ability to source our devices would be negatively and adversely affected. In addition, our obligation to purchase a minimum volume from TSMC may adversely affect our cash flows.
We have chosen to engage a single supplier, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited, or TSMC, a semiconductor manufacturer, to manufacture and supply all of the wafers used to create the semiconductor chips in our probes. See Item 1, Business — Manufacturing — Key Agreements — Foundry Service Agreement with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited. Since our contracts with TSMC are non-exclusive and do not commit TSMC to supply or manufacture quantities beyond the amounts included in our forecasts, TSMC may give other customers’ needs higher priority than ours, and we may not be able to obtain adequate supplies in a timely manner or on commercially reasonable terms. If TSMC is unable to supply components or devices, our business would be harmed.
We entered into a Foundry Service Agreement, or FSA, with TSMC, under which TSMC agreed to manufacture, and we committed to purchase, a minimum volume of the wafers used for the semiconductor chips in our probes. Our minimum purchase obligation could adversely affect our cash flows, such as in times when we have sufficient inventory and would otherwise be able to use our cash for other purposes. Pursuant to the FSA, we are required to buy back from TSMC any unused raw wafers. If we are required to buy back from TSMC any unused raw wafers pursuant to the FSA, our cash flows may be adversely impacted.
In addition, if we were to lose component suppliers such as TSMC, there can be no assurance that we will be able to identify or enter into agreements with alternative suppliers on a timely basis on acceptable terms, if at all. An interruption in our ability to sell and deliver our products or instruments to customers could occur if we encounter delays or difficulties in securing these components, or if the quality of the components supplied do not meet our specifications, or if we cannot then obtain an acceptable substitute. If any of these events occur, our business and operating results could be harmed.
We rely on a single contract manufacturer, Benchmark Electronics, Inc., or Benchmark, to test, assemble and supply our finished products. If Benchmark fails to fulfill its obligations under its existing contractual arrangements with us or does not perform satisfactorily, our ability to source our devices could be negatively and adversely affected.
In October 2015, we entered into a Manufacture and Supply Agreement, or MSA, with Benchmark. Under the MSA, as amended effective in August 2019 and February 2021, Benchmark will manufacture our products pursuant to binding 90-day purchase orders, as well as non-binding 180-day “forecasts” estimating our product shipment requirements, submitted by us to Benchmark each month, which may become binding in certain cases. We also have certain inventory related obligations, including the obligation to purchase excess and obsolete components from Benchmark. In addition, pursuant to the February 2021 amendment, we agreed to provide global production exclusivity to Benchmark for our current products and other hand-held probes which may be manufactured for us, for a specified exclusivity period. See Item 1, Business — Manufacturing — Key Agreements — Manufacture and Supply Agreement with Benchmark Electronics, Inc.
In the event it becomes necessary to utilize a different contract manufacturer for our component products, we would experience additional costs, delays and difficulties in obtaining such components as a result of identifying and entering into an agreement with a new contract manufacturer as well as preparing such new manufacturer to meet the logistical requirements associated with manufacturing our devices, and our business would suffer.
We have and may continue to experience pricing pressures from contract suppliers or manufacturers on which we rely.
Due to supply constraints, we have seen our costs increase in 2021 but we were largely able to offset these costs through manufacturing efficiencies and pricing actions. However, we expect there will continue to be supply constraints; our suppliers are continuing to raise prices and may continue to raise prices in the future, which we may not be able to offset through manufacturing efficiencies or pricing actions. Because we currently rely on TSMC to supply our custom components and on Benchmark to manufacture our finished products, such pricing pressures from either party could increase our costs and force us to increase the prices of our products if we are unable to enter into alternative arrangements with other suppliers or manufacturers, potentially leading to decreased customer demand.
We may experience manufacturing problems or delays that could limit the growth of our revenue or increase our losses.
We may encounter unforeseen situations that would result in delays or shortfalls in our production as well as delays or shortfalls caused by our outsourced manufacturing suppliers and by other third-party suppliers who manufacture components for our products. The FDA (and comparable foreign regulatory authorities) has comprehensive and prescriptive guidelines for medical device component manufacturers, requiring these manufacturers to establish and maintain processes and procedures to adequately control environmental conditions that could adversely affect product quality and impact patient safety. Clean room standards are an example of these requirements. Failure of component manufacturers or other third-party suppliers to comply with applicable standards could delay the production of our products. If we are unable to keep up with demand for our products, our revenue could be impaired, market acceptance for our products could be adversely affected and our customers might instead purchase our competitors’ products. Our inability to successfully manufacture our products would have a material adverse effect on our operating results.
We rely on limited or sole suppliers for some of the materials and components used in our products, and we may not be able to find replacements or immediately transition to alternative suppliers, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and reputation.
We rely on limited or sole suppliers for certain materials and components that are used in our products. While we periodically forecast our needs for such materials and enter into standard purchase orders with them, we do not have long-term contracts with some of these suppliers. If we were to lose such suppliers, or if such suppliers were unable to fulfill our orders or to meet our manufacturing specifications, there can be no assurance that we will be able to identify or enter into agreements with alternative suppliers on a timely basis or on acceptable terms, if at all. An interruption in our operations could occur if we encounter delays or difficulties in securing
these materials and components, or if the quality of the materials and components supplied do not meet our requirements, or if we cannot then obtain an acceptable substitute. The time and effort required to qualify a new supplier and ensure that the new materials and components provide the same or better quality results could result in significant additional costs. Any such interruption could significantly affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and reputation. To mitigate this risk, we typically carry significant inventory of critical components. While we believe that our level of inventory is currently sufficient for us to continue the manufacturing of our products without a disruption to our business in the event that we must replace one of our suppliers, there can be no assurance that we can maintain this level of inventory in the future.
Acquisitions or joint ventures could disrupt our business, cause dilution to our stockholders and otherwise harm our business.
We may acquire other businesses, products or technologies as well as pursue strategic alliances, joint ventures, technology licenses or investments in complementary businesses. Other than the Business Combination, we have not made any acquisitions to date, and our ability to do so successfully is unproven. Any of these transactions could be material to our financial condition and operating results and expose us to many risks, including:
|●||disruption in our relationships with customers, distributors, manufacturers or suppliers as a result of such a transaction;|
|●||unanticipated liabilities related to acquired companies;|
|●||difficulties integrating acquired personnel, technologies and operations into our existing business;|
|●||diversion of management’s time and focus away from operating our business to acquisition integration challenges;|
|●||increases in our expenses and reductions in our cash available for operations and other uses; and|
|●||possible write-offs or impairment charges relating to acquired businesses.|
Foreign acquisitions involve unique risks in addition to those mentioned above, including those related to the integration of operations across different cultures and languages, currency risks and the particular economic, political and regulatory risks associated with specific countries.
In addition, the anticipated benefit of any acquisition may not materialize. Future acquisitions or dispositions could result in potentially dilutive issuances of our equity securities, the incurrence of debt, contingent liabilities or amortization expenses or write-offs of goodwill, any of which could harm our financial condition. We cannot predict the number, timing or size of future joint ventures or acquisitions, if any, or the effect that any such transactions might have on our operating results.
If we do not successfully optimize and operate our sales and distribution channels or we do not effectively expand and update infrastructure, our operating results and customer experience may be negatively impacted.
If we do not adequately predict market demand or otherwise optimize and operate our sales and distribution channels successfully, this could result in excess or insufficient inventory or fulfillment capacity, increased costs, or immediate shortages in product or component supply, or harm our business in other ways. In addition, if we do not maintain adequate infrastructure to enable us to, among other things, manage our purchasing and inventory, this could negatively impact our operating results and user experience.
If we are unable to continue the development of an adequate sales and marketing organization and/or if our direct sales organization is not successful, we may have difficulty achieving market awareness and selling our products in the future.
We must continue to develop and grow our sales and marketing organization and enter into partnerships or other arrangements to market and sell our products and/or collaborate with third parties, including distributors and others, to market and sell our products to maintain the commercial success of Butterfly iQ+ and to achieve commercial success for any of our future products. Developing and managing a direct sales organization is a difficult, expensive and time-consuming process.
To continue to develop our sales and marketing organization to successfully achieve market awareness and sell our products, we must:
|●||continue to recruit and retain adequate numbers of effective and experienced sales and marketing personnel;|
|●||effectively train our sales and marketing personnel in the benefits and risks of our products;|
|●||establish and maintain successful sales, marketing, training and education programs that educate health care professionals so they can appropriately inform their patients about our products;|
|●||manage geographically dispersed sales and marketing operations; and|
|●||effectively train our sales and marketing personnel on the applicable fraud and abuse laws that govern interactions with healthcare practitioners as well as current and prospective patients and maintain active oversight and auditing measures to ensure continued compliance.|
We may not be able to successfully manage our sales force or increase our product sales at acceptable rates.
Our use of programmatic digital advertising platforms for our eCommerce sales may lead to unwanted advertising and to reputational harm.
Currently, we use programmatic digital advertising platforms that automatically place advertisements for our products on websites visited by those who have visited and/or made purchases from our website. This could lead to unwanted context for advertising about our products and services, resulting in ineffective advertising or even reputational harm.
If we are unable to establish and maintain adequate sales and marketing capabilities or enter into and maintain arrangements with third parties to sell and market our products, our business may be harmed.
We cannot guarantee that we will be able to maintain our current volume of sales in the future. A substantial reduction in sales could have a material adverse effect on our operating performance. To the extent that we enter into additional arrangements with third parties to perform sales or marketing services in the United States, Europe or other countries, our product margins could be lower than if we directly marketed and sold our products. To the extent that we enter into co-promotion or other marketing and sales arrangements with other companies, any revenue received will depend on the skills and efforts of others, and we cannot predict whether these efforts will be successful. In addition, the growth of market acceptance of our products by healthcare practitioners outside of the United States will largely depend on our ability to continue to demonstrate the relative safety, effectiveness, reliability, cost-effectiveness and ease of use of such products. If we are unable to do so, we may not be able to increase product revenue from our sales efforts in Europe or other countries. If we are unable to establish and maintain adequate sales, marketing and distribution capabilities, independently or with others, our future revenue may be reduced and our business may be harmed.
The market for our products and services is new, rapidly evolving, and increasingly competitive, as the healthcare industry in the United States is undergoing significant structural change, which makes it difficult to forecast demand for our products and services.
The market for our products and services is new and rapidly evolving, and it is uncertain whether we will achieve and sustain high levels of demand and market adoption. Our future financial performance will depend in part on growth in this market and on our ability to adapt to the changing demands of customers. It is difficult to predict the future growth rate and size of our target market. As a result, our market projections may not be achieved. Negative publicity concerning our products could limit market acceptance of our products and services. If our customers do not perceive the benefits of our products and services, or if our products and services do not attract new customers, then our market may not develop at all, or it may develop more slowly than we expect. Our success will depend to a substantial extent on the willingness of healthcare organizations to increase their use of our technology and our ability to demonstrate the value of our technology relative to competing products and services to existing and potential customers. If healthcare organizations do not recognize or acknowledge the benefits of our products and services or if we are unable to reduce healthcare costs or drive positive health outcomes, then the market for our solutions might not develop at all, or it might develop more slowly than we expect. Similarly, negative publicity regarding patient confidentiality and privacy in the context of technology-enabled healthcare or concerns experienced by competitors could limit market acceptance of our products and services.
The healthcare industry in the United States is undergoing significant structural change and is rapidly evolving. We believe that demand for our products and services has been driven in large part by rapidly growing costs in the traditional healthcare system, the movement toward patient-centricity and personalized healthcare, and advances in technology. Widespread acceptance of personalized healthcare is critical to our future growth and success. A reduction in the growth of personalized healthcare could reduce the demand for our products and services and result in a lower revenue growth rate or decreased revenue. Additionally, our products and services are offered on a subscription basis, and the adoption of subscription business models is still relatively new, especially in the healthcare industry. If companies do not shift to subscription business models and subscription health management tools do not achieve widespread adoption,
or if there is a reduction in demand for subscription products and services or subscription health management tools, our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be adversely affected. Further, the ability of our customers to purchase our products is often contingent upon the customer’s ability to secure adequate funding. Such funding may be derived from internal and external resources, which are subject to a number of circumstances outside of our control. Therefore, it is possible customer funding intended to use towards the purchase of our products may be either delayed or cancelled, which could present a negative impact on a customer’s ability to complete purchases and/or continue payments for ongoing subscription services.
Quality problems could lead to recalls or safety alerts and/or reputational harm and could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
Quality of our products is very important to us and our customers due to the serious and costly consequences of product failure. Our business exposes us to potential product liability risks that are inherent in the design, manufacture, and marketing of medical devices. Product or component failures, manufacturing nonconformities, design defects, off-label use, or inadequate disclosure of product-related risks or product-related information with respect to our products, if they were to occur, could result in inaccurate imaging and safety risks. These problems could lead to the recall of, or the issuance of a safety alert relating to, our products, and could result in product liability claims and lawsuits.
Additionally, the manufacture and production of our products must occur in a highly controlled and clean environment to minimize particles and other yield- and quality-limiting contaminants. Weaknesses in process control or minute impurities in materials may cause defective products. If we are not able to maintain stringent quality controls, or if contamination problems arise, our development and commercialization efforts could be delayed, which would harm our business and results of operations.
If we fail to meet any applicable product quality standards and our products are the subject of recalls or safety alerts, our reputation could be damaged, we could lose customers, and our revenue and results of operations could decline.
Our devices use lithium-ion battery cells, which have been observed to catch fire or vent smoke and flame, and these events may raise concerns about the batteries that we use.
The battery pack used in Butterfly’s iQ+ makes use of lithium-ion cells. On rare occasions, lithium-ion cells can rapidly release the energy they contain by venting smoke and flames in a manner that can ignite nearby materials. Publicized incidents of laptop computers and cell phones bursting into flames have focused consumer attention on the safety of these cells. There can be no assurance that the battery packs that we use would not fail, and this could lead to property damage, personal injury or death, and may subject us to lawsuits. We may also have to recall products due to battery-related safety concerns, which would be time-consuming and expensive. Also, negative perceptions in the healthcare and patient communities regarding the suitability of lithium-ion cells for medical applications or any future incident involving lithium-ion cells could seriously harm our business, even in the absence of an incident involving us.
If we are not able to develop and release new products and services, or successful enhancements, new features and modifications to our existing products and services, to successfully implement our Software-as-a-Services, or SAAS, solutions or to achieve adequate clinical utility, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.
The markets in which we operate are characterized by rapid technological change, frequent new product and service introductions and enhancements, changing customer demands, and evolving industry standards. The introduction of products and services embodying new technologies can quickly make existing products and services, including software memberships, obsolete and unmarketable. Additionally, changes in laws and regulations could impact the usefulness of our products and could necessitate changes or modifications to our products to accommodate such changes. We invest substantial resources in researching and developing new products and enhancing existing products by incorporating additional features, improving functionality, and adding other improvements to meet customers’ evolving needs. The success of any enhancements or improvements to our existing products or any new products depends on several factors, including timely completion, competitive pricing, adequate quality testing, integration with new and existing technologies and third-party partners’ technologies and overall market acceptance. We may not succeed in developing, marketing and delivering on a timely and cost-effective basis enhancements or improvements to our existing products or any new products that respond to continued changes in market demands or new customer requirements, and any enhancements or improvements to our products or any new solutions may not achieve market acceptance. Since developing our products is complex, the timetable for the release of new products and enhancements to existing products is difficult to predict, and we may not offer new products and updates as rapidly as our customers require or expect. Any new products that we develop may not be introduced in a timely or cost-effective manner, may contain
errors or defects, or may not achieve the broad market acceptance necessary to generate sufficient revenue. Moreover, even if we introduce new products, we may experience a decline in revenue from our existing products that is not offset by revenue from the new products. For example, customers may delay making purchases of new products to permit them to make a more thorough evaluation of these products or until industry and marketplace reviews become widely available. Customers may also delay purchasing a new product because their existing Butterfly or other device continues to meet their needs. Some customers may hesitate to migrate to a new product due to concerns regarding the performance of the new product. In addition, we may lose existing customers who choose a competitor’s products and services. This could result in a temporary or permanent revenue shortfall and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The introduction of new products and solutions by competitors, the development of entirely new technologies to replace existing offerings or shifts in healthcare benefits trends could make our products obsolete or adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. We may experience difficulties with software development, industry standards, design or marketing that could delay or prevent our development, introduction or implementation of new products, enhancements, additional features or capabilities. If customers do not widely purchase and adopt our products, we may not be able to realize a return on our investment. If we do not accurately anticipate customer demand or if we are unable to develop, license or acquire new features and capabilities on a timely and cost-effective basis, or if such enhancements do not achieve market acceptance, this could result in adverse publicity, loss of revenue or market acceptance or claims by customers brought against us, each of which could have a material and adverse effect on our reputation, business, results of operations and financial condition.
The COVID-19 pandemic has and could continue to negatively affect various aspects of our business, make it more difficult for us to meet our obligations to our customers, and result in reduced demand for our products and services, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
In December 2019, a novel strain of coronavirus was reported to have surfaced in Wuhan, China, and it has since spread throughout other parts of the world, including the United States. Any outbreak of contagious diseases, or other adverse public health developments, could have a material adverse effect on our business operations. These impacts to our operations have included, and could again in the future include, disruptions or restrictions on the ability of our employees and customers to travel or of us to pursue collaborations and other business transactions, travel to customers and/or conduct live demonstrations of our products at promotional events, maintain our presence in medical schools and other educational institutions, oversee the activities of our third-party manufacturers and suppliers and make shipments of materials. We may also be impacted by the temporary closure of the facilities of suppliers, manufacturers or customers. The COVID-19 pandemic may also continue to cause financial strain on our customer base due to decreased funding and other revenue shortfalls. With the recent Omicron variant wave of infections, we have seen our customer base become further strained in solving immediate problems associated with the variant. As a result, some of our customers have had to shift their attention to these pressing issues, resulting in longer sales cycles and slower adoption in the near term.
Travel restrictions and business closures have and may in the future adversely impact our operations locally and worldwide, including our ability to manufacture, market, sell or distribute our products, and such restrictions and closure have caused or may cause temporary closures of facilities of suppliers, manufacturers or customers. Disruptions in the operations of our suppliers, customers, and manufacturers and access to customers have and may in the future adversely impact our sales and operating results. In addition, travel restrictions have made it more difficult for us to monitor the quality of our third-party manufacturing operations when we are unable to conduct in-person quality audits of those facilities.
In addition, the issues originally brought on by COVID-19 continue to have an ongoing adverse impact on global supply chains, including ours. We have experienced constraints in availability, increasing lead times and costs required to obtain some inventory components. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures designed to contain its spread, our suppliers may not have the materials, capacity, or capability to supply our components according to our schedule and specifications. Further, there may be logistics issues, including our ability and our supply chain’s ability to maintain production, as well as transportation demands that may cause further delays. If our suppliers’ operations are curtailed, we may need to seek alternate sources of supply, which may be more expensive. Alternate sources may not be available or may result in delays in shipments to us from our suppliers and subsequently to our customers. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures designed to stop the spread of the virus may have similar effects on our customers. The current pandemic may also give rise to force majeure contractual protections being asserted by customers and/or suppliers that we maintain contracts with, potentially relieving contractual obligations these parties have to us. In any case, any disruption of our suppliers’ or customers’ businesses would likely negatively impact our sales and operating results.
While the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to be temporary, the duration and financial impact of the pandemic cannot be estimated at this time, and the impact on our supply chain and customers has and could continue to have an adverse effect on our results of operations and cash flows. Further, while the potential impact and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy and our business in particular may be difficult to assess or predict, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in, and may continue to result in, significant disruption of global financial markets and an economic downturn that may continue to affect demand for our products and services, reduce our ability to access capital or our customers’ ability to pay us for past or future purchases, impact our operating results, and have a negative impact on our liquidity and stock price. In addition, an extended recession or an additional financial market correction resulting from the spread of COVID-19 could, adversely affect demand for our products and services, our business and the value of our common stock. The global pandemic of COVID-19 continues to rapidly evolve, and we will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely. Given the uncertainty and potential economic volatility of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the recent developments we have experienced may change based on new information that may emerge concerning COVID-19, the actions to contain it or address its impact and the economic impact on local, regional, national and international markets. In addition, the continued spread of COVID-19 and actions taken to mitigate such spread as well as the prolonged nature of the pandemic or the occurrence of other outbreaks of contagious diseases could adversely impact our business, financial condition, operating results and cash flows.
Unfavorable global economic conditions could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Our results of operations could be adversely affected by general conditions in the global economy and in the global financial markets, including changes in inflation, interest rates and overall economic conditions and uncertainties. We have experienced pricing increases from our suppliers and we have increased compensation to our employees to help ensure employee retention. To the extent inflation or other factors increase our business costs, it may not be feasible to pass price increases on to our customers or offset higher costs through manufacturing efficiencies. Inflation could also adversely affect the ability of our customers to purchase our products. An economic downturn could result in a variety of risks to our business, including weakened demand for our products and our inability to raise additional capital when needed on acceptable terms, if at all. A weak or declining economy could also result in further constraints on our suppliers or cause future customers to delay making payments for our products. Any of the foregoing could harm our business and we cannot anticipate all of the ways in which the current economic climate and financial market conditions could adversely impact our business.
We have incurred and will incur increased costs and demands upon management as a result of complying with the laws and regulations affecting public companies, which could adversely affect our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
We have incurred and will incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company, including costs associated with public company reporting requirements. We also have incurred and will continue to incur costs associated with corporate governance requirements, including requirements under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, as well as rules implemented by the SEC and the NYSE. These rules and regulations are expected to increase our legal and financial compliance costs and to make some activities more time consuming and costly. For example, our executive officers and other personnel will need to devote substantial time regarding operations as a public company and compliance with applicable laws and regulations. As a result, it may be more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified individuals to serve on our board of directors or as executive officers, which may adversely affect investor confidence in the Company and could cause our business or stock price to suffer.
The enactment of legislation implementing changes in the U.S. taxation of international business activities, the adoption of other tax reform policies or changes in tax legislation or policies in jurisdictions outside of the United States could materially impact our results of operations and financial condition.
We are subject to income tax in the numerous jurisdictions in which we operate. Reforming the taxation of international businesses has been a priority for politicians, and a wide variety of potential changes have been proposed. Some proposals, several of which have been enacted, impose incremental taxes on gross revenue, regardless of profitability. Furthermore, it is reasonable to expect that global taxing authorities will be reviewing current legislation for potential modifications in reaction to the implementation of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, or the TCJA, in the United States. Due to the expanding scale of our international business activities, changes in the taxation of such activities may increase our worldwide effective tax rate and the amount of taxes we pay and harm our business.
In the United States, the TCJA enacted on December 22, 2017 significantly affected U.S. tax law by changing how the United States imposes income tax on multinational corporations. The U.S. Department of Treasury has broad authority to issue regulations and interpretative guidance that may significantly impact how we will apply the law and impact our results of operations in the period issued.
The TCJA requires complex computations not previously provided in U.S. tax law. As such, the application of accounting guidance for such items remain uncertain. Further, compliance with the TCJA and the accounting for such provisions requires an accumulation of information not previously required or regularly produced. As additional regulatory guidance is issued by the applicable taxing authorities, as accounting treatment is clarified, and as we perform additional analysis on the application of the law, our effective tax rate could be materially different.
Our ability to use net operating losses and certain other tax assets to offset future income may be subject to certain limitations.
As of December 31, 2021, we had federal net operating loss carry forwards, or NOLs, of approximately $494.8 million, of which approximately $73.7 million will begin to expire in 2031, if not utilized. Unused NOLs may be carried forward to offset future taxable income if we achieve profitability in the future, unless such NOLs expire under applicable tax laws. However, under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code, a corporation that undergoes an “ownership change” is subject to limitations on its ability to utilize its pre-change NOLs and other pre-change tax attributes (such as research tax credits) to offset post-change taxable income. For Section 382 purposes, an ownership change generally occurs where the aggregate equity ownership of one or more stockholders or groups of stockholders who owns at least 5% of a corporation’s stock increases its ownership by more than 50 percentage points over its lowest ownership percentage within a three-year period (calculated on a rolling basis). The Company has completed an ownership shift analysis through September 30, 2021 and determined that an ownership change has occurred on February 12, 2021 within the meaning of Section 382 and 383 of the Code. Based on our ownership change limitation study, we are limited to utilize only a portion of our pre-change federal NOLs and tax credits until 2026. However, the limitation due to the ownership change will not result in any of the NOLs or tax credits expiring unutilized. In addition, future changes in our stock ownership, including future offerings, as well as other changes that may be outside of our control, could result in additional ownership changes under Section 382 of the Code. Our NOLs and tax credits may also be limited under similar provisions of state laws. We have recorded a full valuation allowance related to our NOLs and other deferred tax assets due to the uncertainty of the ultimate realization of the future benefits of those assets.
In addition to the limitations discussed above under Sections 382 of the Code, the utilization of NOLs incurred in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, are subject to limitations adopted by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, as modified by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or the CARES Act. Under the TCJA, in general, NOLs generated in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 may offset no more than 80 percent of such year’s taxable income and there is no ability for such NOLs to be carried back to a prior taxable year. The CARES Act modifies the TCJA with respect to the TCJA’s limitation on the deduction of NOLs and provides that NOLs arising in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 and before January 1, 2021, may be carried back to each of the five taxable years preceding the tax year of such loss, but NOLs arising in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2020 may not be carried back. In addition, the CARES Act eliminates the limitation on the deduction of NOLs to 80 percent of current year taxable income for taxable years beginning before January 1, 2021. As a result of such limitation, we may be required to pay federal income tax in some future year notwithstanding that we had a net loss for all years in the aggregate.
U.S. taxation of international business activities or the adoption of tax reform policies could materially impact our future financial position and results of operations.
Limitations on the ability of taxpayers to claim and utilize foreign tax credits and the deferral of certain tax deductions until earnings outside of the United States are repatriated to the United States, as well as changes to U.S. tax laws that may be enacted in the future, could impact the tax treatment of future foreign earnings. Should the scale of our international business activities expand, any changes in the U.S. taxation of such activities could increase our worldwide effective tax rate and harm our future financial position and results of operations.
Taxing authorities may successfully assert that we should have collected or we in the future should collect sales and use, value-added, or similar taxes, and we could be subject to liability with respect to past or future sales, which could adversely affect our results of operations.
Jurisdictions in which we do not collect sales, use, value-added, or similar taxes on our products may assert that such taxes are applicable, which could result in tax assessments, penalties, and interest, and we may be required to collect such taxes in the future. Such tax
assessments, penalties, interest, or future requirements would adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. Further, in June 2018, the Supreme Court held in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. that states could impose sales tax collection obligations on out-of-state sellers even if those sellers lack any physical presence within the states imposing the sales taxes. Under Wayfair, a person requires only a “substantial nexus” with the taxing state before the state may subject the person to sales tax collection obligations therein. An increasing number of states (both before and after the publication of Wayfair) have considered or adopted laws that attempt to impose sales tax collection obligations on out-of-state sellers. The Supreme Court’s Wayfair decision has removed a significant impediment to the enactment and enforcement of these laws, and it is possible that states may seek to tax out-of-state sellers on sales that occurred in prior tax years, which could create additional administrative burdens for us, put us at a competitive disadvantage if such states do not impose similar obligations on our competitors, and decrease our future sales, which would adversely impact our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
We could be adversely affected by violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other worldwide anti-bribery laws by us or our agents.
We are subject to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, which prohibits companies and their intermediaries from making payments in violation of law to non-U.S. government officials for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business or securing any other improper advantage. Our planned future reliance on independent distributors to sell our products internationally demands a high degree of vigilance in enforcing our policy against participation in corrupt activity, because these distributors could be deemed to be our agents, and we could be held responsible for their actions. Other U.S. companies in the medical device and pharmaceutical fields have faced criminal penalties under the FCPA for allowing their agents to deviate from appropriate practices in doing business with such non-U.S. government officials. We are also subject to similar anti-bribery laws in the jurisdictions in which we operate, including the United Kingdom’s Bribery Act of 2010, which also prohibits commercial bribery and makes it a crime for companies to fail to prevent bribery. We have limited experience in complying with these laws and in developing procedures to monitor compliance with these laws by our agents. These laws are complex and far-reaching in nature, and, as a result, we cannot assure investors that we would not be required in the future to alter one or more of our practices to be in compliance with these laws or any changes in these laws or the interpretation thereof.
Any violations of these laws, or allegations of such violations, could disrupt our operations, involve significant management distraction, involve significant costs and expenses, including legal fees, and could result in a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition, or results of operations. We could also incur severe penalties, including criminal and civil penalties, disgorgement, and other remedial measures.
Risks Related to Government Regulation and Other Legal Compliance Matters
We are subject to extensive government regulation, which could restrict the development, marketing, sale and distribution of our products and could cause us to incur significant costs.
Our ultrasound imaging products and associated services are subject to extensive pre-market and post-market regulation by the FDA and various other federal, state, local and foreign government authorities. Government regulation of medical devices is meant to assure their safety and effectiveness, and includes requirements for, among other things:
|●||design, development and manufacturing processes;|
|●||labeling, content and language of instructions for use and storage;|
|●||product testing, non-clinical studies and clinical trials;|
|●||regulatory authorizations, such as pre-market clearance or pre-market approval;|
|●||establishment registration, device listing and ongoing compliance with the QSR requirements;|
|●||advertising and promotion;|
|●||marketing, sales and distribution;|
|●||conformity assessment procedures;|
|●||product traceability and record-keeping procedures;|
|●||review of product complaints, complaint reporting, recalls and field safety corrective actions;|
|●||post-market surveillance, including reporting of deaths or serious injuries and malfunctions that, if they were to recur, could lead to death or serious injury;|
|●||post-market studies (if applicable); and|
|●||product import and export.|
The laws and regulations to which we and our products are subject are complex and subject to periodic changes. Regulatory changes could result in restrictions on our ability to carry on or expand our operations, higher than anticipated costs or lower than anticipated sales.
Before a new medical device, or a significant modification of a medical device, including a new use of or claim for an existing product, can be marketed in the United States, it must first receive either 510(k) clearance or pre-market approval, or PMA, from the FDA, unless an exemption applies. In the 510(k) clearance process, the FDA must determine that a proposed device is “substantially equivalent” to a device legally on the market, known as a “predicate” device, with respect to intended use, technology and safety and effectiveness, in order to clear the proposed device for marketing. Clinical data is sometimes required to support substantial equivalence. Further, if a previously unclassified new medical device does not qualify for the 510(k) pre-market notification process because no predicate device to which it is substantially equivalent can be identified, the device is automatically classified into Class III. If such a device would be considered low or moderate risk (in other words, it does not rise to the level of requiring the approval of a PMA), it may be eligible for the De Novo classification process.
Obtaining 510(k) clearance, De Novo classification, or PMA approval for medical devices can be expensive and time-consuming, and entails significant user fees, unless an exemption is available. The FDA’s process for obtaining 510(k) clearance usually takes three to 12 months, but it can last longer. In the PMA approval process, the FDA must determine that a proposed device is safe and effective for its intended use based, in part, on extensive data, including but not limited to, technical, non-clinical, clinical trial, manufacturing and labeling data. The process for obtaining a PMA is more costly and uncertain than for a 510(k), and approval can take anywhere from at least one year to, in some cases, multiple years from the time the application is initially filed with the FDA. Modifications to products that are approved through a PMA application generally require further FDA approval. Some of our future products may require PMA approval. In addition, the FDA may require that we obtain a PMA prior to marketing future changes of our existing products. Further, we may not be able to obtain additional 510(k) clearances or PMAs for new products or for modifications to, or additional indications for, our products in a timely fashion or at all. Delays in obtaining future clearances or approvals could adversely affect our ability to introduce new or enhanced products in a timely manner, which in turn could harm our revenue and future profitability.
We received 510(k) clearance for the Butterfly iQ in 2017, and the FDA determined, following a 2020 pre-submission meeting with us, that the Butterfly iQ+ was eligible to be marketed under the original 510(k) clearance. We may be required to obtain a new 510(k) clearance or PMA for significant post-market modifications to our products, including any modifications made to the Butterfly iQ+. In order to pave the way for at-home use of the Butterfly iQ+ and future products or services, we anticipate that we will need to validate at-home applications through focused clinical trials.
In order to conduct a clinical investigation involving human subjects for the purpose of demonstrating the safety and effectiveness of a medical device, if necessary, for a PMA application, De Novo classification request, or 510(k) notification, a company must, among other things, apply for and obtain institutional review board, or IRB, approval of the proposed investigation. In addition, if the clinical study involves a “significant risk” (as defined by the FDA) to human health, the sponsor of the investigation must also submit and obtain FDA approval of an investigational device exemption, or IDE, application and follow applicable IDE regulations. Unless IDE-exempt, nonsignificant risk devices are still subject to certain abbreviated IDE requirements, however, an IDE application is not required if such abbreviated requirements are met. We may not be able to obtain any necessary FDA and/or IRB approval to undertake clinical trials in the United States for future devices we develop and intend to market in the United States. If we do obtain such approvals, the FDA may find that our studies do not comply with the IDE or other regulations governing clinical investigations or the data from any such trials may not support clearance or approval of the investigational device. Moreover, certainty that clinical trials will meet desired endpoints, produce meaningful or useful data and be free of unexpected adverse effects, or that the FDA will accept the validity of foreign clinical study data (if applicable) cannot be assured, and such uncertainty could preclude or delay market clearance or authorizations resulting in significant financial costs and reduced revenue.
We are also subject to numerous post-marketing regulatory requirements, which include quality system regulations related to the manufacture of our devices, labeling regulations and medical device reporting, or MDR, regulations. The last of these regulations requires us to report to the FDA if our devices 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 if the malfunction recurred. If we fail to comply with present or future regulatory requirements that are applicable to Butterfly, we may be subject to enforcement action by the FDA, which may include any of the following sanctions:
|●||untitled letters, warning letters, fines, injunctions, consent decrees and civil penalties;|
|●||customer notification, or orders for repair, replacement or refunds;|
|●||voluntary or mandatory recall or seizure of Butterfly’s current or future products;|
|●||administrative detention by the FDA of medical devices believed to be adulterated or misbranded;|
|●||operating restrictions, suspension or shutdown of production;|
|●||refusal of our requests for 510(k) clearance or PMA of new products, new intended uses or modifications to existing products;|
|●||rescission of 510(k) clearance or suspension or withdrawal of PMAs that have already been granted; and|
The occurrence of any of these events may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
There is no guarantee that the FDA will grant 510(k) clearance or PMA approval of our future products, and failure to obtain necessary clearances or approvals for our future products would adversely affect our ability to grow our business.
Some of our new or modified products will require FDA clearance of a 510(k) notification or FDA approval of a PMA application, or potentially a grant of a De Novo classification. The FDA may refuse our requests for 510(k) clearance or PMA of new products or may not clear or approve these products for the indications that are necessary or desirable for successful commercialization. Early stage review may also result in delays or other issues. For example, the FDA has issued guidance intended to explain the procedures and criteria used in assessing whether 510(k) and PMA submissions should be accepted for substantive review. Under the “Refuse to Accept” guidance, the FDA conducts an early review against specific acceptance criteria to inform 510(k) and PMA submitters if the submission is administratively complete, or if not, to identify the missing element(s). Submitters are given the opportunity to provide the FDA with any information identified as missing. If the information is not provided within a specified time, the submission will not be accepted for FDA review. The FDA may also change its clearance and approval policies, adopt additional regulations or revise existing regulations, or take other actions that may prevent or delay approval or clearance of our products under development or impact our ability to gain clearance or approval for modifications to our currently approved or cleared products in a timely manner. Significant delays in receiving clearance or approval, or the failure to receive clearance or approval for our new products, would have an adverse effect on our ability to expand our business.
Recent initiatives by the FDA to enhance and modernize various regulatory pathways for device products and its overall approach to safety and innovation in the medical technology industry creates the possibility of changing product development costs, requirements, and other factors and additional uncertainty for our future products and business.
Regulatory requirements may change in the future in a way that adversely affects us. Any change in the laws or regulations that govern the clearance and approval processes or the post-market compliance requirements relating to our current and future products could make it more difficult and costly to obtain clearance or approval for new products, or to produce, market and distribute existing products.
For example, the FDA and other government agencies have been focusing on the cybersecurity risks associated with certain medical devices and encouraging device manufacturers to take a more proactive approach to assessing the cybersecurity risks of their devices both during development and on a periodic basis after the devices are in commercial distribution. These regulatory efforts could lead to new FDA requirements in the future or additional product liability or other litigation risks if any of our products is considered to be susceptible to third-party tampering. In December 2016, Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act, which made multiple changes to the FDA’s rules for medical devices as well as for clinical trials, and in August 2017, Congress passed the Medical Device User Fee reauthorization package, which affects medical device regulation both pre- and post-approval and could have certain impacts on our
business. Since that time, the FDA has announced a series of efforts to modernize and streamline the 510(k) notification and regulatory review process and monitoring post-market safety, and issued a final rule to formalize the De Novo classification process to provide clarity to innovative device developers. In addition, the next FDA reauthorization package is currently being negotiated and is required to be finalized by Congress in mid-2022. Changes in the FDA 510(k) process could make clearance more difficult to obtain, increase delay, add uncertainty and have other significant adverse effects on our ability to obtain and maintain clearance for our products.
It is unclear at this time whether and how various activities initiated or announced by the FDA to modernize the U.S. medical device regulatory system could affect our business, as some of the FDA’s new medical device safety and innovation initiatives have not been formalized and remain subject to change. For example, a 2018 Medical Device Safety Action Plan announced by former FDA Commissioner Gottlieb included a particular focus on post-market surveillance and how to respond when new safety concerns emerge once a product is on the market. The increased attention that the medical technology industry is receiving from FDA leadership that understands the challenging and rapidly changing nature of the U.S. health care system creates the possibility of unanticipated regulatory and other potential changes to our products and our overall business. In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the FDA’s device and diagnostic center leadership has exercised a significant amount of enforcement discretion to meet the medical community’s and patients’ needs for remote monitoring and other innovative solutions that involve digital health products. In December 2021, the FDA issued draft guidance documents describing a phased transition process for medical devices that were developed or modified during the course of the pandemic to treat COVID-19 patients or allow greater access to patients, including medical imaging devices that were developed or modified in accordance with FDA’s Enforcement Policy for Imaging Systems During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. It is unclear how those policies could impact the medical device industry in the future.
If we fail to obtain marketing authorization in other countries for existing products or products under development, we will not be able to commercialize these products in those countries.
In order for us to market our products in countries outside of the United States, we must comply with extensive safety and quality regulations in other countries regarding the quality, safety and efficacy of our products. These regulations, including the requirements for approvals, clearance or CE mark grant, and the time required for regulatory review, vary from country to country. Failure to obtain regulatory approval, clearance or CE mark (or equivalent) in any foreign country in which we plan to market our products may harm our ability to generate revenue and harm our business. Approval and CE marking procedures vary between countries and can involve additional product testing and additional administrative review periods. The time required to obtain approval or CE mark in other countries might differ from that required to obtain FDA clearance. The regulatory approval or CE marking process in other countries may include all of the risks detailed above regarding FDA clearance in the United States. Regulatory approval or the CE marking of a product in one country does not ensure regulatory approval in another, but a failure or delay in obtaining regulatory approval or a CE mark in one country may negatively impact the regulatory process in others. Failure to obtain regulatory approval or a CE mark in other countries or any delay or setback in obtaining such approval could have the same adverse effects described above regarding FDA clearance in the United States.
The primary regulatory environment in Europe is that of the EEA, which is comprised of the Member States of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. We cannot be certain that we will be successful in meeting and continuing to meet the requirements to market a medical device in the EEA in light of the current transition period between the prior system, called the Medical Device Directive, or MDD, to the current system, called the Medical Device Regulation. The Medical Device Regulation went into force in May 2017 but allowed a three-year transition period until May 2020 for Member States, regulatory authorities, and medical device stakeholders to come into compliance with the new requirements. A one-year delay of the compliance date of the Medical Device Regulation was implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, such that May 2021 was the deadline for industry compliance. Compared to the MDD, the Medical Device Regulation promotes a shift from the pre-approval stage (i.e., the path to CE Marking) to a life-cycle approach and places greater emphasis on clinical data and clinical evaluations to assure the safety and performance of new medical devices. Moreover, the Medical Device Regulation includes elements intended to strengthen the conformity assessment procedures, assert greater control over notified bodies and their standards, increase overall system transparency, and impose more robust device vigilance requirements on manufacturers and distributors. Among other changes, many device manufacturers will need to switch notified bodies to one that has received its designation under the Medical Device Regulation, which will require those manufacturers to undergo an audit and have all their documentation reviewed by the new notified body before it can assess their medical device products under the new standards. European medical device manufacturers and distributors are currently benefiting from a grace period for legacy MDD certificates that lasts until May 26, 2024. For a product to qualify for the grace period, there must be no significant changes to such a legacy medical device as described in its existing MDD certificate; the recertification process under the Medical Device Regulation requires a demonstration that the performance and the safety of the currently marketed medical device has been maintained and that the
system meets the new regulatory requirements. The new rules and procedures that have been created under the overhauled European regulations will likely result in increased regulatory oversight of all medical devices marketed in the EU, and this may, in turn, increase the costs, time and requirements that need to be met in order to place an innovative or high-risk medical device on the EEA market.
If we, our contract manufacturers or our component suppliers are unable to manufacture our products in sufficient quantities, on a timely basis, at acceptable costs and in compliance with regulatory and quality requirements, the manufacturing and distribution of our devices could be interrupted, and our product sales and operating results could suffer.
We, our contract manufacturers and our component suppliers are required to comply with the FDA’s Quality System Regulation or QSR, which is a complex regulatory framework that covers the procedures and documentation of the design, testing, production, control, quality assurance, labeling, packaging, sterilization, storage, shipping and servicing of our devices. Compliance with applicable regulatory requirements is subject to continual review and is monitored rigorously through periodic, sometimes unannounced, inspections by the FDA. We cannot assure investors that our facilities or our third-party manufacturers’ or suppliers’ facilities would pass any future quality system inspection. Failure of our or our third-party manufacturers and component suppliers to adhere to QSR requirements or take adequate and timely corrective action in response to an adverse quality system inspection finding could delay production of our products and lead to fines, difficulties in obtaining regulatory clearances, recalls, enforcement actions, including injunctive relief or consent decrees, or other consequences, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations. Any such failure, including the failure of our contract manufacturers, to achieve and maintain the required high manufacturing standards could result in further delays or failures in product testing or delivery, cost overruns, increased warranty costs or other problems that could harm our business and prospects.
In addition, any of our products shipped internationally are also required to comply with the International Organization for Standardization, or ISO, quality system standards as well as European Directives and norms in order to produce products for sale in the EU. In addition, any of our products shipped internationally are also required to comply with the International Organization for Standardization, or ISO, quality system standards as well as European Directives and norms in order to produce products for sale in the EU. The FDA is also expected to publish proposed regulations in 2022 intended to modernize and harmonize the QSR with the applicable ISO standards, which may have wide-reaching effects on medical device production and the industry as a whole.
In addition, many countries such as Canada and Japan have very specific additional regulatory requirements for quality assurance and manufacturing. If we fail to continue to comply with current good manufacturing requirements, as well as ISO or other regulatory standards, we may be required to cease all or part of our operations until we comply with these regulations. Maintaining compliance with multiple regulators adds complexity and cost to our manufacturing and compliance processes.
Our current or future products may be subject to product recalls even after receiving FDA clearance or approval. A recall of our products, either voluntarily or at the direction of the FDA, or the discovery of serious safety issues with our products, could have a significant adverse impact on us.
The FDA and similar governmental bodies in other countries have the authority to require the recall of our products if we or our third-party manufacturers fail to comply with relevant regulations pertaining to, among other things, manufacturing practices, labeling, advertising or promotional activities, or if new information is obtained concerning the safety or efficacy of these products. For example, under the FDA’s MDR regulations, we are required to report to the FDA any incident in which our products may have caused or contributed to a death or serious injury or in which our products malfunctioned in a manner likely to cause or contribute to death or serious injury if that malfunction were to recur. Repeated adverse events or product malfunctions may result in a voluntary or involuntary product recall, or administrative or judicial seizure or injunction, when warranted. A government-mandated recall may be ordered if the FDA finds that there is a reasonable probability that the device would cause serious, adverse health consequences or death. A voluntary recall by us could occur as a result of any material deficiency in a device, such as manufacturing defects, labeling deficiencies, packaging defects or other failures to comply with applicable regulations, such as a failure to obtain marketing approval or clearance before launching a new product. In February 2020, we initiated a voluntary recall of two software tools after being notified by the FDA that each of them required clearance via a 510(k) pre-market notification. The FDA evaluated the recall and subsequently terminated it in June 2020. In general, if we decide to make a change to our product, we are responsible for determining whether to classify the change as a recall. It is possible that the FDA could disagree with our initial classification. The FDA requires that certain classifications of recalls be reported to the FDA within 10 working days after the recall is initiated. If a change to a device addresses a violation of the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, or FDCA, that change would generally constitute a medical device recall and require submission of a recall report to the FDA.
Recalls of any of our products would divert managerial and financial resources and have an adverse effect on our reputation, results of operations and financial condition, which could impair our ability to produce our products in a cost-effective and timely manner in order to meet our customers’ demands. We may also be subject to product liability claims, be required to bear other costs, or be required to take other actions that may have a negative impact on our future sales and our ability to generate profits. Companies are required to maintain certain records of recalls, even if they are not reportable to the FDA. We may initiate voluntary recalls involving our products in the future that we determine do not require notification to the FDA. If the FDA disagrees with our determinations, the FDA could require us to report those actions as recalls. A future recall, withdrawal, or seizure of any product could materially and adversely affect consumer confidence in the Butterfly brand, lead to decreased demand for our products and negatively affect our sales. In addition, the FDA could take enforcement action for failing to report recalls when they were conducted by us or one of our agents.
We may be subject to enforcement action if we engage in improper or off-label marketing or promotion of our products, including fines, penalties and injunctions.
Our promotional materials and training methods must comply with FDA and other applicable laws and regulations, including the prohibition of the promotion of unapproved, or off-label, uses. Physicians may, however, use our products off-label, as the FDA does not restrict or regulate a physician’s practice of medicine. Medical device manufacturers and distributors are permitted to promote their products in a way that is consistent with the FDA-authorized labeling and indications for use. However, if the FDA determines that our promotional materials or training materials promote a 510(k)-cleared or approved medical device in a manner inconsistent with its labeling, it could request that we modify our training or promotional materials or subject us to regulatory or enforcement actions, including the issuance of an Untitled Letter, a Warning Letter, injunction, seizure, civil fine or criminal penalties. In addition to ensuring that the claims we make are consistent with our regulatory clearances or approvals, the FDA also ensures that promotional labeling for all regulated medical devices is neither false nor misleading.
It is also possible that other federal, state or foreign enforcement authorities might take action if they consider our promotional or training materials to constitute promotion of an off-label use, which could result in significant fines or penalties under other statutory authorities, such as laws prohibiting false claims for reimbursement. In that event, our reputation could be damaged, and adoption of our products could be impaired. Although our policy is to refrain from making statements or from disseminating promotional material that could be considered off-label promotion of our products, the FDA or another regulatory agency could disagree and conclude that we have engaged in off-label promotion. In addition, the off-label use of our products may increase the risk of product liability claims. Product liability claims are expensive to defend and could divert our management’s attention, result in substantial damage awards against us, and harm our reputation. Recent court decisions have impacted the FDA’s enforcement activity regarding off-label promotion in light of First Amendment considerations, although there are still significant risks in this area in part due to the potential False Claims Act exposure. Further, this area is subject to ongoing policy changes at the federal level, resulting in some degree of uncertainty for regulated businesses. For example, in August 2021, the FDA issued a final rule revising the agency’s regulation governing the types of evidence relevant to determining the “intended use” of a medical device under the FDCA, which has significant implications for when a manufacturer or distributor has engaged in off-label marketing.
Direct-to-consumer marketing and social media efforts may expose us to additional regulatory scrutiny, including from the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, and other consumer protection agencies and regulators.
In addition to the laws and regulations enforced by the FDA, advertising for various services and for non-restricted medical devices is subject to federal truth-in-advertising laws enforced by the FTC, as well as comparable state consumer protection laws. Our efforts to promote our prescription products via direct-to-consumer marketing and social media initiatives may subject us to additional scrutiny of our practices. For example, the FTC and other consumer protection agencies scrutinize all forms of advertising (whether in digital or traditional formats) for business services, consumer-directed products, and non-restricted medical devices to ensure that advertisers are not making false, misleading or unsubstantiated claims or failing to disclose material relationships between the advertiser and its products’ endorsers, among other potential issues. The FDA oversees the advertising and promotional labeling for restricted medical devices and ensures, among other things, that there is effective communication of, and a fair and balanced presentation of, the risks and benefits of such high-risk medical devices.
Under the Federal Trade Commission Act, or FTC Act, the FTC is empowered, among other things, to (a) prevent unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce; (b) seek monetary redress and other relief for conduct injurious to consumers; and (c) gather and compile information and conduct investigations relating to the organization, business, practices, and management of entities engaged in commerce. The FTC has very broad enforcement authority, and failure to abide by the
substantive requirements of the FTC Act and other consumer protection laws can result in administrative or judicial penalties, including civil penalties, injunctions affecting the manner in which we would be able to market services or products in the future, or criminal prosecution. We plan to increase our advertising activities that may be subject to these federal and state truth-in-advertising laws. Any actual or perceived non-compliance with those laws could lead to an investigation by the FTC or a comparable state agency, or could lead to allegations of misleading advertising by private plaintiffs. Any such action against us would disrupt our business operations, cause damage to our reputation, and have a material adverse effect on our business.
In some instances in our advertising and promotion, we may make claims regarding our product as compared to competing products, which may subject us to heightened regulatory scrutiny, enforcement risk, and litigation risks.
The FDA requires that promotional labeling be truthful and not misleading, including with respect to any comparative claims made about competing products or technologies. In addition to FDA implications, the use of comparative claims also presents risk of a lawsuit by the competitor under federal and state false advertising and unfair competition statutes (e.g., the Lanham Act) or unfair and deceptive trade practices law, and possibly also state libel law. Such a suit may seek injunctive relief against further advertising, a court order directing corrective advertising, and compensatory and punitive damages where permitted by law. Further, notwithstanding the ultimate outcome of any Lanham Act or similar complaint, our reputation and relationship with certain customers or distribution partners may be harmed as a result of the allegations related to our products or our business practices more generally.
Because we do not require training for users of our current products, although they are limited under FDA’s marketing clearances to use by trained healthcare practitioners, there exists a potential for misuse of these products, which could ultimately harm our reputation and business.
Federal regulations allow us to sell our medical device products to or on the order of practitioners licensed by law to use or order the use of a prescription device. 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 United States, many jurisdictions do not require specific qualifications or training for purchasers or operators of medical device products. We do not supervise the procedures performed with our products, nor can we require that direct medical supervision occur. Although product training is offered, neither we nor our distributors require purchasers or operators of our non-invasive products to attend training sessions. The lack of required training and the purchase and use of our non-invasive products by non-physicians may result in product misuse and adverse treatment outcomes, which could harm our reputation and expose us to costly product liability litigation.
We are subject to federal, state and foreign laws prohibiting “kickbacks” and false or fraudulent claims, and other fraud and abuse laws, transparency laws, and other health care laws and regulations, which, if violated, could subject us to substantial penalties. Additionally, any challenge to or investigation into our practices under these laws could cause adverse publicity and be costly to respond to, and thus could harm our business.
Our relationships with customers and third-party payors are subject to broadly applicable fraud and abuse and other health care laws and regulations that may constrain Butterfly’s sales, marketing and other promotional activities by limiting the kinds of financial arrangements, including sales programs and certain customer and product support programs, we may have with hospitals, physicians or other purchasers of medical devices. Other federal and state laws generally prohibit individuals or entities from knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, claims for payment from Medicare, Medicaid, or other third-party payors that are false or fraudulent, or are for items or services that were not provided as claimed. These laws include, among others, the federal healthcare Anti-Kickback Statute, the federal civil False Claims Act, other federal health care false statement and fraud statutes, the Open Payments program, the Civil Monetary Penalties Law, and analogous fraud and abuse and transparency laws in most states, as described in Item 1, Business — Government Regulation. While the federal laws generally apply only to products or services for which payment may be made by a federal healthcare program, state laws often apply regardless of whether federal funds may be involved.
While we believe and make every effort to ensure that our business arrangements with third parties and other activities and programs comply with all applicable laws, these laws are complex, and our activities may be found not to be compliant with one or more of these laws, which may result in significant civil, criminal and/or administrative penalties, fines, damages and exclusion from participation in federal health care programs. Even an unsuccessful challenge or investigation into our practices could cause adverse publicity, and be costly to respond to, and thus could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Our compliance with Medicare and Medicaid regulations may be reviewed by federal or state agencies, including the Office of Inspector
General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or OIG, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, and the U.S. Department of Justice, or may be subject to whistleblower lawsuits under federal and state false claims laws. To ensure compliance with Medicare, Medicaid and other regulations, government agencies conduct periodic audits of the Company to ensure compliance with various supplier standards and billing requirements.
Similarly, our international operations are subject to the provisions of the FCPA, which prohibits U.S. companies and their intermediaries from making payments in violation of law to non-U.S. government officials for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business or securing any other improper advantage. In many countries, the healthcare professionals that medical device distributors regularly interact with may meet the definition of a foreign official for purposes of the FCPA. International business operations are also subject to various other international anti-bribery laws such as the U.K. Anti-Bribery Act. Despite meaningful measures that we undertake to facilitate lawful conduct, which include training and compliance programs and internal policies and procedures, we may not always prevent unauthorized, reckless or criminal acts by our employees or agents, or employees or agents of businesses or operations we may acquire. Violations of these laws, or allegations of such violations, could disrupt operations, involve significant management distraction and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations, among other adverse consequences.
If we are found to have violated laws protecting the confidentiality and security of health information, we could be subject to civil or criminal penalties, which could increase our liabilities and harm our reputation or our business.
There are a number of federal and state laws protecting the confidentiality and security of individually identifiable health information, or protected health information, or PHI, and restricting the use and disclosure of that protected information. In particular, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services promulgated privacy rules under the Health and Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. The HIPAA privacy rules protect medical records and other personal health information by limiting their use and disclosure, giving individuals the right to access, amend and seek accounting of their own health information and limiting most use and disclosures of health information to the minimum amount reasonably necessary to accomplish the intended purpose. The HIPAA security rules require the implementation of administrative, physical and technical safeguards to protect the security of PHI. HIPAA applies to health plans, health care providers who engage in certain standard healthcare transactions electronically, such as electronic billing, and healthcare clearinghouses, all of which are referred to as “covered entities.” HIPAA also applies to “business associates,” or organizations that provide services to covered entities involving the use or disclosure of PHI. Business associates, like us, are subject to direct liability for violations of HIPAA.
Penalties for HIPAA violations can be issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights, the U.S. Department of Justice, and state attorneys general. Financial penalties can range from $100 to $50,000 per violation, with a maximum penalty of $1.5 million per year for violation, with penalties adjusted for inflation annually. HIPAA authorizes states attorneys’ general to file suit on behalf of state residents; in such cases, courts can award damages, costs and attorneys’ fees related to HIPAA violations in addition to the aforementioned financial penalties. While HIPAA does not create a private right of action allowing individuals to sue in civil court for HIPAA violations, the HIPAA rules have been used as the basis for a duty of care claim in state civil suits for negligence or recklessness in the misuse or breach of PHI. Further, to provide “covered entity” clients with services that involve access to PHI, HIPAA requires us to enter into business associate agreements that require us to safeguard PHI in accordance with HIPAA. If we fail to comply with the terms of our business associate agreements, we may also be liable contractually.
Additionally, we are subject to any state laws that are more restrictive than the rules issued under HIPAA. These laws vary by state and could impose stricter standards and additional penalties. If we are found to be in violation of these applicable state laws, we could be subject to additional civil or criminal penalties, which could increase our liabilities, harm our reputation and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We are subject to complex and evolving U.S. and foreign laws and regulations regarding privacy, data protection, and other matters. Many of these laws and regulations are subject to change and uncertain interpretation, and could result in claims, changes to our business practices, monetary penalties, increased cost of operations, or declines in customer growth or engagement, or otherwise harm our business.
We are subject to a variety of laws and regulations in the United States and abroad that involve matters central to our business, including laws and regulations relating to privacy, data sharing and data protection, artificial intelligence and use of machine learning, rights of publicity, content, intellectual property, advertising, marketing, distribution, data security, data retention and deletion, personal information, electronic contracts and other communications, competition, protection of minors, consumer protection,
telecommunications, product liability, taxation, economic or other trade prohibitions or sanctions, corrupt practices, fraud, waste and abuse restrictions, and securities law compliance. The introduction of new products or expansion of our activities in certain jurisdictions may subject us to additional laws and regulations. For example, both the federal and various state governments of the United States have adopted or are considering laws, guidelines or rules for the collection, distribution, use and storage of information collected from or about customers or their devices. The California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, for example, which became effective January 1, 2020, substantially expands privacy obligations of many businesses providing services to California residents, including us. The CCPA requires new disclosures to California consumers, imposes new rules for collecting or using information about minors, and affords consumers new rights, such as the right to know whether the data is sold or disclosed and to whom, the right to request that a company delete personal information collected, the right to opt out of the sale of personal information and the right to non-discrimination in terms of price or service when a consumer exercises a privacy right. If we fail to comply with these regulations, the CCPA provides for civil penalties for violations, as well as a private right of action for data breaches that is expected to increase data breach litigation. Moreover, a newly passed ballot initiative, the California Privacy Rights Act, or CPRA, which will become operational in 2023, expands on the CCPA, creating new consumer rights and protections, including: the right to correct personal information, the right to opt out of the use of personal information in automated decision making, the right to opt out of “sharing” consumer’s personal information for cross-context behavioral advertising, and the right to restrict use of and disclosure of sensitive personal information, including geolocation data to third parties. We will need to evaluate and potentially update our privacy program to ensure compliance with the CPRA and may incur additional costs and expenses in our effort to comply.
In addition, foreign data protection, privacy, and other laws and regulations can be more restrictive than those in the United States. For example, the EU General Data Protection Regulation 2016/267, or GDPR, which came into force on May 25, 2018, implemented stringent operational requirements for the collection, use, storage of, protection of and disclosure of personal data. The GDPR introduced more stringent requirements (which will continue to be interpreted through guidance and decisions over the coming years), including but not limited to requiring organizations to erase an individual’s information upon request, limiting the purposes for which personal data may be used, and implementing mandatory data breach notification requirements, requiring organizations in taking certain measures when engaging third party processors and imposing certain obligations on service providers. The GDPR also confers a private right of action on data subjects and consumer associations to lodge complaints with the supervisory authorities, seek judicial remedies and obtain compensation for damages resulting from violations of the GDPR. The European regime also includes directives which, among other things, require EU member states to regulate marketing by electronic means, the use of web cookies and other tracking technology. Each EU Member State has transposed the requirements of such directives into its own national data privacy regime, and therefore, the laws may differ between jurisdictions. We may also be subject to EU rules with respect to cross-border transfers of personal data out of the European Economic Area, or EEA. Recent legal developments in Europe have created complexity and uncertainty regarding transfers of personal data from the EEA to the United States, as the CJEU invalidated the EU-US Privacy Shield Framework, or Privacy Shield, on July 16, 2020, which may impact our ability to transfer personal data outside of the EEA to the United States or other jurisdictions. The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU may also require us to find alternative solutions for the compliant transfer of personal data into and possibly from the United Kingdom as we will have to comply with the GDPR and also the UK equivalent. If found non-compliant with any of the many requirements under the GDPR, we may be subject to fines of up to the greater of €20 million or up to 4% of our total global annual turnover.
While the CJEU invalidated the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework, the Court upheld the Standard Contractual Clauses as a valid mechanism for data transfers from the EEA to the United States. We anticipated this issue, which is why in our Data Processing Addendum, the Standard Contractual Clauses automatically come into effect as a back-up transfer mechanism for personal data to be transferred from the EEA to the United States in the event of Privacy Shield invalidation. We are closely following the European Commission’s draft guidance on the Standard Contractual Clauses and the European Data Protection Board’s draft guidance on supplemental tools to ensure that data transfers are handled in accordance with GDPR and to determine if any changes to our privacy program are necessary.
Data localization laws in some countries may mandate that certain types of data collected in a particular country be stored and/or processed within that country. We could be subject to audits in Europe and around the world, particularly in the areas of consumer and data protection, as we continue to grow and expand our operations. Legislators and regulators may make legal and regulatory changes, or interpret and apply existing laws, in ways that make our products less useful to customers, require us to incur substantial costs, expose us to unanticipated civil or criminal liability, or cause us to change our business practices. These changes or increased costs could negatively impact our business and results of operations in material ways. If we fail to comply with these standards, we could be subject to criminal penalties and civil sanctions, including fines and penalties and amounts could be significant.
Cybersecurity risks and cyber incidents could result in the compromise of confidential data or critical data systems and give rise to potential harm to customers, remediation and other expenses, expose us to liability under HIPAA, consumer protection laws, or other common law theories, subject us to litigation and federal and state governmental inquiries, damage our reputation, and otherwise be disruptive to our business and operations.
Cyber incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. We collect and store on our networks sensitive information, including intellectual property, proprietary business information and personally identifiable information of individuals, such as our customers and employees. The secure maintenance of this information and technology is critical to our business operations. We have implemented multiple layers of security measures to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of this data and the systems and devices that store and transmit such data. We utilize current security technologies, including encryption and data depersonalization, and our defenses are monitored and routinely tested. Despite these efforts, threats from malicious persons and groups, new vulnerabilities and advanced new attacks against information systems create risk of cybersecurity incidents. These incidents can include, but are not limited to, gaining unauthorized access to digital systems for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data, or causing operational disruption. Because the techniques used to obtain unauthorized access, disable or degrade service, or sabotage systems change frequently and may not immediately produce signs of intrusion, we may be unable to anticipate these incidents or techniques, timely discover them, or implement adequate preventative measures.
Cybersecurity threats can come from a variety of sources, and may range in sophistication from an individual hacker to malfeasance by employees, consultants or other service providers to state-sponsored attacks. Cyber threats may be generic, or they may be custom-crafted against our information systems. Over the past several years, cyber-attacks have become more prevalent and much harder to detect and defend against. Our network and storage applications, as well as those of our contractors, may be vulnerable to cyber-attack, malicious intrusion, malfeasance, loss of data privacy or other significant disruption and may be subject to unauthorized access by hackers, employees, consultants or other service providers. In addition, hardware, software or applications that we develop or procure from third parties may contain defects in design or manufacture or other problems that could unexpectedly compromise information security. Unauthorized parties may also attempt to gain access to our systems or facilities through fraud, trickery or other forms of deceiving our employees, contractors and temporary staff.
There can be no assurance that we will not be subject to cybersecurity incidents that bypass our security measures, impact the integrity, availability or privacy of personal health information or other data subject to privacy laws or disrupt our information systems, devices or business, including our ability to deliver services to our users. As a result, cybersecurity, physical security and the continued development and enhancement of our controls, processes and practices designed to protect our enterprise, information systems and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access remain a priority for us. As cyber threats continue to evolve, we may be required to expend significant additional resources to continue to modify or enhance our protective measures or to investigate and remediate any cybersecurity vulnerabilities. The occurrence of any of these events could result in:
|●||harm to customers and end-users;|
|●||business interruptions and delays;|
|●||the loss, misappropriation, corruption or unauthorized access of data;|
|●||litigation, including potential class action litigation, and potential liability under privacy, security and consumer protection laws or other applicable laws;|
|●||increase to insurance premiums; and|
|●||foreign, federal and state governmental inquiries, any of which could have a material, adverse effect on our financial position and results of operations and harm our business reputation.|
Security breaches, loss of data and other disruptions could compromise sensitive information related to our business or prevent us from accessing critical information and expose us to liability, which could adversely affect our business and our reputation.
In the ordinary course of our business, we collect and store sensitive data, intellectual property and proprietary business information owned or controlled by us or our users. This data encompasses a wide variety of business-critical information, including research and development information, commercial information, and business and financial information. We face four primary risks relative to
protecting this critical information: loss of access; inappropriate disclosure; inappropriate modification; and inadequate monitoring of our controls over the first three risks.
The secure processing, storage, maintenance, and transmission of this critical information is vital to our operations and business strategy, and we devote significant resources to protecting such information. Although we take measures to protect sensitive information from unauthorized access or disclosure, our information technology and infrastructure may be vulnerable to attacks by hackers or viruses, breaches, interruptions due to employee error, malfeasance, lapses in compliance with privacy and security mandates, or other disruptions. Any such breach or interruption could compromise our networks and the information stored there could be accessed by unauthorized parties, publicly disclosed, lost, or stolen.
Any such security breach or interruption, as well as any action by us or our employees or contractors that might be inconsistent with the rapidly evolving data privacy and security laws and regulations applicable within the United States and elsewhere where we conduct business, could result in enforcement actions by U.S. states, the U.S. federal government or foreign governments, liability or sanctions under data privacy laws that protect personally identifiable information, regulatory penalties, other legal proceedings such as, but not limited to, private litigation, the incurrence of significant remediation costs, disruptions to our development programs, business operations and collaborations, diversion of management efforts and damage to our reputation, which could harm our business and operations. For example, the CCPA provides for both civil penalties and a private right of action for data breaches as a result of an entity’s non-compliance with the CCPA. Because of the rapidly moving nature of technology and the increasing sophistication of cybersecurity threats, our measures to prevent, respond to and minimize such risks may be unsuccessful.
With respect to medical information, we follow HIPAA rules and applicable state laws, separate personal information from medical information, and further employ additional encryption tools to protect the privacy and security of Butterfly’s users and medical data. However, hackers may attempt to penetrate our computer systems, and, if successful, misappropriate personal or confidential business information. In addition, an associate, contractor or other third party with whom we do business may attempt to circumvent our security measures in order to obtain such information, and may purposefully or inadvertently cause a breach involving such information. While we continue to implement additional protective measures to reduce the risk of and detect cyber incidents, cyber-attacks are becoming more sophisticated and frequent, and the techniques used in such attacks change rapidly.
In addition, non-compliance with any foreign data privacy and data security regulations, such as the GDPR, which requires stringent data breach notification obligations, among many other requirements, resulting in a data breach may result in fines of up to €20 million or 4% of the annual global revenues of the infringer, whichever is greater. There can be no assurance that our efforts to comply with these and other applicable data privacy regulatory regimes will be successful.
Further, unauthorized access, loss or dissemination of sensitive information could also disrupt our operations, including our ability to conduct research and development activities, process and prepare company financial information, manage various general and administrative aspects of our business and damage our reputation, any of which could adversely affect our business and reputation. In addition, there can be no assurance that we will promptly detect any such disruption or security breach, if at all. To the extent that any disruption or security breach were to result in a loss of or damage to our data or applications, or inappropriate disclosure of confidential or proprietary information, we could incur liability and the further development of our products could be delayed.
Broad-based domestic and international government initiatives to reduce spending, particularly those related to healthcare costs, may reduce reimbursement rates for medical procedures, which will reduce the cost-effectiveness of our products and services.
Healthcare reforms, changes in healthcare policies and changes to third-party coverage and reimbursements, including legislation enacted reforming the U.S. healthcare system and both domestic and foreign healthcare cost containment legislation, and any future changes to such legislation, may affect demand for our products and services and may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. The ongoing implementation of the Affordable Care Act, in the United States, as well as state-level healthcare reform proposals could reduce medical procedure volumes and impact the demand for medical device products or the prices at which we can sell products. These reforms include a national pilot program on payment bundling to encourage hospitals, physicians and other providers to improve the coordination, quality and efficiency of certain healthcare services through bundled payment models. The impact of this healthcare reform legislation, and practices including price regulation, competitive pricing, comparative effectiveness of therapies, technology assessments, and managed care arrangements are uncertain. There can be no assurance that current levels of reimbursement will not be decreased in the future, or that future legislation, regulation, or reimbursement policies of third parties will not adversely affect the demand for our products and services or our ability to sell products and provide services on a profitable basis.
The adoption of significant changes to the healthcare system in the United States, the EEA or other jurisdictions in which we may market our products and services, could limit the prices we are able to charge for our products and services or the amounts of reimbursement available for our products and services, could limit the acceptance and availability of our products and services, reduce medical procedure volumes and increase operational and other costs.
There have been judicial and Congressional challenges to certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act, and as a result, certain sections of the Act have not been fully implemented or were effectively repealed. However, following several years of litigation in the federal courts, in June 2021, the United States Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act when it dismissed a legal challenge to the Act’s constitutionality. Further legislative and regulatory changes under the Affordable Care Act remain possible, although the new Democrat-led presidential administration has been taking steps to strengthen the Affordable Care Act and the 117th Congress is not expected to have the same interest in repealing the law, in part due to the healthcare economic impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on many subsets of the U.S. population. In addition to the Affordable Care Act, there have been and will likely continue to be other federal and state changes that affect the provision of healthcare goods and services in the United States. While we are unable to predict what changes may ultimately be enacted, to the extent that future changes affect how our products and services are paid for and reimbursed by government and private payers, our business could be adversely impacted. Moreover, complying with any new legislation or reversing changes implemented under the Affordable Care Act could be time-intensive and expensive, resulting in a material adverse effect on the business.
Inadequate funding for the FDA, the SEC and other government agencies could hinder their ability to hire and retain key leadership and other personnel, prevent new products and services from being developed or commercialized in a timely manner or otherwise prevent those agencies from performing normal business functions on which the operation of our business may rely, which could negatively impact our business.
The ability of the FDA to review and approve or clear new medical device products can be affected by a variety of factors, including government budget and funding levels, ability to hire and retain key personnel and accept the payment of user fees, and statutory, regulatory, and policy changes. Average review times at the agency have fluctuated in recent years as a result. In addition, government funding of the SEC and other government agencies on which our operations may rely, including those that fund research and development activities, is subject to the political process, which is inherently fluid and unpredictable.
Disruptions at the FDA and other agencies may also increase the time necessary for new products to be reviewed and/or approved by necessary government agencies, which would adversely affect our business. For example, over the last several years, the U.S. government has shut down several times, and certain regulatory agencies, such as the FDA and the SEC, have had to furlough critical employees and stop critical activities. Separately, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020, the FDA temporarily postponed routine surveillance inspections of domestic manufacturing facilities and provided guidance regarding the conduct of clinical trials, which has since been further updated and is being refreshed on a periodic basis. The FDA has also noted that it is continuing to ensure timely reviews of applications for medical products during the COVID-19 pandemic in line with its user fee performance goals and conducting “mission-critical” domestic and foreign inspections to ensure compliance of manufacturing facilities with FDA quality standards.
Subsequently, in July 2020, the FDA announced its intention to resume certain on-site inspections of domestic manufacturing facilities subject to a risk-based prioritization system. The FDA intends to use this risk-based assessment system to identify the categories of regulatory activity that can occur within a given geographic area, ranging from mission-critical inspections to resumption of all regulatory activities. The agency’s rating system is used to assist in determining when and where it is safest to conduct such inspections based on data about the virus’s trajectory in a given state and locality and the rules and guidelines that are put in place by state and local governments. The FDA’s assessment of whether an inspection is mission-critical considers many factors related to the public health benefit of U.S. patients having access to the product subject to inspection, including whether the products are used to diagnose, treat, or prevent a serious disease or medical condition for which there is no other appropriate substitute. Both for-cause and pre-approval inspections can be deemed mission-critical.
Additionally, regulatory authorities outside the United States may adopt similar restrictions or other policy measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. If a prolonged government shutdown or slowdown occurs, or if global health concerns continue to prevent the FDA or other regulatory authorities from conducting their regular inspections, reviews, or other regulatory activities, it could significantly impact the ability of the FDA to timely review and process regulatory submissions, which could have a material adverse
effect on our future business. Further, future government shutdowns could impact our ability to access the public markets and obtain necessary capital in order to properly capitalize and continue our operations.
Risks Related to Butterfly’s Intellectual Property
If we are unable to protect our intellectual property, our ability to maintain any technological or competitive advantage over our competitors and potential competitors would be adversely impacted, and our business may be harmed.
We rely on patent protection as well as trademark, copyright, trade secret and other intellectual property rights protection and contractual restrictions to protect our proprietary technologies, all of which provide limited protection and may not adequately protect our rights or permit us to gain or keep any competitive advantage. As of December 31, 2021, we owned approximately 418 issued patents and approximately 463 pending patent applications. Of our approximately 418 issued patents, approximately 106 were issued U.S. utility patents and approximately 33 were issued U.S. design patents. Of our approximately 463 pending patent applications, approximately 153 were pending U.S. utility patent applications and approximately 11 were pending U.S. design applications. In addition, as of December 31, 2021, we owned approximately 279 issued patents in foreign jurisdictions, including Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea and India, and 299 pending patent applications in foreign jurisdictions, including Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea and India, corresponding to the foregoing. In total, as of December 31, 2021, we owned approximately 187 patent families generally directed to our ultrasound products, including manufacturing, circuit components and add-on features. These issued patents and pending patent applications (if they were to issue as patents) have expected expiration dates ranging between 2030 and 2042. If we fail to protect our intellectual property, third parties may be able to compete more effectively against us, we may lose our technological or competitive advantage, or we may incur substantial litigation costs in our attempts to recover or restrict use of our intellectual property.
We cannot assure investors that any of our currently pending or future patent applications will result in granted patents, and we cannot predict how long it will take for such patents to be granted or whether the scope of such patents, if granted, will adequately protect our products from competitors. It is possible that, for any of our patents that have granted or that may be granted in the future, others will design alternatives that do not infringe upon our patented technologies. Further, we cannot assure investors that other parties will not challenge any patents granted to us or that courts or regulatory agencies will hold our patents to be valid or enforceable. We cannot guarantee investors that we will be successful in defending challenges made against our patents and patent applications. Any successful third-party challenge to our patents could result in the unenforceability or invalidity of such patents, or to such patents being interpreted narrowly or otherwise in a manner adverse to our interests. Our ability to establish or maintain a technological or competitive advantage over our competitors may be diminished because of these uncertainties. For these and other reasons, our intellectual property may not provide us with any competitive advantage. For example:
|●||We or our licensors might not have been the first to make the inventions covered by each of our pending patent applications or granted patents;|
|●||We or our licensors might not have been the first to file patent applications for our inventions. To determine the priority of these inventions, we may have to participate in interference proceedings or derivation proceedings declared by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, that could result in substantial cost to us. No assurance can be given that our patent applications or granted patents (or those of our licensors) will have priority over any other patent or patent application involved in such a proceeding;|
|●||Others may independently develop similar or alternative products and technologies or duplicate any of our products and technologies;|
|●||It is possible that our owned or licensed pending patent applications will not result in granted patents, and even if such pending patent applications grant as patents, they may not provide a basis for intellectual property protection of commercially viable products, may not provide us with any competitive advantages, or may be challenged and invalidated by third parties;|
|●||We may not develop additional proprietary products and technologies that are patentable;|
|●||The patents of others may have an adverse effect on our business; and|
|●||While we apply for patents covering our products and technologies and uses thereof, as we deem appropriate, we may fail to apply for patents on important products and technologies in a timely fashion or at all, or we may fail to apply for patents in potentially relevant jurisdictions|
To the extent our intellectual property offers inadequate protection, or is found to be invalid or unenforceable, we would be exposed to a greater risk of direct competition. If our intellectual property does not provide adequate coverage over our products and protection against our competitors’ products, our competitive position could be adversely affected, as could our business.
Software is a critical component of our devices. To the extent such software is not protected by our patents, we depend on copyright and trade secret protection and non-disclosure agreements with our employees, strategic partners and consultants, which may not provide adequate protection.
The measures that we use to protect the security of our intellectual property and other proprietary rights may not be adequate, which could result in the loss of legal protection for, and thereby diminish the value of, such intellectual property and other rights.
In addition to pursuing patents on our technology, we also rely upon trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights and unfair competition laws, as well as license agreements and other contractual provisions, to protect our intellectual property and other proprietary rights. Despite these measures, any of our intellectual property rights could be challenged, invalidated, circumvented or misappropriated. In addition, we take steps to protect our intellectual property and proprietary technology by entering into confidentiality agreements and intellectual property assignment agreements with our employees, consultants, corporate partners and, when needed, our advisors. Our suppliers also have access to the patented technology owned or used by us as well as other proprietary information, and these suppliers are subject to confidentiality provisions under their agreements with us.
Such agreements or provisions may not be enforceable or may not provide meaningful protection for our trade secrets or other proprietary information in the event of unauthorized use or disclosure or other breaches of the agreements, and we may not be able to prevent such unauthorized disclosure. Notwithstanding any such agreements, there is no assurance that our current or former manufacturers or suppliers will not use and/or supply our competitors with our trade secrets, know-how or other proprietary information to which these parties gained access or generated from their relationship with us. This could lead to our competitors gaining access to patented or other proprietary information. Moreover, if a party to an agreement with us has an overlapping or conflicting obligation to a third party, our rights in and to certain intellectual property could be undermined. Monitoring unauthorized disclosure is difficult, and we do not know whether the steps we have taken to prevent such disclosure are, or will be, adequate. If we were to enforce a claim that a third party had illegally obtained and was using our trade secrets, it would be expensive and time-consuming, the outcome would be unpredictable, and any remedy may be inadequate. In addition, courts outside the United States may be less willing to protect trade secrets.
In addition, competitors could purchase our products and attempt to replicate some or all of the competitive advantages we derive from our development efforts, willfully infringe our intellectual property rights, design around our protected technology or develop their own competitive technologies that fall outside of our intellectual property rights. If our intellectual property does not adequately protect our market share against competitors’ products and methods, our competitive position could be adversely affected, as could our business.
We are party to the Technology and Services Exchange Agreement by and among us and certain affiliated companies, pursuant to which the parties have agreed to share personnel and certain non-core technologies. The sharing arrangements under the agreement may prevent us from fully utilizing our personnel and/or the technologies shared under the agreement. Furthermore, if this agreement were to terminate, or if we were to lose access to these technologies and services, our business could be adversely affected.
We entered into a Technology and Services Exchange Agreement, or the TSEA, by and among us and other participant companies controlled by the Rothbergs, consisting of AI Therapeutics, Inc., Quantum-Si Incorporated, Hyperfine Operations, Inc. (f/k/a Hyperfine, Inc.), 4Bionics LLC, Tesseract Health, Inc., Liminal Operations, Inc. (f/k/a Liminal Sciences, Inc.) and Detect, Inc. (f/k/a Homodeus Inc.). The TSEA, signed in November 2020, became effective upon the Closing. Under the TSEA, we and the other participant companies may, in their discretion, permit the use of certain non-core technologies, which include any technologies, information or equipment owned or otherwise controlled by the participant company that are not specifically related to the core business area of the participant, such as software, hardware, electronics, fabrication and supplier information, vendor lists and contractor lists, with the other participant companies. The TSEA provides that ownership of each non-core technology shared by us or another participant company will remain with the company that originally shared the non-core technology. In addition, any participant company (including the Company) may, in its discretion, permit its personnel to be engaged by another participant company to perform professional,
technical or consulting services for such participant. Unless otherwise agreed to by us and the other participant company, all rights, title and interest in and to any inventions, works-of-authorship, idea, data or know-how invented, made, created or developed by the personnel (employees, contractors or consultants) in the course of conducting services for a participant company, or Created IP, will be owned by the participant company for which the work was performed, and the recipient participant company grants to the party that had its personnel provide the services that resulted in the creation of the Created IP a royalty-free, perpetual, limited, worldwide, non-exclusive, sub-licensable (and with respect to software, sub-licensable in object code only) license to utilize the Created IP only in the core business field of the originating participant company, including a license to create and use derivative works based on the Created IP in the originating participant’s core business field, subject to any agreed upon restrictions.
The technology- and personnel-sharing arrangements under the TSEA may prevent us from fully utilizing our personnel if such personnel are also being used by the other participant companies and may also cause our personnel to enter into agreements with or provide services to other companies that interfere with their obligations to us. Created IP under the TSEA may be relevant to our business and created by our personnel but owned by the other participant companies. Furthermore, if the TSEA were to terminate, or if we were to lose access to the technologies and services available pursuant to the TSEA, our business could be adversely affected.
Our wafer bonding technology for ultrasound applications is licensed to us by Stanford University. Any loss of our rights to this technology could prevent us from selling our products.
Our wafer bonding technology for use in ultrasound applications is licensed co-exclusively to us from Stanford until the end of December 2023, at which time the license becomes non-exclusive. We also license on a non-exclusive basis 7 active patents from Stanford. We do not own the patents that underlie these licenses. Our rights to use the licensed technology and employ the inventions claimed in the licensed patents are subject to the continuation of and compliance with the terms of the license. Our principal obligations under the license agreements with Stanford include the following:
|●||meeting certain milestones pertaining to development, commercialization and sales of products using the licensed technology;|
|●||annual maintenance fees;|
|●||using commercially reasonable efforts to develop and sell a product using the licensed technology and developing a market for such product; and|
|●||providing certain reports.|
If we breach any of these obligations, Stanford may have the right to terminate the licenses, which could result in us being unable to develop, manufacture and sell products using the licensed technology. Termination of our license agreements with Stanford would have a material adverse effect on our business.
In addition, we are a party to a number of other agreements that include licenses to intellectual property, including non-exclusive licenses. We may need to enter into additional license agreements in the future. Our business could suffer, for example, if any current or future licenses terminate, if the licensors fail to abide by the terms of the license, if the licensed patents or other rights are found to be invalid or unenforceable, or if we are unable to enter into necessary licenses on acceptable terms.
We may need or may choose to obtain licenses from third parties to advance our research or allow commercialization of our current or future products, and we cannot provide any assurances that we would be able to obtain such licenses.
We may need or may choose to obtain licenses from third parties to advance our research or allow commercialization of our current or future products, and we cannot provide any assurances that third-party patents do not exist that might be enforced against our current or future products in the absence of such a license. We may fail to obtain any of these licenses on commercially reasonable terms, if at all. Even if we are able to obtain a license, it may be non-exclusive, thereby giving our competitors access to the same technologies licensed to us. If we could not obtain a license, we may be required to expend significant time and resources to develop or license replacement technology. If we are unable to do so, we may be unable to develop or commercialize the affected products, which could materially harm our business and the third parties owning such intellectual property rights could seek either an injunction prohibiting our sales, or, with respect to our sales, an obligation on our part to pay royalties and/or other forms of compensation.
Licensing intellectual property involves complex legal, business and scientific issues. Disputes may arise between us and our licensors regarding intellectual property subject to a license agreement, including:
|●||the scope of rights granted under the license agreement and other interpretation-related issues;|
|●||whether and the extent to which our technology and processes infringe on intellectual property of the licensor that is not subject to the licensing agreement;|
|●||our right to sublicense patent and other rights to third parties under collaborative development relationships;|
|●||our diligence obligations with respect to the use of the licensed technology in relation to our development and commercialization of our products, and what activities satisfy those diligence obligations; and|
|●||the ownership of inventions and know-how resulting from the joint creation or use of intellectual property by our licensors and us and our partners.|
If disputes over licensed intellectual property prevent or impair our ability to maintain the licensing arrangements on acceptable terms, we may be unable to successfully develop and commercialize the affected product, or the dispute may have an adverse effect on our results of operations.
In addition to agreements pursuant to which we in-license intellectual property, we have in the past, and we may in the future, grant licenses under our intellectual property. Like in-licenses, out-licenses are complex, and disputes may arise between us and our licensees, such as the types of disputes described above. Moreover, our licensees may breach their obligations, or we may be exposed to liability due to our failure or alleged failure to satisfy our obligations. Any such occurrence could have an adverse effect on our business.
If we or any of our partners are sued for infringing the intellectual property rights of third parties, such litigation would be costly and time consuming, and an unfavorable outcome in any such litigation could have a material adverse effect on our business.
Our success also depends on our ability to develop, manufacture, market and sell our products and perform our services without infringing upon the proprietary rights of third parties. Numerous U.S. and foreign-issued patents and pending patent applications owned by third parties exist in the fields in which we are developing products and services. As part of a business strategy to impede our successful commercialization and entry into new markets, competitors may claim that our products and/or services infringe their intellectual property rights and may suggest that we enter into license agreements.
Even if such claims are without merit, we could incur substantial costs and the attention of our management, and technical personnel could be diverted in defending us against claims of infringement made by third parties or settling such claims. Any adverse ruling by a court or administrative body, or perception of an adverse ruling, may have a material adverse impact on our ability to conduct our business and our finances. Moreover, third parties making claims against us may be able to obtain injunctive relief against us, which could block our ability to offer one or more products or services and could result in a substantial award of damages against us. In addition, since we sometimes indemnify customers, collaborators or licensees, we may have additional liability in connection with any infringement or alleged infringement of third-party intellectual property.
Because patent applications can take many years to issue, there may be pending applications, some of which are unknown to us, that may result in issued patents upon which our products or proprietary technologies may infringe. Moreover, we may fail to identify issued patents of relevance or incorrectly conclude that an issued patent is invalid or not infringed by our technology or any of our products. There is a substantial amount of litigation involving patent and other intellectual property rights in the medical device space. As we face increasing competition and as our business grows, we will likely face more claims of infringement. If a third party claims that we or any of our licensors, customers or collaboration partners infringe upon a third party’s intellectual property rights, we may have to:
|●||seek licenses that may not be available on commercially reasonable terms, if at all;|
|●||abandon any infringing product or redesign our products or processes to avoid infringement;|
|●||pay substantial damages including, in an exceptional case, treble damages and attorneys’ fees, which we may have to pay if a court decides that the product or proprietary technology at issue infringes upon or violates the third-party’s rights;|
|●||pay substantial royalties or fees or grant cross-licenses to our technology; or|
|●||defend litigation or administrative proceedings that may be costly whether we win or lose, and which could result in a substantial diversion of our financial and management resources.|
We may be involved in lawsuits to protect or enforce our patents or the patents of our licensors, which could be expensive, time-consuming and unsuccessful.
Competitors may infringe our patents or the patents that we license. In the event of infringement or unauthorized use, we may file one or more infringement lawsuits, which can be expensive and time-consuming. An adverse result in any such litigation proceedings could put one or more of our patents at risk of being invalidated, being found to be unenforceable or being interpreted narrowly and could put our patent applications at risk of not issuing. Furthermore, because of the substantial amount of discovery required in connection with intellectual property litigation, there is a risk that some of our confidential information could be compromised by disclosure during this type of litigation.
Many of our competitors are larger than we are and have substantially greater resources. They are, therefore, likely to be able to sustain the costs of complex patent litigation longer than we could. In addition, the uncertainties associated with litigation could have a material adverse effect on our ability to raise any funds necessary to continue our operations, continue our internal research programs, in-license needed technology, or enter into development partnerships that would help us bring our products to market.
In addition, patent litigation can be very costly and time-consuming. An adverse outcome in any such litigation or proceedings may expose us or any of our future development partners to loss of our proprietary position, expose us to significant liabilities, or require us to seek licenses that may not be available on commercially acceptable terms, if at all.
Our issued patents could be found invalid or unenforceable if challenged in court, which could have a material adverse impact on our business.
If we or any of our partners were to initiate legal proceedings against a third party to enforce a patent covering one of our products or services, the defendant in such litigation could counterclaim that our patent is invalid and/or unenforceable. In patent litigation in the United States, defendant counterclaims alleging invalidity and/or unenforceability are commonplace. Grounds for a validity challenge could be an alleged failure to meet any of several statutory requirements, including lack of novelty, obviousness or non-enablement, or failure to claim patent eligible subject matter. Grounds for an unenforceability assertion could be an allegation that someone connected with prosecution of the patent withheld relevant information from the USPTO, or made a misleading statement during prosecution. Third parties may also raise similar claims before the USPTO even outside the context of litigation. The outcome following legal assertions of invalidity and unenforceability is unpredictable. With respect to the validity question, for example, we cannot be certain that there is no invalidating prior art of which we and the patent examiner were unaware during prosecution. If a defendant were to prevail on a legal assertion of invalidity and/or unenforceability, we would lose at least part, and perhaps all, of the challenged patent. Such a loss of patent protection would have a material adverse impact on our business.
We may be subject to claims that our employees, consultants or independent contractors have wrongfully used or disclosed alleged trade secrets of their other clients or former employers to us, which could subject us to costly litigation.
As is common in the medical device industry, we engage the services of consultants and independent contractors to assist us in the development of our products. Many of these consultants and independent contractors were previously employed at, or may have previously provided or may be currently providing consulting or other services to, universities or other technology, biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies, including our competitors or potential competitors. We may become subject to claims that we, a consultant or an independent contractor inadvertently or otherwise used or disclosed trade secrets or other information proprietary to their former employers or their former or current clients. We may similarly be subject to claims stemming from similar actions of an employee, such as one who was previously employed by another company, including a competitor or potential competitor. Litigation may be necessary to defend against these claims. Even if we are successful in defending against these claims, litigation could result in substantial costs and be a distraction to our management team. If we were to be unsuccessful, we could lose access or exclusive access to valuable intellectual property.
We may be subject to claims challenging the inventorship or ownership of our patents and other intellectual property.
We generally enter into confidentiality and intellectual property assignment agreements with our employees, consultants, and contractors. These agreements generally provide that inventions conceived by the party in the course of rendering services to us will be our exclusive property. However, those agreements may not be honored and may not effectively assign intellectual property rights to us. For example, even if we have a consulting agreement in place with an academic advisor pursuant to which such academic advisor is required to assign any inventions developed in connection with providing services to us, such academic advisor may not have the right to assign such inventions to us, as it may conflict with his or her obligations to assign all such intellectual property to his or her employing institution.
We may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights throughout the world, which could materially, negatively affect our business.
Filing, prosecuting and defending patents on current and future products in all countries throughout the world would be prohibitively expensive, and our intellectual property rights in some countries outside the United States can be less extensive than those in the United States. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as federal and state laws in the United States. Consequently, regardless of whether we are able to prevent third parties from practicing our inventions in the United States, we may not be able to prevent third parties from practicing our inventions in all countries outside the United States, or from selling or importing products made using our inventions in and into the United States or other jurisdictions. Competitors may use our technologies in jurisdictions where we have not pursued and obtained patent protection to develop their own products, and further, may export otherwise infringing products to territories where we have patent protection, but enforcement is not as strong as it is in the United States. These products may compete with our products and our patents or other intellectual property rights may not be effective or sufficient to prevent them from competing. Even if we pursue and obtain issued patents in particular jurisdictions, our patent claims or other intellectual property rights may not be effective or sufficient to prevent third parties from competing. Patent protection must ultimately be sought on a country-by-country basis, which is an expensive and time-consuming process with uncertain outcomes. Accordingly, we may choose not to seek patent protection in certain countries, and we will not have the benefit of patent protection in such countries.
Many companies have encountered significant problems in protecting and defending intellectual property rights in foreign jurisdictions. The legal systems of certain countries, particularly certain developing countries, do not favor the enforcement of patents and other intellectual property protection, which could make it difficult for us to stop the infringement of our patents or marketing of competing products in violation of our proprietary rights generally. Proceedings to enforce our patent rights in foreign jurisdictions could result in substantial costs and divert our efforts and attention from other aspects of our business, could put our patents at risk of being invalidated or interpreted narrowly and our patent applications at risk of not issuing and could provoke third parties to assert claims against us. We may not prevail in any lawsuits that we initiate and the damages or other remedies awarded, if any, may not be commercially meaningful. Accordingly, our efforts to enforce our intellectual property rights around the world may be inadequate to obtain a significant commercial advantage from the intellectual property that we develop or license and may adversely impact our business.
In addition, we also face the risk that our products are imported or reimported into markets with relatively higher prices from markets with relatively lower prices, which would result in a decrease of sales and any payments we receive from the affected market. Recent developments in U.S. patent law have made it more difficult to stop these and related practices based on theories of patent infringement.
Changes in patent laws or patent jurisprudence could diminish the value of patents in general, thereby impairing our ability to protect our products.
The America Invents Act, or AIA, was signed into law on September 16, 2011, and many of the substantive changes under the AIA became effective on March 16, 2013. An important change introduced by the AIA is that, as of March 16, 2013, the United States transitioned to a “first-to-file” system for deciding which party should be granted a patent when two or more patent applications are filed by different parties claiming the same invention. A third party that files a patent application in the USPTO after that date but before we file could therefore be awarded a patent covering an invention of ours even if we had made the invention before it was made by the third party. This requires us to be cognizant of the time from invention to filing of a patent application, but circumstances could prevent us from promptly filing patent applications on our inventions.
Among some of the other changes introduced by the AIA are changes that limit where a patent holder may file a patent infringement suit and providing additional opportunities for third parties to challenge any issued patent in the USPTO. This applies to all of our owned and in-licensed U.S. patents, even those issued before March 16, 2013. Because of a lower evidentiary standard in USPTO proceedings compared to the evidentiary standard in U.S. federal courts necessary to invalidate a patent claim, a third party could potentially provide evidence in a USPTO proceeding sufficient for the USPTO to hold a claim invalid even though the same evidence would be insufficient to invalidate the claim if first presented in a district court action. Accordingly, a third party may attempt to use the USPTO procedures to invalidate our patent claims that would not have been invalidated if first challenged by the third party as a defendant in a district court action. The AIA and its implementation could increase the uncertainties and costs surrounding the prosecution of our patent applications and the enforcement or defense of our issued patents.
Additionally, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on several patent cases in recent years, such as Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc., Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. and Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International, either narrowing the scope of patent protection available in certain circumstances or weakening the rights of patent owners in certain situations. In addition to increasing uncertainty with regard to our ability to obtain patents in the future, this combination of events has created uncertainty with respect to the value of patents, once obtained. Depending on actions by the U.S. Congress and decisions by the federal courts and the USPTO, the laws and regulations governing patents could change in unpredictable ways that could weaken our ability to obtain new patents or to enforce our existing patents and patents that we might obtain in the future.
Obtaining and maintaining our patent protection depends on compliance with various procedural, document submission, fee payment and other requirements imposed by governmental patent agencies, and our patent protection could be reduced or eliminated for non-compliance with these requirements.
The USPTO and various foreign governmental patent agencies require compliance with a number of procedural, documentary, fee payment and other provisions during the patent process. There are situations in which noncompliance can result in abandonment or lapse of a patent or patent application, resulting in partial or complete loss of patent rights in the relevant jurisdiction. In such an event, competitors might be able to enter the market earlier than would otherwise have been the case. In some cases, our licensors may be responsible for, for example, these payments, thereby decreasing our control over compliance with these requirements.
If our trademarks and trade names are not adequately protected, then we may not be able to build name recognition in our markets of interest and our business may be adversely affected.
Our registered or unregistered trademarks or trade names may be challenged, infringed, circumvented or declared generic or determined to be infringing on other marks. We may not be able to protect our rights to these trademarks and trade names, which we need to build name recognition by potential partners or customers in our markets of interest. At times, competitors may adopt trade names or trademarks similar to ours, thereby impeding our ability to build brand identity and possibly leading to market confusion. In addition, there could be potential trade name or trademark infringement claims brought by owners of other registered trademarks. Over the long term, if we are unable to establish name recognition based on our trademarks and trade names, then we may not be able to compete effectively and our business may be adversely affected.
We may use third-party open source software components in future products, and failure to comply with the terms of the underlying open source software licenses could restrict our ability to sell such products.
We have chosen, and we may choose in the future, to use open source software in our products, including our Software Development Kit, or SDK, which is meant to provide a governed ecosystem for third parties to create content and applications that will serve to enrich the overall software ecosystem and deliver additional clinical and product advancements for our users. Use and distribution of open source software may entail greater risks than use of third-party commercial software, as open source licensors generally do not provide warranties or other contractual protections regarding infringement claims or the quality of the code. Some open source licenses may contain requirements that we make available source code for modifications or derivative works we create based upon the type of open source software we use. If we combine our proprietary software with open source software in a certain manner, we could, under certain open source licenses, be required to release the source code of our proprietary software to the public. This would allow our competitors to create similar products with less development effort and time and ultimately could result in a loss of product sales.
Although we intend to monitor any use of open source software to avoid subjecting our products to conditions we do not intend, the terms of many open source licenses have not been interpreted by U.S. courts, and there is a risk that any such licenses could be construed in a way that could impose unanticipated conditions or restrictions on our ability to commercialize our products. Moreover, there is no assurance that our processes for controlling our use of open source software in our products will be effective. If we are held to have breached the terms of an open source software license, we could be required to seek licenses from third parties to continue offering our products on terms that are not economically feasible, to re-engineer our products, to discontinue the sale of our products if re-engineering could not be accomplished on a timely basis, or to make generally available, in source code form, our proprietary code, any of which could adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition.
We use third-party software that may cause errors or failures of our products that could lead to lost customers or harm to our reputation.
We use software licensed from third parties in our products. Any errors or defects in third-party software or other third-party software failures could result in errors, defects or cause our products to fail, which could harm our business and be costly to correct. Many of these providers attempt to impose limitations on their liability for such errors, defects or failures, and if enforceable, we may have additional liability to our customers or third-party providers that could harm our reputation and increase our operating costs.
We will need to maintain our relationships with third-party software providers and to obtain software from such providers that does not contain any errors or defects. Any failure to do so could adversely impact our ability to deliver reliable products to our customers and could harm our reputation and results of operations.
Numerous factors may limit any potential competitive advantage provided by our intellectual property rights.
The degree of future protection afforded by our intellectual property rights is uncertain because intellectual property rights have limitations, and may not adequately protect our business, provide a barrier to entry against our competitors or potential competitors, or permit us to maintain our competitive advantage. Moreover, if a third party has intellectual property rights that cover the practice of our technology, we may not be able to fully exercise or extract value from our intellectual property rights. The following examples are illustrative:
|●||others may be able to develop and/or practice technology that is similar to our technology or aspects of our technology but that is not covered by the claims of any patents that have issued, or may issue, from our owned or in-licensed patent applications;|
|●||we might not have been the first to make the inventions covered by a pending patent application that we own or license;|
|●||we might not have been the first to file patent applications covering an invention;|
|●||others may independently develop similar or alternative technologies without infringing our intellectual property rights;|
|●||pending patent applications that we own or license may not lead to issued patents;|
|●||patents, if issued, that we own or license may not provide us with any competitive advantages, or may be held invalid or unenforceable, as a result of legal challenges by our competitors;|
|●||third parties may compete with us in jurisdictions where we do not pursue and obtain patent protection;|
|●||we may not be able to obtain and/or maintain necessary or useful licenses on reasonable terms or at all;|
|●||third parties may be able to also license the intellectual property that we have licensed nonexclusively;|
|●||third parties may assert an ownership interest in our intellectual property and, if successful, such disputes may preclude us from exercising exclusive rights over that intellectual property;|
|●||we may not be able to maintain the confidentiality of our trade secrets or other proprietary information;|
|●||we may not develop or in-license additional proprietary technologies that are patentable; and|
|●||the patents of others may have an adverse effect on our business.|
Should any of these events occur, they could significantly harm our business and results of operations.
Risks Related to Our Securities and to Being a Public Company
The Company’s outstanding warrants became exercisable for the Company’s Class A common stock upon the first anniversary of Longview’s initial public offering. The exercise of these outstanding warrants will increase the number of shares eligible for future resale in the public market and result in dilution to our stockholders.
As of February 1, 2022, there were 13,799,457 outstanding public warrants to purchase 13,799,457 shares of our Class A common stock at an exercise price of $11.50 per share, which warrants became exercisable 12 months from the closing of our initial public offering, which occurred on May 26, 2020. In addition, as of February 1, 2022, there were 6,853,333 private placement warrants outstanding exercisable for 6,853,333 shares of our Class A common stock at an exercise price of $11.50 per share. In certain circumstances, the public warrants and private placement warrants may be exercised on a cashless basis. To the extent such warrants are exercised, additional shares of our Class A common stock will be issued, which will result in dilution to the holders of our Class A common stock and increase the number of shares eligible for resale in the public market. Sales of substantial numbers of such shares in the public market could adversely affect the market price of our Class A common stock, the impact of which is increased as the value of our stock price increases.
If we fail to maintain proper and effective internal controls, our ability to produce accurate and timely financial statements could be impaired, which could harm our operating results, our ability to operate our business and investors’ views of us.
We are required to comply with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires public companies to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting. In particular, we must perform system and process evaluation and testing of our internal control over financial reporting to allow management to report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. In addition, we are required to have our independent registered public accounting firm attest to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. Ensuring that we have adequate internal financial and accounting controls and procedures in place so that we can produce accurate financial statements on a timely basis is a costly and time-consuming effort that will need to be evaluated frequently. We may need to hire additional accounting and financial staff with appropriate public company experience and technical accounting knowledge.
As previously disclosed in our Amendment No. 1 to our Annual Report on Form 10-K/A for the year ended December 31, 2020, we identified a material weakness in our internal controls over financial reporting related to inaccurate accounting for public warrants and private placement warrants issued in connection with our initial public offering. A material weakness is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of our annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented, or detected and corrected on a timely basis. In response to this material weakness we implemented our remediation plan, which included acquiring enhanced access to accounting literature, research materials and documents and improving the communication among our personnel and third-party professionals with whom we may consult regarding the application of complex accounting transactions. Our enhanced review processes and procedures were in place as of December 31, 2021. We have tested the related internal controls and have concluded, through testing, that the newly implemented controls are operating effectively, and that the material weakness previously identified has been remediated as December 31, 2021.
If we fail to maintain the effectiveness of our internal controls or fail to comply in a timely manner with the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, or if we or our independent registered public accounting firm identify deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting that are deemed to be material weaknesses, this could have a material adverse effect on our business. We could lose investor confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports, which could have an adverse effect on the price of our common stock and we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by the NYSE, the SEC or other regulatory authorities, which would require additional financial and management resources. In addition, if our efforts to comply with new or changed laws, regulations, and standards differ from the activities intended by regulatory or governing bodies due to ambiguities related to practice, regulatory authorities may initiate legal proceedings against us and our business may be harmed.
Our ability to successfully implement our business plan and comply with Section 404 requires us to be able to prepare timely and accurate financial statements. We expect that we will need to continue to improve existing, and implement new operational and financial systems, procedures and controls to manage our business effectively. Any delay in the implementation of, or disruption in the transition to, new or enhanced systems, procedures or controls, may cause our operations to suffer and we may be unable to conclude that our internal control over financial reporting is effective and to obtain an unqualified report on internal controls from our independent
registered public accounting firm as required under Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. This, in turn, could have an adverse impact on trading prices for our common stock, and could adversely affect our ability to access the capital markets.
The valuation of our warrants could increase the volatility in our net income (loss) in our consolidated statements of operations.
The change in fair value of our warrants is the result of changes in stock price and warrants outstanding at each reporting period. The change in fair value of warrant liabilities represents the mark-to-market fair value adjustments to the outstanding warrants issued in connection with the initial public offering of Longview. Significant changes in our stock price or number of warrants outstanding may adversely affect our net income (loss) in our consolidated statements of operations.
Because we are a “controlled company” within the meaning of the NYSE rules, our stockholders may not have certain corporate governance protections that are available to stockholders of companies that are not controlled companies.
So long as more than 50% of the voting power for the election of our directors is held by an individual, a group or another company, we will qualify as a “controlled company” within the meaning of the NYSE corporate governance standards. As of February 1, 2022, Dr. Rothberg controls approximately 76.9% of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock. As a result, we are a “controlled company” within the meaning of the NYSE corporate governance standards and will not be subject to the requirements that would otherwise require us to have: (i) a majority of independent directors; (ii) a nominating committee comprised solely of independent directors; (iii) compensation of our executive officers determined by a majority of the independent directors or a compensation committee comprised solely of independent directors; and (iv) director nominees selected, or recommended for our board of directors’ selection, either by a majority of the independent directors or a nominating committee comprised solely of independent directors.
Dr. Rothberg may have his interest in the Company diluted due to future equity issuances or his own actions in selling shares of our Class B common stock, in each case, which could result in a loss of the “controlled company” exemption under the NYSE listing rules. We would then be required to comply with those provisions of the NYSE listing requirements.
The dual class structure of our common stock has the effect of concentrating voting power with the chairman of our board of directors and founder, which will limit an investor’s ability to influence the outcome of important transactions, including a change in control.
Shares of our Class B common stock have 20 votes per share, while shares of our Class A common stock have one vote per share. As of February 1, 2022, Dr. Rothberg holds all of the issued and outstanding shares of our Class B common stock and holds approximately 76.9% of the voting power of our capital stock and is able to control matters submitted to our stockholders for approval, including the election of directors, amendments of our organizational documents and any merger, consolidation, sale of all or substantially all of our assets or other major corporate transactions. Dr. Rothberg may have interests that differ from yours and may vote in a way with which you disagree and which may be adverse to your interests. This concentrated control may have the effect of delaying, preventing or deterring a change in control of the Company, could deprive our stockholders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their capital stock as part of a sale of the Company, and may affect the market price of shares of our Class A common stock.
We cannot predict the impact our dual class structure may have on the stock price of our Class A common stock.
We cannot predict whether our dual class structure will result in a lower or more volatile market price of our Class A common stock or in adverse publicity or other adverse consequences. For example, certain index providers have announced restrictions on including companies with multiple-class share structures in certain of their indexes. Under these policies, our dual class capital structure would make us ineligible for inclusion in certain indices, and as a result, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and other investment vehicles that attempt to passively track those indices will not be investing in our stock. It is unclear what effect, if any, these policies will have on the valuations of publicly traded companies excluded from such indices, but it is possible that they may depress valuations, as compared to similar companies that are included. As a result, the market price of shares of our Class A common stock could be adversely affected.
Delaware law and provisions in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws could make a takeover proposal more difficult.
Our organizational documents are governed by Delaware law. Certain provisions of Delaware law and of our certificate of incorporation and bylaws could discourage, delay, defer or prevent a merger, tender offer, proxy contest or other change of control transaction that a
stockholder might consider in its best interest, including those attempts that might result in a premium over the market price for the shares of our Class A common stock held by our stockholders. These provisions provide for, among other things:
|●||the ability of our board of directors to issue one or more series of preferred stock;|
|●||stockholder action by written consent only until the first time when Dr. Rothberg ceases to beneficially own a majority of the voting power of our capital stock;|
|●||certain limitations on convening special stockholder meetings;|
|●||advance notice for nominations of directors by stockholders and for stockholders to include matters to be considered at our annual meetings;|
|●||amendment of certain provisions of the organizational documents only by the affirmative vote of (i) a majority of the voting power of our capital stock and (ii) at least two-thirds of the outstanding shares of our Class B common stock, voting as a separate class; and|
|●||a dual-class common stock structure with 20 votes per share of our Class B common stock, the result of which is that Dr. Rothberg has the ability to control the outcome of matters requiring stockholder approval, even though Dr. Rothberg owns less than a majority of the outstanding shares of our capital stock.|
These anti-takeover provisions as well as certain provisions of Delaware law could make it more difficult for a third party to acquire the Company, even if the third party’s offer may be considered beneficial by many of our stockholders. As a result, our stockholders may be limited in their ability to obtain a premium for their shares. If prospective takeovers are not consummated for any reason, we may experience negative reactions from the financial markets, including negative impacts on the price of our common stock. These provisions could also discourage proxy contests and make it more difficult for our stockholders to elect directors of their choosing and to cause the Company to take other corporate actions that our stockholders desire.
Our certificate of incorporation designates the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware as the sole and exclusive forum for certain types of actions and proceedings and the federal district courts as the sole and exclusive forum for other types of actions and proceedings, in each case, that may be initiated by our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain what such stockholders believe to be a favorable judicial forum for disputes with the Company or our directors, officers or other employees.
Our certificate of incorporation provides that, unless we consent to the selection of an alternative forum, any (i) derivative action or proceeding brought on behalf of the Company; (ii) action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by, or any other wrongdoing by, any current or former director, officer or other employee or stockholder of the Company; (iii) action asserting a claim against the Company arising pursuant to any provision of the DGCL or our certificate of incorporation or our bylaws; (iv) action to interpret, apply, enforce, or determine the validity of any provisions in the certificate of incorporation of bylaws; or (v) action asserting a claim against the company or any director or officer of the Company governed by the internal affairs doctrine, shall, to the fullest extent permitted by law, be exclusively brought in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware or, if such court does not have subject matter jurisdiction thereof, the federal district court of the State of Delaware. Subject to the foregoing, the federal district courts of the United States are the exclusive forum for the resolution of any action, suit or proceeding asserting a cause of action under the Securities Act. The exclusive forum provision does not apply to suits brought to enforce any liability or duty created by the Exchange Act. Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring an interest in any shares of our capital stock shall be deemed to have notice of and to have consented to the forum provisions in our certificate of incorporation. These choice-of-forum provisions may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that he, she or it believes to be favorable for disputes with the Company or our directors, officers or other employees or stockholders, which may discourage such lawsuits. We note that there is uncertainty as to whether a court would enforce these provisions and that investors cannot waive compliance with the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder. Section 22 of the Securities Act creates concurrent jurisdiction for state and federal courts over all suits brought to enforce any duty or liability created by the Securities Act or the rules and regulations thereunder.
Alternatively, if a court were to find these provisions of our certificate of incorporation inapplicable or unenforceable with respect to one or more of the specified types of actions or proceedings, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such matters in other jurisdictions, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations and result in a diversion of the time and resources of our management and board of directors.
We face the risk of product liability claims and may be subject to damages, fines, penalties and injunctions, among other things.
Our business exposes us to the risk of product liability claims that are inherent in the testing, manufacturing and marketing of medical devices, including those which may arise from the misuse (including system hacking or other unauthorized access by third parties to our systems) or malfunction of, or design flaws in, our hardware and software products. This liability may vary based on the FDA classification associated with our devices and with the laws of the state or other applicable jurisdiction governing product liability standards applied to specification developers and/or manufacturers in a given negligence or strict liability lawsuit. We may be subject to product liability claims if our products cause, or merely appear to have caused, an injury. Claims may be made by patients, healthcare providers or others selling our products. The risk of product liability claims may also increase if our products are subject to a product recall, whether voluntary or mandatory, or government seizure. Product liability claims may be brought by individuals or by groups seeking to represent a class.
Although we have insurance at levels that we believe to be appropriate, this insurance is subject to deductibles and coverage limitations. Our current product liability insurance may not continue to be available to us on acceptable terms, if at all, and, if available, the coverage may not be adequate to protect us against any future product liability claims. Further, if additional medical device products are approved or cleared for marketing, or if we launch additional 510(k)-exempt device products or products that are not FDA-regulated medical devices, we may seek additional insurance coverage. If we are unable to obtain insurance at an acceptable cost or on acceptable terms with adequate coverage or otherwise protect against potential product liability claims, we will be exposed to significant liabilities, which may harm our business. A product liability claim, recall or other claim with respect to uninsured liabilities or for amounts in excess of insured liabilities could result in significant costs and significant harm to our business.
We may be subject to claims against us even if the apparent injury is due to the actions of others or misuse of the device or a partner device. Healthcare providers may use our products in a manner that is inconsistent with the products’ labeling and that differs from the manner in which they were used in clinical studies and authorized for marketing by the FDA. Off-label use of products by healthcare providers is common, and any such off-label use of our products could subject us to additional liability, or require design changes to limit this potential off-label use once discovered. Defending a suit, regardless of merit, could be costly, could divert management attention and might result in adverse publicity, which could result in the withdrawal of, or result in reduced acceptance of, our products in the market.
Additionally, we have entered into various agreements where we indemnify third parties for certain claims relating to our products. These indemnification obligations may require us to pay significant sums of money for claims that are covered by these indemnification obligations. We are not currently subject to any product liability claims; however, any future product liability claims against us, regardless of their merit, may result in negative publicity about us that could ultimately harm our reputation and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations.
We are currently subject to a securities class action lawsuit, the unfavorable outcome of which may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
On February 16, 2022, a purported class action lawsuit was filed against us, certain of our executive officers and directors, and certain of Longview’s executive officers and directors prior to the Business Combination, alleging violations of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 and Rule 14a-9 promulgated thereunder. The alleged class consists of all persons or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired the Company’s stock between February 16, 2021 and November 15, 2021 and/or holders as of the record date for the special meeting of shareholders held on February 12, 2021 in connection with the approval of the Business Combination. The lawsuit is premised upon allegations that the defendants made false and misleading statements and/or omissions about its post-Business Combination business and financial prospects, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. While we intend to vigorously defend against this action, there is no assurance that we will be successful in the defense or that insurance will be available or adequate to fund any settlement or judgment or the litigation costs of the action. This action may divert management resources, we may incur substantial costs, and any unfavorable outcome may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
All of the Class A common stock, Class B common stock and Warrants offered by the Selling Securityholders pursuant to this prospectus will be sold by the Selling Securityholders for their respective accounts. We will not receive any of the proceeds from these sales.
We will receive up to an aggregate of approximately $237.5 million from the exercise of the Warrants, assuming the exercise in full of all of the Warrants for cash. We expect to use the net proceeds from the exercise of the Warrants for general corporate purposes. We will have broad discretion over the use of proceeds from the exercise of the Warrants. There is no assurance that the holders of the Warrants will elect to exercise any or all of such Warrants. To the extent that the Warrants are exercised on a “cashless basis,” the amount of cash we would receive from the exercise of the Warrants will decrease.
The offering price of the shares of Class A Common Stock underlying the Warrants offered hereby is determined by reference to the exercise price of the Warrants of $11.50 per share. The Public Warrants are listed on the NYSE under the symbol “BFLY WS.”
We cannot currently determine the price or prices at which shares of Class A common stock, shares of Class B common stock or Warrants may be sold by the Selling Securityholders under this prospectus.
Market Price and Ticker Symbol
Our Class A common stock and Public Warrants are currently listed on the NYSE under the symbols “BFLY,” and “BFLY WS,” respectively.
The closing price of the Class A common stock and Public Warrants on April 18, 2022, was $3.98 and $0.77, respectively.
As of February 2, 2022, there were 325 holders of record of our Class A common stock, five holders of record of our Class B common stock, one holder of record of the Public Warrants and one holder of record of the Private Placement Warrants.
Such numbers do not include beneficial owners holding our securities through nominee names. There is no public market for our Class B common stock.
We have not paid any cash dividends on our Class A common stock or Class B common stock to date. The payment of cash dividends in the future will be dependent upon our revenues and earnings, if any, capital requirements and general financial condition. The payment of any cash dividends will be within the discretion of the Butterfly Board at such time.
The following discussion reflects the business of Butterfly, as currently embodied by Butterfly. In this section, “we,” “us” and “our” generally refer to Butterfly in the present tense or Butterfly from and after the Business Combination.
We are an innovative digital health business transforming care with hand-held, whole body ultrasound. Powered by our proprietary Ultrasound-on-Chip™ technology, our solution enables the acquisition of imaging information from an affordable, powerful device that fits in a healthcare professional’s pocket with a unique combination of cloud-connected software and hardware technology that is easily accessed through a mobile app. Butterfly enables the practical application of ultrasound information into the clinical workflow.
Butterfly iQ+ is the only ultrasound transducer that can perform whole-body imaging in a single handheld probe using semiconductor technology. Our Ultrasound-on-Chip™ reduces the cost of manufacturing, while our software is intended to make the product easy to use, fully integrated with the clinical workflow and accessible on a user’s smartphone, tablet and almost any hospital computer system connected to the Internet.
Through our portable proprietary, handheld solution, protected by a robust intellectual property portfolio and empowered in part by our proprietary software and Artificial Intelligence (“AI”), we aim to enable the delivery of imaging information with the least amount of effort, unlocking information and enabling more informed and earlier medical decisions no matter where clinical care takes place. In addition, Butterfly BlueprintTM provides a system-wide ultrasound platform with CompassTM software that integrates into a healthcare system’s clinical and administrative infrastructure to be able to deploy Butterfly iQ+, which we believe can help optimize care at scale across the full spectrum of departments and specialties in a healthcare system, including nursing.
We market and sell the Butterfly system, which includes probes and related accessories and software subscriptions, to healthcare systems, physicians and healthcare providers through a direct sales force, distributors, strategic partners and our eCommerce channel. We generated total revenue of $62.6 million and $46.3 million in the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively. We also incurred net losses of $32.4 million and $162.7 million for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020.
We employ approximately 463 employees as of December 31, 2021 and sell our products in approximately 30 countries through our sales force and independent distributors and directly to physicians through our eCommerce channel.
Corporate History and Information
The Company, formerly known as Longview Acquisition Corp. (“Longview”), was incorporated in Delaware on February 4, 2020. Prior to February 12, 2021, we were a blank check company formed for the purpose of effecting a merger, capital stock exchange, asset acquisition, stock purchase, reorganization or similar business combination with one or more businesses.
On February 12, 2021 we completed the business combination (the “Business Combination”) pursuant to the terms of the Business Combination Agreement, dated as of November 19, 2020 (the “Business Combination Agreement”), by and among Longview, Clay Merger Sub, Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Merger Sub”), and Butterfly Network, Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Legacy Butterfly”). The transaction resulted in the Company being renamed to "Butterfly Network, Inc.," Legacy Butterfly being renamed “BFLY Operations, Inc.” and the Company’s Class A common stock and warrants to purchase Class A common stock commencing trading on the New York Stock Exchange ("NYSE") on February 16, 2021 under the symbol "BFLY" and “BFLY WS”, respectively. As a result of the Business Combination, we received gross proceeds of approximately $589 million and the business of Legacy Butterfly became our business.
Legacy Butterfly was founded in 2011 by Dr. Jonathan Rothberg, a serial entrepreneur who received the Presidential Medal of Technology & Innovation in 2016 for inventing a novel next generation DNA sequencing method and has founded more than 10 healthcare/technology companies, including 454 Life Sciences, Ion Torrent and CuraGen. Legacy Butterfly has raised over $400 million in equity investments and partnership milestones from leading institutional investors, including Baillie Gifford, and strategic partners, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
We have wholly-owned subsidiaries organized in Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Taiwan. Our principal executive offices are located at 530 Old Whitfield Street, Guilford, Connecticut 06437 and our telephone number is (203) 689-5650.
The Evolution of Ultrasound
Digital health is systematically changing the way healthcare practitioners deliver care by providing information that informs better decision-making, while increasing access and significantly reducing patient-care costs. Butterfly iQ+ is designed for this new wave of medical care with an easy-to-use interface that displays ultrasound information on your smartphone or tablet in real-time.
Historically, the global ultrasound market has been dominated by traditional cart-based devices. These devices are accessible only to highly specialized, highly trained technicians and are located predominantly in hospitals, imaging centers, and physicians’ offices. Many healthcare institutions throughout the world lack the facilities and capital necessary to acquire and maintain expensive cart-based devices and cannot afford the highly trained individuals required to operate them.
Traditional cart-based equipment typically ranges from $45,000 to $60,000 per new device in the mid-range and is required to be operated by trained healthcare professionals. More recently, we have seen the introduction of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) and handheld devices with an average price point of $15,000, based on $5,000 to $7,000 per probe, some requiring two to three probes to cover a comparable range of cleared indications to the single probe Butterfly iQ+ and an upfront software investment for access to advanced imaging modes (e.g. pulsed-wave Doppler) and workflow (e.g. cloud storage) which can reach upwards of $2,000. However, these POCUS devices operate off the same platform as traditional cart-based ultrasound, limited by their application of the same 60-year-old piezoelectric crystal technology, leaving limited opportunity for future progress.
Although still required to be operated by trained healthcare practitioners, we are developing a technology roadmap to make it easier for users of all skill levels to use the device. By taking the burden off the user, we believe that Butterfly iQ+ will change the paradigm of how clinical decisions are made with a handheld, whole body ultrasound that can provide critical information earlier in care. We believe that this information delivered through imaging with an intuitive user interface will further drive costs down and expand the use of imaging at clinical point-of-care.
Long term, we are on a journey to address a potential new market that we estimate exceeds $100 billion. We believe our solution addresses an unmet need across an addressable market of approximately 45 million healthcare practitioners, including approximately 2 million veterinarians and vet technicians, approximately 13 million medical doctors and approximately 30 million nurses and midwives worldwide.
In the near term, we are first driving adoption with healthcare practitioners, including doctors and nurses in healthcare systems and a focused group of initial customers in the veterinary market, comprised of companion animal, mixed animal, equine veterinarians and veterinary academic institutions.
We believe our solution can address this market, and moves beyond the restrictions of the existing ultrasound market, because our solution empowers practitioners with imaging information at point-of-care that is practical, mobile, interoperable, and easy-to-use. Our aspiration is to be as ubiquitous as the stethoscope and a tool used by physicians everywhere and anywhere care is delivered.
We believe our differentiated Butterfly iQ+ handheld device and our growing user base of healthcare systems, medical schools and individual practitioners, position us well to drive an evolution in healthcare. Similar to the human patient market, our solution for the veterinarian market is also driving an impact in veterinary care and education.
We believe the valuable information generated from a small handheld with low cost, quality imaging and an interface designed for ease-of-use are attractive to healthcare systems that seek to improve care at lower cost. These attributes also allow the use of our Butterfly iQ+ by practitioners beyond traditional health system environments to where health systems look to evolve, such as the home. This evolution would enable the application of ultrasound information in broad clinical utility and practice with patient-performed scanning to home monitoring, subject to our obtaining appropriate marketing authorizations for such intended uses.
The advantages of our technology align with recent industry trends, including the shift to in-home medical care, affordability, harnessing of AI and deep learning, collaboration through the cloud, disruptive medical innovation, and increasing access to care. In addition, by expanding the settings in which medical imaging can be done, the Butterfly iQ+ device may provide opportunities for earlier detection and prevention of disease, while reducing cost. This aligns with the focus on consumer health empowerment, wellness, and acceleration of value-based care, all of which are important themes in the healthcare industry today and we believe have become increasingly more important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the first semiconductor-based, handheld, whole body ultrasound devices, the Butterfly iQ and iQ+ cloud-based solution is a leading part of the medical imaging revolution. Leveraging this novel technology, our solution can scan, process and store high quality images at the bedside that can then be transferred between systems, as well as address hospital and health system workflows, an interoperability valued by customers in today’s market.
We believe that with our current products and solutions, we have created a new standard for medical imaging, and we are focused on staying at the leading edge of technical innovation. We believe our solution is only the first step in our development and we plan to continually improve it and expand our product and service offerings. We recently launched Butterfly Blueprint and Compass software, an expanded solution, which we are implementing within healthcare systems to enable these customers to deploy our solution at scale.
We believe that through the penetration of the existing addressable market, and the potential subsequent expansion into new markets, as well as places that do not currently use medical imaging or where access to imaging is limited, we can bring the adoption of medical imaging to greater scale in countries where there is limited access to healthcare.
In the near-term, we are focused on key markets and opportunities to innovate and grow as we develop a new market. We are driving adoption of Butterfly across four areas:
|1)||Hospitals and healthcare systems, initially focused in the United States;|
|2)||Expanding into international markets and driving global health equity to improve care across all settings;|
|3)||Moving Butterfly into home-based care, subject to appropriate authorizations; and|
|4)||Capturing opportunities in adjacent markets to drive growth.|
Across these four areas, we have three core principles that will help drive adoption that we call our “3 E’s” – our commitment to ensure that Butterfly is: Easy, Everywhere, and Economical.
|●||Easy to use, enabling access to the most information with the least amount of effort through education, an intuitive interface and AI.|
|●||Everywhere, the scope of our journey to change the standard of care. We are focused on making Butterfly useful in more settings with cutting edge features and capabilities and building new business models to put Butterfly into every clinician’s pocket.|
|●||Economical, creating, capturing and delivering value and affordability for all. We are focused on completing health economics studies to demonstrate that our system delivers better, more informed, lower cost care.|
Because the Butterfly iQ+ is mobile and easy-to-use, healthcare practitioners can have access to ultrasound information outside of traditional settings, increasing convenience for both practitioners and patients. This could improve health outcomes, while avoiding expensive treatments, generating economic value for both the patient and payor, which is aligned with the healthcare mega-trend of value-based care. As our device reaches new markets and new users and, with appropriate marketing authorizations, enables more direct interaction with patients, including remote patient monitoring, we believe this trend will accelerate, further improving outcomes and reducing costs. This reduction of costs has the potential to create economic value for the whole healthcare system across clinical applications and markets where ultrasound scanning is used.
Longer term, as patient-focused, value-based care delivery models continue to scale, we believe handheld ultrasound devices will find a potential market in at-home care settings with at-home medical personnel and patient-performed scanning, subject to appropriate authorizations.
Our products include a combination of hardware and software, including Butterfly iQ and iQ+ probes, software subscriptions, and accessories. In addition, we also offer cloud-based software solutions to healthcare systems, teleguidance, in-app educational tutorials, formal education programs through our Butterfly Academy software, as well as clinical support and services for large scale deployments.
Butterfly iQ and iQ+
In 2018, Legacy Butterfly commercially launched Butterfly iQ, the world’s first handheld, single-probe, whole-body ultrasound system using semiconductor technology that is commercially available, and in 2020, Legacy Butterfly launched the Butterfly iQ+ with additional features and improved performance.
Since then, we have sold and shipped more than 57,000 Butterfly iQ and Butterfly iQ+ devices (“iQ devices”). Butterfly iQ+’s list price is approximately $2,400 per device, making it a high-quality and affordable alternative to the costly traditional cart-based equipment and a number of other handheld devices currently on the market. Powered by our Ultrasound-on-Chip™, Butterfly’s high-performance imaging capabilities support fast and confident clinical decision-making.
Our Butterfly iQ+ device connects directly to a compatible iPhone or Android smartphone or tablet to provide its imaging and software features for more than two consecutive hours according to average use as determined from field data analytics and charges to full battery in approximately five hours. In select countries, our proprietary software harnesses AI designed to drive ease-of-use for image acquisition and improved analysis, further used to guide and educate practitioners, as well as provide quality control.
The Butterfly iQ+ has 22 pre-set settings generated in part with AI that optimize images obtained from scanning different areas of the body.
Within the Butterfly application, users can utilize six imaging modes, including B-Mode, Color Doppler, M-Mode Power Doppler and Pulsed Wave Doppler, Biplane, as well as additional measuring tools used for a variety of specialties, nursing and obstetrician calculations.
These features allow healthcare practitioners to perform surface area and volume measurements on the anatomical objects that are imaged and can use color Doppler to identify movement of fluid, similar to features provided by legacy products in the market.
|●||For the obstetric clinicians, the device tools can perform gestational age and amniotic fluid index calculations.|
|●||The device tools can provide automated bladder volume calculations, with 3D visualizations and enables easier line placements using NeedleVizTM technology and Biplane ImagingTM. These tools can be utilized across broad clinical applications and specialties.|
|●||Using TeleGuidanceTM, healthcare practitioners can perform ultrasound remotely, providing real-time guidance by connecting with a novice user or peer directly from the Butterfly iQ+ app. Through our Teleguidance feature, healthcare practitioners can control the settings of the application while the device is in use and help the user identify the image.|
We believe these pre-set settings and intuitive operation features through smartphones will enable healthcare practitioners who are not medical imaging experts to adopt our device, expanding our user base beyond the traditional ultrasound user base. This traditional base of ultrasound users has been limited because existing ultrasound devices often require unique environments and extensive training to operate, while the Butterfly iQ+ device can be used by general and other healthcare practitioners across the healthcare industry.
Butterfly iQ+ is comprised of both durable hardware and dynamic software solutions designed to make ultrasound imaging accessible to all healthcare practitioners, including nurses. We also sell accessories for the Butterfly iQ and iQ+ including cases, adaptors and carts.
We believe that the software and analytics capabilities of our solution coupled with the Butterfly iQ+ device empowers smarter and expanded scanning, quality assurance, credentialing, documentation and billing that can generate both incremental revenue for healthcare systems and independent practitioners, but also reduce costs for payers from earlier detection and prevention of adverse downstream events due to suboptimal care decisions or treatment complications.
We currently offer different software membership plans, including Pro Individual, our complete ultrasound solution for individual users that is priced at $420 per year, and Pro Custom, an offering that allows individuals to choose their add-on features, to suit their needs. In addition, we offer other membership plans that are specific to customer needs, including iQ+ Care, for bladder scanner and vascular access application solutions, integrated software enterprise solutions to enable ultrasound deployments at scale and medical education subscriptions for universities.
Through our software subscription options, users can upload scanned images to our HIPAA-compliant cloud, which has unlimited storage and links to electronic medical records (“EMRs”), hospital and office systems, allowing for seamless transfer of images that can also be accessed from a desktop computer.
Through our ongoing collaborations with the healthcare community, we are continuing to optimize our software ecosystem, including by harnessing AI to develop additional clinical and product advancements for our users. We believe that these efforts could drive ease-of-use for image acquisition, improve analysis, and expand its most utilized features with extensive quality control. Our AI has and is expected to continue to allow us to develop programs that guide and educate healthcare practitioners on how to utilize the Butterfly iQ+ device, with the goal of improving their clinical impact and productivity globally.
Our platform features education tools to enable users to quickly gain proficiency in conducting exams, including hundreds of educational videos taught by experts. In 2021 we launched Butterfly AcademyTM that provides embedded education and training to enable clinicians across care settings, to support long-term scaling of Butterfly throughout a healthcare system and for use in medical education applications. In addition, our software application also features TeleGuidance, which is the first integrated ultrasound telemedicine platform. This tool allows a remote, trained healthcare practitioner to view and guide the ultrasound imaging through the smartphone application and live video.
Butterfly iQ+ Vet
In 2021, we launched Butterfly iQ+ Vet, a handheld ultrasound system designed to bring value to veterinarians in a variety of care settings, helping to usher in a new standard for veterinary medicine.
As of December 31, 2021, iQ+ Vet is available in 21 international markets, bringing first of its kind innovation to veterinarians. The product includes a specially designed animal-specific probe for ease of use and maneuvering, Color-Doppler and NeedleViz. We are changing the way that veterinarians deliver care, providing more information through imaging at the point-of-care, particularly since their patients do not speak.
Marketing and Sales
We market our products through our targeted U.S. sales organization, which is engaged in sales efforts and promotional activities primarily to health institutions as well as to healthcare institutions through direct sales and distributor partnerships outside of the United States. In the United States, Butterfly has been purchased by a clinician in all of the largest 100 healthcare systems. We use a variety of marketing tools to drive adoption, foster continued usage and establish brand loyalty for our devices and software. We recognize the importance of the role of education in accelerating adoption of our products by those medical professionals without existing ultrasound skills.
We sell through three main channels:
|●||A targeted, regional, direct salesforce focused on large healthcare system-wide implementations.|
|●||An eCommerce website through which we sell our Butterfly iQ+ and iQ+ Vet to healthcare practitioners in these geographies, where allowed by local law.|
|●||Distributor, veterinary and affiliate relationships to unlock additional channels to supplement our direct and eCommerce sales.|
In 2021, we have invested heavily in building out and educating our salesforce and sales support teams, and plan to continue to do so, with the ultimate goal of growing adoption at large scale healthcare systems. As we continue to grow, we plan to expand on our client experience resources to work with our customers to deploy Butterfly iQ+ and Butterfly Blueprint. We believe that we can build a community of healthcare system customers around our solution to share insights, techniques, and new regulatory-compliant ways of applying our solution, all of which we believe should continue to drive clinical behavior change, adoption and retention, as well as clinical and economic studies.
As we expanded our healthcare system software offerings and developed relationships with larger health systems in 2021, we have increased the proportion of our sales to health systems compared to eCommerce. Because institutions often make decisions to purchase on a system-wide level, we believe enterprise sales can generate economies of scale with larger volumes and larger numbers of users, while also increasing user retention. The health system channel also yields more comprehensive software subscriptions, which further increases our revenue from devices and subscriptions sold. We are working towards increasingly integrated solutions to maximize our value to large healthcare customers, as well as continuing to improve our sales and support infrastructure. Our ability to connect and integrate with traditional third-party ultrasound systems gives enterprise customers a solution to the governance and workflow challenges that may have previously limited the utilization and billing of point of care imaging devices. Health system customers deploying our solution can benefit from a streamlined clinical workflow that reduces the exam documentation burden typically associated with traditional ultrasound systems. By adopting Butterfly Blueprint and Compass software, customers can responsibly manage and optimize value from their fleets of point of care imaging devices.
We continue to develop our sales and marketing organization, which consists of a dedicated sales team, sales operations and sales support personnel that are complemented by a marketing team. As of December 31, 2021, we had 124 people employed globally in sales, sales support, and marketing.
Butterfly iQ+ is being used in approximately 30 markets. Outside of our core commercial geographies, Butterfly iQ+ is also being utilized in over 70 low resource settings around the world, where we have partnerships with non-governmental organizations (“NGOs”) like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to deliver our technology to underserved communities. Currently, we have placed our device with over 100 NGOs, entities and healthcare professionals that align with our mission to deliver care around the world and bring potentially lifesaving medical imaging to patients, often for the first time.
In terms of geographic markets, for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, a substantial majority of our revenues were derived from sales to customers based in the United States. We aim to further expand our international customer base in the future. We believe our differentiated Butterfly iQ+ handheld device and our growing user base of Butterfly iQ+ practitioners, with sales to or agreements with most of the largest 100 U.S. healthcare systems and across approximately 30 countries, position us well to compete in the existing ultrasound market and to potentially expand into emerging markets.
Butterfly is a pioneer in putting ultrasound on a semiconductor chip. This novel and proprietary Ultrasound-on-Chip™ technology enables whole-body complete ultrasound imaging with a single probe. We are continuing to improve our software by harnessing AI with a goal to drive ease-of-use for image acquisition, improve analysis, guide and educate practitioners, and provide quality control. As a result of utilizing these technologies, our first and second generation, Butterfly iQ and iQ+ products have a small, hand-held size, low cost, and simple user interface, making ultrasound technology more accessible outside of large healthcare institutions. This contrasts sharply to existing systems that are built using often expensive piezoelectric crystal technology, which can lead to high upfront costs and thereby constrain access and usage.
Additionally, the technology driving the Butterfly iQ and Butterfly iQ+ devices may be able to continually scale and improve. In 2021, we have continued to improve our chip technology, AI capabilities and image quality. We expect to continue development of the device
with product offerings that may include enhanced performance, additional procedural applications, changes to the device that enable and encourage usage and alternative form factors.
With cloud-based technology, we have also continued to create content and applications to enrich the overall software ecosystems and deliver additional clinical and product advancements for our users. To date, we have launched a variety of software offerings for individual physicians, as well as launched Butterfly Blueprint to develop an operating system that addresses the workflow needs of our large healthcare system customers. We plan to continue to build solutions and features, including AI in our software to improve ease-of-use for our customers
As of December 31, 2021, we owned approximately 418 issued patents and had approximately 463 pending patent applications.
Research and Development
We plan to develop future applications, subject to appropriate marketing authorization, to leverage our unique hardware foundation and commitment to improving our software using AI. Simultaneously, we plan to enhance our software capabilities, pursuing regulatory authorizations as necessary, with new features to support clinical procedures, and further workflow automations for Butterfly Blueprint and our Compass software, in order to more deeply integrate our platform with healthcare systems, as we work with these customers to deploy Butterfly in their organizations.
In this way, we expect our solution will continue to innovate naturally, as well as through our enhancements to our proprietary technology. In order to pave the way for the potential future at-home use of Butterfly iQ+ and other future form factors, we anticipate we will need to validate the at-home applications through focused clinical trials and also seek additional regulatory authorizations.
We believe these hardware developments, along with our software enhancements and user education initiatives, will bring ultrasound to healthcare systems and healthcare practitioners. We believe that with our differentiated and continually expanding solution, we have the potential to drive user adoption and change clinical behavior. We plan to partner with healthcare systems to continue to inform the development of new innovative products, services and software applications, leveraging our core technology and platform capabilities.
We believe our product roadmap is designed to continue to position us as one of the leading disruptors in the medical imaging market and eventually, potentially the remote patient monitoring market. We expect to continue development of our hardware with product offerings that may include enhanced performance, features to enable more usage and alternative form factors.
Beyond these hardware and software product roadmaps, we plan to develop new innovative products, services and software applications, leveraging our core technology and platform capabilities. Through this product development, we believe we will be positioned to remain on the forefront of medical imaging with a continued focus on enabling access to more information at low cost and reduced effort and with education, an intuitive interface and AI to unlock the power of point-of-care information quickly and confidently, allowing us to enable healthcare practitioners to transform care with Butterfly.
The Butterfly iQ+ leverages pre-existing, routine CPT codes that enable healthcare providers and practitioners to obtain per-scan reimbursement in the specialties of anesthesiology, cardiology, critical care, emergency medicine, endocrinology and ultrasound-guided procedures. We intend to pursue incremental, new or expansionary CPT codes for reimbursement in future scan categories and categories concurrent to support the successful go-to-market strategy of the product pipeline.
Several large companies, such as GE, Philips and Sonosite currently constitute the bulk of ultrasound sales. High regulatory, distribution, manufacturing and service-related long-term contractual costs represent significant barriers to entry for any new player. We expect that the existing market participants will remain strong active players in the future.
As a general matter, we view competition on two levels:
|●||Conventional ultrasound systems; and|
|●||The development of other hand-held ultrasound systems with the same or better attributes.|
The primary competition comes from established market participants offering conventional ultrasound systems. While Butterfly’s target is often non-traditional ultrasound users we do compete with both traditional ultrasound manufacturers as well as other handheld ultrasound systems.
Our employees embody our mission to democratize healthcare and to make medical imaging accessible to everyone around the world by using our proprietary technology. We believe that our people are the reason for our success, and we have organized ourselves to maximize productivity and performance. We maintain a high bar for talent and actively work to build diversity within our workforce.
Demographics. As of December 31, 2021, we had 463 employees. As of December 31, 2021, 436 of our employees were located in the United States and 27 were located in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and Taiwan. None of our employees are represented by a labor union or are subject to a collective bargaining agreement. We supplement our employee population with independent contractors, contingent workers and temporary workforce support as needed.
Total Rewards. To attract qualified applicants to our company and retain our employees, we offer a competitive total rewards package for all employees, consisting of market, competitive-base salaries, annual target cash bonus that recognize and reward company performance as well as individual results, long-term equity incentives that encourage our employees to focus on long-term value creation, and comprehensive benefits. For 2022, we added a company match to our 401(k) savings program.
Career Growth and Development. We offer a variety of resources and programs that attract, engage, develop, advance and retain employees. Our training and development provides employees the support they need to perform well in their current role while planning and preparing for future roles. Our employees have access to a number of online courses, including through our electronic learning management system and our newly-launched LinkedIn Learning program. Our employee development program also promotes the importance of compliance across our business.
Employee Engagement. We believe engaged employees produce stronger business results and are more likely to build a career with the Company. In our first year as a public company, we launched an employee engagement survey to provide baseline data for executive management and leaders to drive continuous improvement in our organization and employee work experience based on data. With 89% of our employees participating in our engagement survey, we believe we have an engaged workforce.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. We are committed to growing and cultivating an environment that fosters diversity, equity and inclusion (“DEI”) and values the diverse perspectives, backgrounds, experiences and geographies of our employees and other stakeholders. We seek to promote greater diversity among our employees, enhance knowledge and understanding of key DEI issues, reward progress on our DEI goals and foster an environment where our employees and stakeholders feel included and valued for their diverse experiences and perspectives. We endeavor to hire employees from a broad pool of talent with diverse backgrounds, perspectives and abilities and we believe diverse leaders serve as role models for our inclusive workforce. We seek to continuously build on our inclusive hiring strategies, track our progress and hold ourselves accountable for greater diversity.
Employee Health. We are committed to protecting our workforce, customers, and communities. Our focus is directed towards ensuring all of our employees, as well as temporary contractors and visitors to our sites, can work safely. We have prioritized the health and safety of our employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, while continuing the supply of innovative products to healthcare systems, physicians and healthcare providers. Vaccinations are generally required for our employees in the U.S., and we are committed to implementing similar requirements in other jurisdictions wherever possible.
Our Butterfly iQ products are built using both custom-made and off-the-shelf components supplied by outside manufacturers and vendors located in China, Taiwan and Thailand. The key custom-made component in the Butterfly iQ probe is the ultrasound transducer module consisting of a custom chip and lens.
We purchase some of our components and materials used in manufacturing, including the transducer module, from single sources. Although we believe that alternatives would be available, it would take time to identify and validate replacement components, which could negatively affect our ability to supply our products on a timely basis. We cannot give assurances that any alternative supplier would be able to recreate the manufacturing processes currently in use. To mitigate this risk, we typically carry a significant inventory of critical components.
All of our Butterfly iQ probes are manufactured, tested, shipped and supported by Benchmark Electronics, Inc., or Benchmark, from its facility in Thailand. We believe that this manufacturing strategy and supply chain is efficient and conserves capital. However, in the event it becomes necessary to utilize a different contract manufacturer for our Butterfly iQ products, we would experience additional costs, delays and difficulties in doing so, and our business could be harmed.
Foundry Service Agreement with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited
We entered into a Foundry Service Agreement, or FSA, with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited, or TSMC, as amended, under which TSMC agreed to manufacture integrated circuits used for the semiconductor chips in our probes. The FSA provides for us to place purchase orders with TSMC, which are not binding until accepted by TSMC. The FSA also provides for TSMC to use commercially reasonable efforts to support us for our products to be manufactured at TSMC and for us to meet minimum purchase obligations. Under the agreement, we prepaid an amount to TSMC to be used against a portion of the purchase price for future purchases once the prepayment amount is reached. To the extent that we fail to fulfill our monthly wafer consumption requirement, TSMC has the right to deduct the shortfall from payments made by us to TSMC. In addition, we are required to buy back from TSMC unused raw wafers that TSMC purchases from its supplier.
The FSA also provides that TSMC will indemnify us for intellectual property infringement or misappropriation claims against us related to the wafer manufacturing process and that we will indemnify TSMC for any intellectual property infringement or misappropriation claims arising from TSMC’s compliance with our instructions, specifications, designs or requirements to manufacture, sell, or ship the wafers or arising from any harm caused by our medical device products.
The FSA’s initial term expires on December 31, 2022, subject to automatic renewal for successive two-year terms unless terminated by either party upon three months’ notice prior to the end of the then-current term. The FSA may also be terminated by written notice at any time upon the bankruptcy or insolvency of or upon or after a material breach by the other party. After the initial two-year term, either party may terminate the FSA immediately, with or without cause, by giving the other party 12 months prior written notice of termination. TSMC may terminate the FSA if we do not place a purchase order for a period of 12 consecutive months or upon certain change of control transactions, including a merger, consolidation or other change of control or similar transactions to which we are party involving a semiconductor provider.
In connection with the FSA, we and TSMC developed a proprietary manufacturing process and continue to collaborate on manufacturing process improvements.
Manufacture and Supply Agreement with Benchmark Electronics, Inc.
In October 2015, we entered into a Manufacture and Supply Agreement with Benchmark, which was amended effective in August 2019 and February 2021, or the MSA. Under the MSA, as amended, Benchmark agreed to manufacture our products pursuant to binding purchase orders, as well as non-binding forecasts. The parties have agreed to meet periodically regarding any minimum order quantities under the MSA.
Under the terms of the MSA, we granted Benchmark a non-exclusive, non-transferable, revocable, fully-paid, royalty-free license, without the right to sublicense, to use our technology solely to manufacture our products. The MSA provides that we will own any right, title and interest in any improvements or modifications to our technology made in the course of performance of Benchmark’s obligations under the MSA. We and Benchmark also agreed to indemnify each other against certain third-party claims.
Pursuant to the February 2021 amendment, we agreed to provide global production exclusivity to Benchmark for our current products and other hand-held probes which may be manufactured for us, for a specified exclusivity period, in exchange for delayed payment of
certain invoices that we paid in March 2021. The exclusivity period is terminable and we have the right to purchase products from another supplier in the event Benchmark fails to deliver more than 10% of the products based on the revenue of orders during the calendar quarter.
The MSA has an initial three-year term and will renew automatically for additional two-year terms unless either party gives 180 days’ prior written notice before the end of the then-current term to the other party electing not to renew the agreement. The MSA or any purchase order under the MSA may be terminated by either party for convenience upon 90 days’ prior written notice to the other party. The MSA may also be terminated by either party by written notice upon the occurrence of (i) a breach by the other party under the agreement which is not cured within 30 days after written notice by the terminating party, (ii) the other party becomes insolvent, dissolves, liquidates or ceases to conduct business or (iii) the occurrence of payment-related breaches. Benchmark may also terminate the agreement upon the filing of any petition against us under bankruptcy or similar laws, where such petition is not vacated within 10 days via court order.
Distribution Agreement with Cardinal Health 105, Inc.
In July 2018, we entered into a Distribution Agreement with Cardinal Health 105, Inc., or Cardinal Health. Under the Distribution Agreement, we are responsible for delivery of our products to Cardinal Health’s facilities, and Cardinal Health acts as the distribution agent and authorized distributor of record of our products to our customers, including, but not limited to, wholesalers, specialty distributors, physicians, clinics, hospitals, pharmacies and other healthcare providers in the United States. Under the Distribution Agreement, we provide Cardinal Health with forecasts of the volume of our products to be handled and distributed by Cardinal Health. We make payments to Cardinal Health for its distribution services pursuant to a fee schedule.
The initial term of the Distribution Agreement expired in August 2020. The Distribution Agreement is subject to automatic renewal for additional successive two-year terms unless we terminate the agreement upon 90 prior written days’ notice or Cardinal Health terminates the agreement upon written notice of non-renewal to us at least 180 days prior to the end of a term. Either party may terminate the Distribution Agreement upon (i) the other party’s entry into bankruptcy proceedings, receipt of a bankruptcy order that is not discharged within 30 days, or similar events, or (ii) a material breach by the other party that is not cured within 30 days after the non-breaching party gives written notice. Additionally, if we breach our payment obligations under the Distribution Agreement and such breach is not cured within 15 days after Cardinal Health provides written notice of non-payment, Cardinal Health may terminate the agreement upon 90 days’ prior written notice.
Protection of our intellectual property is a strategic priority for our business. We rely on a combination of patents, trademark, copyright, trade secret and other intellectual property rights protection and contractual restrictions to protect our proprietary technologies.
The patents owned and in-licensed by us are generally directed to the architecture of our ultrasonic imaging devices, our microfabricated ultrasonic transducers and machine learning for ultrasound applications. We have developed a portfolio of issued patents and pending patent applications directed to commercial products and technologies for potential development. We believe that our intellectual property is a core strength of our business, and our strategy includes the continued development of our patent portfolio.
Butterfly iQ, iQ+ and Related Technology
As of December 31, 2021, we owned approximately 418 issued patents and approximately 463 pending patent applications. Of our approximately 418 issued patents, approximately 106 were issued U.S. utility patents and approximately 33 were issued U.S. design patents. Of our approximately 463 pending patent applications, approximately 153 were pending U.S. utility patent applications and approximately 11 were pending U.S. design applications. In addition, as of December 31, 2021, we owned approximately 279 issued patents in foreign jurisdictions, including Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, and India, and approximately 299 pending patent applications in foreign jurisdictions, including Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea and India, corresponding to the foregoing. In total, as of December 31, 2021, we owned approximately 187 patent families generally directed to our ultrasound products, including manufacturing, circuit components, and add-on features. These issued patents and pending patent applications (if they were to be issued as patents) have expected expiration dates ranging between 2030 and 2042.
In addition to patents, we also rely on trade secrets, technical know-how and continuing innovation to develop and maintain our competitive position. We seek to protect our proprietary information and other intellectual property by generally requiring our employees, consultants, contractors, suppliers, outside scientific collaborators and other advisors to execute non-disclosure and assignment of invention agreements on commencement of their employment or engagement. Agreements with our employees also forbid them from using or incorporating the proprietary rights of third parties during their engagement with us. We also generally require confidentiality or material transfer agreements from third parties that receive our confidential data or materials.
We have entered into exclusive and non-exclusive licenses in the ordinary course of business relating to our technologies or other intellectual property rights or assets.
Exclusive (Equity) Agreement with Leland Stanford Junior University
In June 2013, we entered into an Exclusive (Equity) Agreement, or the Stanford Agreement, with the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University, or Stanford. Pursuant to the Stanford Agreement, Stanford granted us a co-exclusive, worldwide license to make, have made, use, import, offer to sell and sell products covered by patent rights to Stanford’s wafer bonding technology. The rights licensed to us are for ultrasound applications using the wafer bonding technology excluding certain applications, and the license remains exclusive, except for certain non-exclusive applications, until the earlier of December 23, 2023 or the seventh anniversary of the first sale of any product using the licensed technology, and thereafter will be nonexclusive until the last licensed patent expires. The last licensed patent is currently expected to expire in 2030. The rights licensed to us, except for the non-exclusive applications, are sublicensable during such exclusive term, subject to our continued development or sale of the products using the technology licensed under the agreement and, following the exclusive term, subject to Stanford’s prior approval. The Stanford Agreement outlines certain milestones to be met by us in connection with the development and sales of these products.
Under the terms of the Stanford Agreement, we paid a one-time, non-refundable upfront royalty fee. We are required to pay Stanford low single-digit royalties on all net sales of products that use the licensed technology, as well as a portion of any sublicensing revenues, during the term of the Stanford Agreement and if certain products using the licensed technology are made, used, imported, or offered for sale before the date the Stanford Agreement terminates, and those products are sold after the termination date, we will pay Stanford an earned royalty for our exercise of rights based on the net sales of those products. We are also obligated to pay Stanford annual license maintenance fees, which are fully creditable against any royalty payments made by us for such year. We are also required to provide Stanford with periodic reports documenting our progress toward the development and commercialization of products using the licensed technology. Stanford is responsible under the agreement for preparing, filing and prosecuting patent claims and for maintaining the patents pertaining to the licensed technology.
Stanford may terminate the agreement in the event that we are materially delinquent on any payment, fail to diligently develop and commercialize a product incorporating the licensed technology, materially miss a milestone under the agreement, are in material breach of any substantive provision under the agreement, or knowingly provide any false report or are materially delinquent on any report, in each case which is not remedied within cure period. In addition, if we are not diligently developing and commercializing such a product incorporating the licensed technology, materially miss a milestone or knowingly provide a false report or are delinquent on any report, and we do not cure, the agreement shall not terminate, but it remains subject to termination by Stanford and the license shall convert to a non-exclusive license. We may terminate the agreement at any time upon at least 30 days’ prior written notice. Upon termination of the agreement, all rights to the licensed technology revert to Stanford. Our obligation to pay royalties accrued or accruable survives any termination or expiration of the agreement.
The diagnostic medical devices that we manufacture and distribute are subject to regulation by numerous regulatory bodies, including the FDA and comparable international regulatory agencies. These agencies require manufacturers of medical devices to comply with applicable laws and regulations governing the development, testing, manufacturing, packaging, labeling, marketing and distribution of medical devices. Devices are generally subject to varying levels of regulatory control, the most comprehensive of which requires that a clinical evaluation program be conducted before a device can be approved for marketing and commercial distribution. In addition, healthcare regulatory bodies in the United States and around the world impose a range of requirements related to paying for medical devices and the procedures in which they are used, including laws intended to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse of healthcare dollars.
U.S. Laws and Regulations
At the federal level, our diagnostic ultrasound products and certain accessories are medical devices subject to extensive and ongoing regulation by the FDA. Under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, referred to as the FDCA, and its implementing regulations, the FDA regulates product design and development, nonclinical and clinical testing, pre-market clearance, authorization or approval, establishment registration and product listing, product manufacturing, product packaging and labeling, product storage, advertising and promotion, product distribution, recalls and field actions, servicing and post-market clinical surveillance. Some of our products are also subject to the Radiation Control for Health and Safety Act, administered by the FDA, which imposes performance standards and record keeping, reporting, product testing and product labeling requirements for electronic products that emit radiation, such as x-rays, although diagnostic ultrasound products like ours are subject only to a limited portion of those requirements. A number of U.S. states also impose licensing and compliance regimes on companies that manufacture or distribute prescription devices into or within the state.
In addition, the commercialization and use of our devices in the United States is subject to regulation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, and state agencies responsible for reimbursement and regulation of payment for health care items and services. Federal laws and regulations apply primarily in connection with government payer programs such as the Medicare and Medicaid programs, but state laws apply more broadly, encompassing health care items and services covered by private payers. At the state and federal level, the government’s interest is in regulating the quality and cost of health care and protecting the independent clinical judgment of licensed healthcare providers.
The FDA and the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, also regulate the advertising and promotion of our products to ensure that any claims made in commerce are consistent with the products’ regulatory clearances, that there is scientific data to substantiate the claims being made, that the advertising is neither false nor misleading, and that patient or physician testimonials or endorsements we or our agents disseminate comply with disclosure and other regulatory requirements. In general, medical device manufacturers and distributors may not promote or advertise their products for uses not within the scope of a given product’s intended use(s), make unsupported safety and effectiveness claims, or use third parties to make claims about the product that the manufacturer/distributor could not lawfully make itself.
FDA Regulation of Medical Devices
The FDA classifies medical devices into three classes based on risk. Regulatory control increases from Class I (lowest risk) to Class III (highest risk). The FDA generally must clear or approve the commercial sale of most new medical devices that fall within product categories designated as Class II and III. Commercial sales of Class II (except for Class II devices exempt from pre-market notification requirements) and Class III medical devices within the United States must be preceded either by a pre-market notification and clearance pursuant to Section 510(k) of the FDCA (Class II) or by the granting of a pre-market approval, or PMA, (Class III), after a pre-market application is submitted. Both 510(k) notifications and PMA applications must be submitted to FDA with user fees (approximately $13,000 for a 510(k) and approximately $375,000 for a PMA in FY 2022), although reduced fees for small businesses are available. Class I devices are generally exempt from pre-market review and notification, as are some moderate-risk Class II devices. All classes of devices must comply with FDA’s Quality System Regulation, or QSR, establishment registration, medical device listing, labeling requirements, and medical device reporting, or MDR, regulations, which are collectively referred to as device general controls. Class II devices may also be subject to special controls such as performance standards, post-market surveillance, FDA guidelines or particularized labeling. Some Class I and Class II devices may be exempted by regulation from the requirement of compliance with substantially all of the QSR.
A 510(k) pre-market notification must contain information sufficient to demonstrate that the new device is substantially equivalent to a device commercially distributed prior to May 28, 1976 or to a device that has been determined by the FDA to be substantially equivalent to such a so-called “pre-amendments” device. To obtain 510(k) clearance for a non-exempt Class II device, we must submit a pre-market notification to the FDA demonstrating that our product is substantially equivalent to such a predicate device. The FDA’s 510(k) clearance process generally takes from three to 12 months from the date the application is submitted, but it may take longer if the FDA has significant questions or needs more information about the new device or its manufacturing or quality controls.
As part of the 510(k) notification process for Class II devices like our iQ system, which has an existing classification regulation available for purposes of the regulatory filing, the FDA may require the following:
|●||Comprehensive product description and indications for use.|
|●||Extensive nonclinical tests and/or animal studies, performed in accordance with the FDA’s Good Laboratory Practice, or GLP, regulations, as well as any performance standards or other testing requirements established by FDA through regulations or device-specific guidance.|
|●||Comprehensive review of one or more predicate devices and development of data supporting the new product’s substantial equivalence to such predicate devices.|
Assuming successful completion of all required testing, a detailed 510(k) notification is submitted to the FDA requesting clearance to market the product. This pre-market notification includes all relevant data from pertinent pre-clinical and clinical trials (if applicable), together with detailed information relating to the product’s manufacturing controls and proposed labeling, and other relevant documentation. The FDA evaluates all 510(k) submissions prior to filing for full review based on specific acceptance criteria and may issue a refuse-to-accept notification if the submission is deficient with respect to any of the established criteria. If the FDA determines that the applicant’s device is substantially equivalent to the identified predicate device(s), the agency will issue a 510(k) clearance letter that authorizes commercial marketing of the device for one or more specific indications for use. If the FDA determines that the applicant’s device is not substantially equivalent to the predicate device(s), the agency will issue a not-substantially-equivalent letter stating that the new device may not be commercially distributed.
After a new medical device receives FDA 510(k) clearance, any modification that could significantly affect the device’s safety or effectiveness, or that would constitute a major change in its intended use, requires a new 510(k) clearance or could require the submission of a PMA. The FDA requires each manufacturer to make the determination of whether a device modification requires a new 510(k) notification or PMA in the first instance, but the FDA may review any such decision. If the FDA disagrees with a manufacturer’s decision not to seek a new 510(k) clearance or PMA for a particular change, the FDA may retroactively require the manufacturer to submit a 510(k) pre-market notification or a PMA. The FDA may also require the manufacturer to cease U.S. marketing and/or recall any distributed units of the modified device until 510(k) clearance or PMA approval for the modification is obtained.
If a previously unclassified new medical device does not qualify for the 510(k) pre-market notification process because no predicate device to which it is substantially equivalent can be identified, the device is automatically classified into Class III. However, if such a device would be considered low or moderate risk (in other words, it does not rise to the level of requiring the approval of a PMA), it may be eligible for the De Novo classification process. The De Novo classification process allows a device developer to request that the novel medical device be able to obtain marketing authorization as either a Class I or Class II device, rather than having it regulated as a high-risk Class III device subject to the PMA requirements. As with the 510(k) pre-market notification process described above, any modification to a device authorized through the De Novo process that could significantly affect the safety or effectiveness of such device, or that would constitute a major change in its intended use, requires a new 510(k) clearance or could require the submission of a PMA. De Novo classification requests are also subject to user fees, unless a specific exemption applies (over $112,000 in FY 2022).
In October 2021, the FDA issued a final rule that would formally codify requirements for the medical device De Novo process and the procedures and criteria for product developers to file a De Novo classification request (86 Fed. Reg. 54,826). Over the twenty years preceding the final rule, the De Novo process has been implemented by the FDA pursuant to statutory authorities and somewhat organically through informal guidance and iterative changes by Congress. Although the final rule does not affect marketed products such as our marketed products, the FDA’s goals in promulgating the final rule are to create a predictable, consistent and transparent De Novo classification process for innovative medical device developers.
As an alternative to the De Novo classification process, a company that develops or manufactures a novel device could also file a reclassification petition seeking to change the automatic Class III designation of the novel post-amendment device under Section 513(f)(3) of the FDCA. The FDA can also initiate reclassification of an existing device type on its own initiative. In December 2018, the FDA issued a final rule to clarify the administrative process through which the FDA reclassifies a medical device. To reclassify a device under section 513(e) of the FDCA, the FDA must first publish a proposed reclassification order that includes a summary of the valid scientific evidence that supports the reclassification; convene a device classification panel meeting; and consider comments to the public docket before it then publishes a final reclassification order in the Federal Register.
Our iQ and iQ+ probes have been classified and are regulated as Class II devices, although future products we develop may be classified as Class III devices and may require a PMA. A PMA application must be supported by valid scientific evidence, which typically requires extensive data, including technical, pre-clinical, clinical, manufacturing and labeling data, to demonstrate to the FDA’s satisfaction the safety and efficacy of the device for its intended use(s). A PMA application also must include a complete description of the device and
its components, a detailed description of the methods, facilities and controls used to manufacture the device, and proposed labeling. After a PMA application is submitted and found to be sufficiently complete, it is considered “filed” and the FDA begins an in-depth review of the submitted information. During this substantive review period, the FDA may request additional information or clarification of information already provided. Also during the review period, an advisory panel of experts from outside the FDA may be convened to review and evaluate the application and provide recommendations to the FDA. In addition, the FDA generally will conduct a pre-approval inspection of the manufacturing facility to evaluate compliance with the QSR, which requires manufacturers to implement and follow design, testing, control, documentation and other quality assurance procedures.
FDA review of a PMA application is required to be completed within 180 days of the application’s filing date although in some cases approval may take significantly longer. The current user fee agreement between the FDA and the medical device industry sets as a target that PMA reviews be completed in under one year. The FDA can delay, limit or deny approval of a PMA application for many reasons, including:
|●||the product may not be safe or effective for its intended use(s) to the FDA’s satisfaction;|
|●||the data from the applicant’s nonclinical studies and clinical trials may be insufficient to support approval;|
|●||the manufacturing process or facilities that the applicant uses may not meet applicable requirements; and|
|●||changes in the FDA approval policies or adoption of new regulations may require additional data to demonstrate the safety or effectiveness of the device.|
If an FDA evaluation of a PMA application or manufacturing facility is favorable, the FDA will generally issue an “approval letter,” which usually contains a number of conditions that must be met in order to secure final approval of the PMA. When and if those conditions have been met to the satisfaction of the FDA, the agency will issue a PMA approval letter authorizing commercial marketing of a device, subject to the conditions of approval and the limitations established in the approval letter. If the FDA’s evaluation of a PMA application or manufacturing facility is not favorable, the FDA will deny approval of the PMA or issue a “not approvable letter.” The FDA may also determine that additional trials are necessary, in which case the PMA approval may be delayed for several months or years while such additional trials are conducted and data is submitted in an amendment to the PMA. The PMA process can be expensive, uncertain and lengthy. PMA approval may also be granted with post-approval requirements such as the need for additional patient follow-up for an indefinite period of time.
New PMA applications or PMA supplements may be required for any modifications to the manufacturing process, labeling, device specifications, materials or design of a device that is approved through the PMA process. PMA supplements often require submission of the same type of information as an initial PMA application, except that the supplements are limited to information needed to support any changes from the device covered by the approved PMA application and may or may not require as extensive clinical data or the convening of an advisory panel.
Clinical trials are almost always required to support a PMA application and are sometimes required for a 510(k) pre-market notification. In order to conduct a clinical investigation involving human subjects for the purpose of demonstrating the safety and effectiveness of a medical device, a company must, among other things, apply for and obtain institutional review board, or IRB, approval of the proposed investigation. In addition, if the clinical study involves a “significant risk” (as defined by the FDA) to human health, the sponsor of the investigation must also submit and obtain FDA approval of an investigational device exemption, or IDE, application. An 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 application must be approved in advance by the FDA for a specified number of study participants, unless the product is deemed a non-significant risk device and eligible for abbreviated IDE requirements. Generally, clinical trials for a significant risk device may begin once the IDE application is approved by the FDA and the study protocol and informed consent are approved by a duly-appointed IRB for each clinical trial site. The FDA’s approval of an IDE allows clinical testing to go forward, but does not bind the FDA to accept the results of the trial as sufficient to prove the product’s safety and efficacy, even if the trial meets its intended success criteria. All clinical trials must be conducted in accordance with the FDA’s IDE regulations, which govern investigational device labeling, prohibit promotion, and specify an array of Good Clinical Practice, or GCP, requirements, which include, among other things, recordkeeping, reporting and monitoring responsibilities of study sponsors and study investigators. Clinical trials must further comply with the FDA’s regulations for IRB approval and for informed consent and other human subject protections. Required records and reports are subject to inspection by the FDA. The results of clinical testing may be unfavorable or,
even if the intended safety and efficacy success criteria are achieved, may not be considered sufficient for the FDA to grant approval or clearance of a product.
The commencement or completion of any of our clinical trials may be delayed or halted, or may be inadequate to support approval of a PMA application (or clearance of a 510(k) notification or grant of a De Novo classification request, as applicable), for numerous reasons, including, but not limited to, the following:
|●||the FDA, the IRB(s), or other regulatory authorities may not approve a clinical trial protocol or a clinical trial, or may place a clinical trial on hold;|
|●||participants may not enroll in clinical trials at the rate we anticipate;|
|●||participants may not comply with trial protocols;|
|●||participant follow-up may not occur at the rate we anticipate;|
|●||patients may experience adverse side effects;|
|●||participants may die during a clinical trial, even though their death may not be related to the use of our products;|
|●||IRBs and third-party clinical investigators may delay or reject our trial protocol;|
|●||third-party clinical investigators may decline to participate in a trial or may not perform a trial on our anticipated schedule or consistent with the clinical trial protocol, GCPs or other FDA requirements;|
|●||we or third-party organizations may not perform data collection, monitoring and analysis in a timely or accurate manner or consistent with the clinical trial protocol or investigational or statistical plans;|
|●||third-party clinical investigators may have significant financial interests related to us or the study that the FDA deems sufficient to make the study results unreliable, or we or investigators fail to disclose such interests;|
|●||any unfavorable regulatory inspections of our clinical trial sites or manufacturing facilities, which may, among other things, require us to undertake corrective action or suspend or terminate our clinical trials;|
|●||the interim or final results of the clinical trial may be inconclusive or unfavorable as to safety or effectiveness; and|
|●||the FDA may conclude that the results from our trial and/or trial design are inadequate to demonstrate safety and effectiveness of the product.|
In 2017, we received 510(k) clearance from the FDA for our iQ probe, and the FDA determined, following a 2020 pre-submission meeting with us, that the Butterfly iQ+ was eligible to be marketed under the original 510(k).
In addition, our proprietary software and data transfer service allows researchers to control the transfer of data from certain devices to research tools and databases according to their own research workflows. The infrastructure of the data management service is considered a “medical device data system”, or MDDS, and does not require 510(k) clearance. An MDDS is a hardware or software product that transfers, stores, converts, formats, and displays medical device data. An MDDS does not modify the data or modify the display of the data, and it does not by itself control the functions or parameters of any other medical device. An MDDS is not intended to be used for active patient monitoring. Software that meets the definition of an MDDS (such as that comprising our service offering) is excluded from the definition of “device” under the FDCA, and from the regulations applicable to devices, while hardware that meets the definition of an MDDS is generally classified as a low-risk, Class I device product that is exempt from pre-market review and notification.
After a device is authorized for marketing and placed in commercial distribution (or, for 510(k)-exempt products, placed into commerce without first obtaining FDA clearance or approval), numerous regulatory requirements continue to apply to the device. All device classes must meet general regulatory controls, including:
|●||establishment registration and device listing;|
|●||the QSR, which requires manufacturers to follow design, testing, control, storage, supplier/contractor selection, complaint handling, documentation and other quality assurance procedures;|
|●||labeling regulations, which govern the mandatory elements of the device labels and packaging (including Unique Device Identifier markings for certain categories of products);|
|●||the MDR regulations, which require that manufacturers report to the FDA if a 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 it were to recur;|
|●||voluntary and mandatory device recalls to address problems when a device is defective and/or could be a risk to health; and|
|●||correction and removal reporting regulations, which require that manufacturers report to the FDA field corrections and product recalls or removals if undertaken to reduce a risk to health posed by the device or to remedy a violation of the FDCA that may present a risk to health.|
The FDA’s MDR requirements also extend to healthcare facilities that use medical devices in providing care to patients, or “device user facilities,” which include hospitals, ambulatory surgical facilities, nursing homes, outpatient diagnostic facilities, or outpatient treatment facilities, but not physician offices. A device user facility must report any device-related death to both the FDA and the device manufacturer, or any device-related serious injury to the manufacturer (or, if the manufacturer is unknown, to the FDA) within 10 days of the event. Device user facilities are not required to report device malfunctions that would likely cause or contribute to death or serious injury if the malfunction were to recur but may voluntarily report such malfunctions through MedWatch, the FDA’s Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program.
In addition, the FDA may require us to conduct post-market surveillance studies or order us to establish and maintain a system for tracking our products through the chain of distribution to the patient level. Failure to comply with applicable regulatory requirements, including those applicable to the conduct of our clinical trials, can result in enforcement action by the FDA, which may lead to any of the following sanctions:
|●||Warning Letters or Untitled Letters that require corrective action;|
|●||fines and civil penalties;|
|●||delays in approving/clearing or refusal to approve/clear our future products;|
|●||FDA refusal to issue certificates to foreign governments needed to export our products for sale in other countries;|
|●||suspension or withdrawal of FDA approval or clearance;|
|●||product recall or seizure;|
|●||interruption of production;|
We and our contract manufacturers, specification developers, and some suppliers of components or device accessories are also required to manufacture medical device products in compliance with current Good Manufacturing Practice requirements set forth in the QSR, unless explicitly exempted by regulation. The QSR requires a quality system for the design, manufacture, packaging, labeling, storage, installation and servicing of marketed devices, and includes extensive requirements with respect to quality management and organization, device design, buildings, equipment, purchase and handling of components or services, production and process controls, packaging and labeling controls, device evaluation, distribution, installation, complaint handling, servicing, and record keeping. The FDA evaluates compliance with the QSR through periodic pre-scheduled or unannounced inspections that may include the manufacturing facilities of our subcontractors. Following such inspections, the FDA may issue reports known as Forms FDA 483 or Notices of Inspectional Observations, which list instances where the FDA inspector believes the manufacturer has failed to comply with applicable regulations and/or procedures. If the observations are sufficiently serious or the manufacturer fails to respond appropriately, the FDA may issue Warning Letters, which are notices of intended enforcement actions against the manufacturer. For less serious violations that may not rise to the level of regulatory significance, the FDA may issue Untitled Letters. The FDA may take more significant administrative or legal action if a manufacturer continues to be in substantial noncompliance with applicable regulations.
For example, if the FDA believes we or any of our contract manufacturers or regulated suppliers are not in compliance with these requirements and patients are being subjected to serious risks, it can shut down our manufacturing operations, require recalls of our products, refuse to approve new marketing applications, initiate legal proceedings to detain or seize products, enjoin future violations, or assess civil and criminal penalties against us or our officers or other employees. Any such action by the FDA would have a material adverse effect on our business. We may be unable to comply with all applicable FDA regulations.
U.S. Fraud and Abuse Laws and Other Compliance Requirements
Successfully commercializing a medical device or technology depends not only on FDA approval, but also on broad health insurance or third-party payor coverage. Government and private payors institute coverage criteria to ensure the appropriate utilization of products and services and to control costs. Limited third party payor coverage for a technology or procedure may limit adoption and commercial viability, while broader coverage supports optimal market uptake. Favorable coverage decisions by government payors like Medicare or Medicaid are critical because private payors typically follow the government’s lead regarding reimbursement. However, manufacturers whose technology is reimbursed by government payors are subject to various U.S. federal and state laws pertaining to healthcare fraud and abuse. These laws can be implicated by inappropriate sales and marketing arrangements with healthcare providers. Many commonly accepted commercial practices are illegal in the healthcare industry and violations of these laws are punishable by criminal and civil sanctions, including, in some instances, exclusion from participation in U.S. federal and state healthcare programs, including Medicare and Medicaid.
Anti-kickback Laws. The federal Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits persons from knowingly and willfully soliciting, receiving, offering or providing remuneration directly or indirectly to induce either the referral of an individual, or the furnishing, recommending, or arranging of a good or service, for which payment may be made under a federal healthcare program such as Medicare and Medicaid. The definition of “remuneration” has been broadly interpreted to include anything of value, including such items as gifts, discounts, the furnishing of supplies or equipment, credit arrangements, waiver of payments, and providing anything at less than its fair market value. The Department of Health and Human Services — Office of the Inspector General, has issued regulations, commonly known as safe harbors, which set forth certain provisions that, if satisfied in their entirety, will assure healthcare providers and other parties that they will not be prosecuted under the federal Anti-Kickback Statute. The failure of a transaction or arrangement to fit precisely within one or more safe harbors does not necessarily mean that it is illegal or that prosecution will be pursued. However, conduct and business arrangements that do not fully satisfy each applicable safe harbor element may result in increased scrutiny by government enforcement authorities or invite litigation by private citizens under federal whistleblower laws. The Anti-Kickback Statute is broadly interpreted and aggressively enforced, with the result that beneficial commercial arrangements can be criminalized in the healthcare industry because of the Anti-Kickback Statute.
The penalties for violating the federal Anti-Kickback Statute include imprisonment for up to ten years, fines of up to $100,000 per violation and possible exclusion from federal healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. Many states have adopted prohibitions similar to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, some of which apply to the referral of patients for healthcare services reimbursed by any source, not only by the government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.
Federal False Claims Act. The federal False Claims Act prohibits knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented, a false claim, or the knowing use of false statements or records to obtain payment from the federal government. When an entity is determined to have violated the False Claims Act, it must pay three times the actual damages sustained by the government, plus mandatory civil penalties of between $5,000 and $10,000, with penalties adjusted for inflation annually, for each separate false claim. Suits filed under the False Claims Act, known as “qui tam” actions, can be brought by any individual on behalf of the government and such individuals (known as “relators” or, more commonly, “whistleblowers”) may share in any amounts paid by the entity to the government in fines or settlement. In addition, certain states have enacted laws modeled after the federal False Claims Act. Qui tam actions have increased significantly in recent years, causing greater numbers of healthcare companies to have to defend a false claim action, even before the validity of the claim is established and even if the government decides not to intervene in the lawsuit. Healthcare companies may decide to agree to large settlements with the government and/or whistleblowers to avoid the cost and negative publicity associated with litigation. In addition, the Affordable Care Act amended federal law to provide that a violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute constitutes a false or fraudulent claim for purposes of the federal civil False Claims Act. Criminal prosecution is possible for knowingly making or presenting a false or fictitious or fraudulent claim to the federal government.
Federal Physician Self-Referral Law. The Federal Physician Self-Referral Law, also referred to as the Stark Law, prohibits a physician (or an immediate family member of a physician) who has a financial relationship with an entity from referring patients to that entity for
certain designated health services, including durable medical equipment and supplies, payable by Medicare, unless an exception applies. The Stark Law also prohibits such an entity from presenting or causing to be presented a claim to the Medicare program for such designated health services provided pursuant to a prohibited referral, and provides that certain collections related to any such claims must be refunded in a timely manner. Exceptions to the Stark Law include, among other things, exceptions for certain financial relationships, including both ownership and compensation arrangements. The Stark Law is a strict liability statute: to the extent that the statute is implicated and an exception does not apply, the statute is violated. In addition to the Stark Law, many states have implemented similar physician self-referral prohibitions that may extend to Medicaid, third party payors, and self-pay patients. Violations of the Stark Law must be reported and unauthorized claims must be refunded to Medicare in order to avoid potential liability under the federal False Claims Act for avoiding a known obligation to return identified overpayments. Violations of the Stark Law, the Anti-Kickback Statute, the Civil Monetary Penalties Law and/or the federal False Claims Act can also form the basis for exclusion from participation in federal and state healthcare programs.
Civil Monetary Penalties Law. The Civil Monetary Penalties Law, or CMPL, authorizes the imposition of substantial civil money penalties against an entity that engages in certain prohibited activities including but not limited to violations of the Stark Law or Anti-Kickback Statute, knowing submission of a false or fraudulent claim, employment of an excluded individual, and the provision or offer of anything of value to a Medicare or Medicaid beneficiary that the transferring party knows or should know is likely to influence beneficiary selection of a particular provider for which payment may be made in whole or part by a federal health care program, commonly known as the Beneficiary Inducement CMP. Remuneration is defined under the CMPL as any transfer of items or services for free or for less than fair market value. There are certain exceptions to the definition of remuneration for offerings that meet the Financial Need, Preventative Care, or Promoting Access to Care exceptions (as defined in the CMPL). Sanctions for violations of the CMPL include civil monetary penalties and administrative penalties up to and including exclusion from participation in federal health care programs.
State Analogs of Federal Fraud and Abuse Laws. Many U.S. states have their own laws intended to protect against fraud and abuse in the healthcare industry and more broadly. In some cases these laws prohibit or regulate additional conduct beyond what federal law affects. Penalties for violating these laws can range from fines to criminal sanctions.
HIPAA and Other Privacy Laws and Regulations. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, as amended by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and implementing regulations, or HIPAA, created two new federal crimes: healthcare fraud and false statements relating to healthcare matters. The healthcare fraud statute prohibits knowingly and willfully executing a scheme to defraud any healthcare benefit program, including private payors. A violation of this statute is a felony and may result in fines, imprisonment or exclusion from government sponsored programs. The false statements statute prohibits knowingly and willfully falsifying, concealing or covering up a material fact or making any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement in connection with the delivery of or payment for healthcare benefits, items or services.
HIPAA, as well as a number of other federal and state privacy-related laws, extensively regulate the use and disclosure of individually identifiable health information, known as “protected health information”, or PHI, under HIPAA. HIPAA applies to health plans, healthcare providers who engage in certain standard healthcare transactions electronically, such as electronic billing, and healthcare clearinghouses, all of which are referred to as “covered entities” under HIPAA. HIPAA requires covered entities to comply with privacy regulations limiting the use and disclosure of PHI, or the Privacy Rule, and security regulations that require the implementation of administrative, physical and technical safeguards to protect the security of such information, or the Security Rule. HIPAA also requires covered entities to provide notification to affected individuals and to the federal government in the event of a breach of unsecured PHI, or the Breach Notification Rule. Certain provisions of the Privacy Rule and all provisions of the Security Rule apply to “business associates,” or organizations that provide services to covered entities involving the use or disclosure of PHI. Business associates, like us, are subject to direct liability for violation of these provisions. In addition, a covered entity may be subject to criminal and civil penalties as a result of a business associate violating HIPAA, if the business associate is found to be an agent of the covered entity. The HIPAA privacy and security rule impose and will continue to impose significant costs on us in order to comply with these standards.
In addition, certain states have proposed or enacted legislation that will create new data privacy and security obligations for certain entities, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act that went into effect January 1, 2020.
FCPA and Other Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Laws. The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, prohibits U.S. corporations and their representatives from offering, promising, authorizing or making payments to any foreign government official, government staff member, political party or political candidate in an attempt to obtain or retain business abroad. The scope of the FCPA includes
interactions with certain healthcare professionals or organizations in many countries. Our present and future business has been and will continue to be subject to various other U.S. and foreign laws, rules and/or regulations.
Physician Payment Sunshine Act. Pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that was signed into law in March 2010, the federal government enacted the Physician Payment Sunshine Act. As a manufacturer of U.S. FDA-regulated devices reimbursable by federal healthcare programs, we are subject to this law, which requires us to track and annually report certain payments and other transfers of value that we make to U.S.-licensed physicians (defined broadly to include doctors, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists, chiropractors and certain advanced non-physician health care practitioners) or U.S. teaching hospitals. We are also required to report certain ownership interests held by physicians and their immediate family members. The HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has the potential to impose penalties of up to $1.15 million per year, with penalties adjusted for inflation annually, for violations of the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, depending on the circumstances, and payments reported also have the potential to draw scrutiny on payments to and relationships with physicians, which may have implications under the Anti-Kickback Statute, Stark Law and other healthcare laws.
In addition, there has been a recent trend of increased federal and state regulation of payments and other transfers of value provided to healthcare professionals and entities. Similar to the federal law, certain states also have adopted marketing and/or transparency laws relevant to device manufacturers, some of which are broader in scope. Certain states also mandate that device manufacturers implement compliance programs. Other states impose restrictions on device manufacturer marketing practices and require tracking and reporting of gifts, compensation, and other remuneration to healthcare professionals and entities. The need to build and maintain a robust compliance program with different compliance and/or reporting requirements increases the possibility that a healthcare company may violate one or more of the requirements, resulting in fines and penalties.
International Laws and Regulations
International marketing and distribution of medical devices are subject to regulation by foreign governments, and such regulations may vary substantially from country to country. The time required to obtain marketing authorization in a foreign country may be longer or shorter than that required for FDA clearance or approval, and the requirements may differ. There is a trend towards harmonization of quality system standards among the European Union, or EU, United States, Canada and various other industrialized countries.
The primary regulatory environment in Europe is that of the European Economic Area, or EEA, which is comprised of the 27 Member States of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. In the EEA, medical devices currently are required to comply with the Essential Requirements defined in Annex I to the EU Medical Devices Directive, or MDD, (applicable in the non-EU EEA Member States via the Agreement on the EEA), a coordinated system for the authorization of medical devices. The directives and standards outlined in the MDD regulate the design, manufacture, clinical trials, labeling and adverse event reporting for medical devices. Devices that comply with the requirements of a relevant directive are entitled to bear the CE conformity marking, indicating that the device conforms to the essential requirements of the applicable directives and, accordingly, can be commercially distributed throughout the EEA. The method of assessing conformity varies depending on the class of the product, but normally involves a combination of self-assessment by the manufacturer and a third-party assessment by a “notified body.” A notified body is an organization designated by an EU country to assess the conformity of certain products before being placed on the market. These bodies carry out tasks related to conformity assessment procedures set out in the applicable legislation, when a third party is required. This third-party assessment may consist of an audit of the manufacturer’s quality system and specific testing of the manufacturer’s product. An assessment by a notified body of one country within the EU is required in order for a manufacturer to commercially distribute the product throughout the EU.
In 2017, EU regulatory bodies finalized a new Medical Device Regulation, which replaced the existing MDD framework and provided three years for transition and compliance, for a final effective date of May 26, 2020. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the European Parliament voted in April 2020 to postpone implementation of the Medical Device Regulation by one year, giving the medical device industry and notified bodies until May 26, 2021 to come into compliance. The Medical Device Regulation changes several aspects of the existing regulatory framework for medical device marketing in Europe and is expected to result in increased regulatory oversight of all medical devices marketed in the EU, which may, in turn, increase the costs, time and requirements that need to be met in order to place an innovative or high-risk medical device on the European market. European medical device manufacturers and distributors are currently benefiting from a grace period for legacy MDD certificates that lasts until May 26, 2024. For a product to qualify for the grace period, there must be no significant changes to such a legacy medical device as described in its existing MDD certificate; the recertification process under the Medical Device Regulation requires a demonstration that the performance and the safety of the currently marketed medical device has been maintained and that the system meets the new regulatory requirements.
Outside of the EU, regulatory authorization needs to be sought on a country-by-country basis in order for us to market our products. Some countries have adopted medical device regulatory regimes, such as the Classification Rules for Medical Devices published by the Hong Kong Department of Health, the Health Sciences Authority of Singapore regulation of medical devices under the Health Products Act, and Health Canada’s risk classification system for invasive devices, among others. Each country may have its own processes and requirements for medical device licensing, approval/clearance, and regulation, therefore requiring us to seek marketing authorizations on a country-by-country basis.
Moreover, as discussed further below, the United Kingdom left the EU on January 31, 2020, with a transitional period that expired on December 31, 2020. The United Kingdom and the EU entered into a trade agreement known as the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), which came into effect on January 1, 2021. The TCA does not specifically refer to medical devices. However, as a result of Brexit, the Medical Device Regulation will not be implemented in the UK, and previous legislation that mirrored the Medical Device Regulation in the UK law has been revoked. The regulatory regime for medical devices in the UK will continue to be based on the requirements derived from EU legislation as of January 21, 2020, and the UK may choose to retain regulatory flexibility or align with the Medical Device Regulation going forward. CE markings will continue to be recognized in the UK, and certificates issued by EU recognized Notified Bodies will be valid in the UK, until June 30, 2023. For medical devices placed on the UK market after this period, the UK Conformity Assessment, or UKCA, marking will be mandatory. In contrast, UKCA marking and certificates issued by UK Notified Bodies will not be recognized on the EU market. The TCA does provide for cooperation and exchange of information in the area of product safety and compliance, including market surveillance, enforcement activities and measures, standardization related activities, exchanges of officials, and coordinated product recalls (or other similar actions). Depending on which countries products will ultimately be sold in, manufacturers may start seeking alternative sources for components if this would allow them to benefit from no tariffs. The rules for placing medical devices on the Northern Ireland market will differ from those in the UK.
Outside the United States, a range of anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws, as well as some industry-specific laws and codes of conduct, apply to the medical device industry and interactions with government officials and entities and healthcare professionals. Such laws include, but are not limited to the UK Bribery Act of 2010. Further, the EU member countries have emphasized a greater focus on healthcare fraud and abuse and have indicated greater attention to the industry by the European Anti-Fraud Office. Countries in Asia have also become more active in their enforcement of anti-bribery laws and with respect to procurement and supply chain fraud.
In the EU, increasingly stringent data protection and privacy rules that have and will continue to have substantial impact on the use of patient data across the healthcare industry became stronger in May 2018. We are subject to, and work to maintain compliance with, the EU General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. The GDPR applies across the EU and includes, among other things, a requirement for prompt notice of data breaches to data subjects and supervisory authorities in certain circumstances and significant fines for non-compliance. The GDPR fine framework can be up to 20 million euros, or up to 4% of the company’s total global turnover of the preceding fiscal year, whichever is higher. The GDPR sets out a number of requirements that must be complied with when handling the personal data of such EU-based data subjects, including: providing expanded disclosures about how their personal data will be used; higher standards for organizations to demonstrate that they have obtained valid consent or have another legal basis in place to justify their data processing activities; the obligation to appoint data protection officers in certain circumstances; new rights for individuals to be “forgotten” and rights to data portability, as well as enhanced current rights (e.g., access requests); the principle of accountability and demonstrating compliance through policies, procedures, training and audit; and the new mandatory data breach regime. In particular, medical or health data, genetic data and biometric data where the latter is used to uniquely identify an individual are all classified as “special category” data under the GDPR and are afforded greater protection and require additional compliance obligations. Noncompliance could result in the imposition of fines, penalties, or orders to stop noncompliant activities. Due to the strong consumer protection aspects of the GDPR, companies subject to its purview must allocate substantial legal costs to the development of necessary policies and procedures and overall compliance efforts. We expect to incur continued costs associated with maintaining compliance with GDPR into the future.
We will also be subject to evolving EU laws on data export, where we transfer data outside the EU to ourselves, group companies or third parties. The GDPR only permits exports of data outside the EU to jurisdictions that ensure an adequate level of data protection. The United States has not been deemed to offer an adequate level of protection, so in order for us to transfer personal data from the EU to the United States, we must identify a legal basis for data transfer (e.g., the EU Commission approved Standard Contractual Clauses). On July 16, 2020, the Court of Justice of the EU, or CJEU, issued a landmark opinion in the case Maximilian Schrems vs. Facebook (Case C-311/18), or Schrems II. This decision (a) calls into question commonly relied upon data transfer mechanisms as between the EU member states and the United States (such as the Standard Contractual Clauses) and (b) invalidates the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield on which many companies had relied as an acceptable mechanism for transferring such data from the EU to the United States. The CJEU
is the highest court in Europe and the Schrems II decision heightens the burden on data importers to assess U.S. national security laws on their business and future actions of EU data protection authorities are difficult to predict. Consequently, it is an ongoing challenge for data importers like us to identify compliant methods of data transfers necessary for their businesses. There is some risk of data transfers from the EU being halted.
Further, as a result of the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the EU, there has been some uncertainty with regard to data protection regulation in the United Kingdom. While the Data Protection Act of 2018 that “implements” and complements the GDPR achieved Royal Assent on May 23, 2018 and is now effective in the United Kingdom, it was not clear whether a transfer of data from the EEA to the United Kingdom would remain lawful under GDPR as of the end of a Brexit transition period on December 31, 2020, when the United Kingdom was treated as a third country for purposes of the GDPR (and other EU laws). On December 24, 2020, the United Kingdom and the EU reached an agreement in principle on the EU-UK Trade Agreement, or the Trade Agreement. Under the Trade Agreement, for data protection purposes, there is a new transition period of up to six months to enable the European Commission to complete an adequacy assessment of the United Kingdom’s data protection laws. For the time being, personal data can continue to be exported from the EEA to the United Kingdom without a requirement that additional safeguards be adopted, and such transfers will not be prohibited by the GDPR. The new transition period began on January 1, 2021, and ends either (1) on the date which an adequacy decision in relation to the United Kingdom is adopted by the European Commission under the GDPR, or (2) four months after January 1, 2021, which the GDPR shall be extended by two months unless either the EU or the United Kingdom objects. If the European Commission does not reach an adequacy determination regarding United Kingdom data protection laws, transfers of personal data from the EU to the United Kingdom will be prohibited under the GDPR unless EU data exporters take further steps to ensure adequacy for such EU personal data.
We currently maintain our executive offices at 530 Old Whitfield Street, Guilford, Connecticut. In addition, during fiscal year 2021, we signed a lease for office space in Burlington, Massachusetts for our corporate headquarters. The Burlington, Massachusetts operating lease expires in 2032. The lease is for approximately 61,138 rentable square feet consisting of the entire building located at 1600 District Avenue. In addition to serving as our corporate headquarters, the office will also support our sales, marketing, research and development and other general and administrative functions. We expect to begin occupying the Burlington, Massachusetts office space in the first half of fiscal year 2022.
We also occupy other office space domestically in New York, New York, Guilford, Connecticut and Palo Alto, California. We also occupy office space internationally in Taiwan. We lease the office space under operating leases. We consider our current office space adequate for our current operations.
On February 16, 2022, a putative class action lawsuit, styled Rose v. Butterfly Network, Inc., et al. (Case 2:22-cv-00854) was filed in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey against the Company, its President and Chief Executive Officer, its Chief Financial Officer, the Chairman of its board of directors, as well as Longview’s Chairman (who is a director of the Company), Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and members of Longview’s board of directors prior to the Business Combination, alleging violations of Sections 10(b), 14(a) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and Rules 10b-5 and 14a-9 promulgated thereunder. The alleged class consists of all persons or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired the Company’s stock between February 16, 2021 and November 15, 2021 and/or holders as of the record date for the special meeting of shareholders held on February 12, 2021 in connection with the approval of the Business Combination. The lawsuit is premised upon allegations that the defendants made false and misleading statements and/or omissions about its post-Business Combination business and financial prospects, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Company intends to vigorously defend against this action. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, together with interest thereon, as well as the costs and expenses of litigation. There is no assurance that the Company will be successful in the defense of the litigation or that insurance will be available or adequate to fund any potential settlement or judgment or the litigation costs of the action. The Company is unable to predict the outcome or reasonably estimate a range of possible loss at this time.
Information Available on the Internet
Our internet address is https://www.butterflynetwork.com, to which we regularly post copies of our press releases as well as additional information about us. Our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and all amendments to those reports, will be available to you free of charge through the Investors section of our website as soon as reasonably practicable after such materials have been electronically filed with, or furnished to, the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Securities and Exchange Commission maintains an internet site (http://www.sec.gov) that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the Securities and Exchange Commission or the SEC. We include our web site address in this prospectus only as an inactive textual reference. Information contained in our website does not constitute a part of this prospectus or our other filings with the SEC.
The following discussion and analysis should be read together with our audited consolidated financial statements as of December 31, 2021 and 2020 and for the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019, together with the related notes to those statements, included elsewhere in this prospectus. The discussion and analysis should also be read with the section entitled “Business.” The following discussion contains forward-looking statements. Our actual results may differ significantly from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Factors that might cause future results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, those discussed in the sections entitled “Risk Factors” and “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements.” Certain amounts may not foot due to rounding. Actual results may differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements.
We are an innovative digital health business transforming care with hand-held, whole body ultrasound. Powered by our proprietary Ultrasound-on-Chip™ technology, our solution enables the acquisition of imaging information from an affordable, powerful device that fits in a healthcare professional’s pocket with a unique combination of cloud-connected software and hardware technology that is easily accessed through a mobile app.
Butterfly iQ+ is an ultrasound transducer that can perform whole-body imaging in a single handheld probe using semiconductor technology. Our Ultrasound-on-Chip™ makes ultrasound more accessible outside of large healthcare institutions, while our software is intended to make the product easy to use and fully integrated with the clinical workflow, accessible on a user’s smartphone, tablet, and almost any hospital computer system connected to the Internet. Butterfly aims to enable the delivery of imaging information anywhere at point-of-care to drive earlier detection throughout the body and remote management of health conditions. We market and sell the Butterfly system, which includes probes and related accessories and software subscriptions, to healthcare systems, physicians and healthcare providers through a direct sales force, distributors and our eCommerce channel.
On February 12, 2021 we completed the business combination with Longview (the “Business Combination”) pursuant to the terms of the Business Combination Agreement, dated as of November 19, 2020 (the “Business Combination Agreement”), by and among Longview Acquisition Corp. (“Longview” or “the Company”), Clay Merger Sub, Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Merger Sub”), and Butterfly Network, Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Legacy Butterfly”). The Business Combination was approved by Longview’s stockholders at its special meeting held on February 12, 2021. The transaction resulted in the Company being renamed to "Butterfly Network, Inc.," Legacy Butterfly being renamed “BFLY Operations, Inc.” and the Company’s Class A common stock and warrants to purchase Class A common stock commencing trading on the New York Stock Exchange ("NYSE") on February 16, 2021 under the symbol "BFLY" and “BFLY WS”, respectively. As a result of the Business Combination, we received gross proceeds of approximately $589 million.
The COVID-19 pandemic that began in 2020 has created significant global economic uncertainty. Uncertainty remains regarding the extent, timing and duration of the pandemic, including the emergence of new strains of the virus that may be more contagious or virulent and the extent to which the availability of vaccines and other safety measures will positively impact public health conditions. The uncertainty and potential economic volatility impact our customer base, supply chains, business practices and employees.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact have caused financial strain on our customer base due to decreased funding and other revenue shortfalls. With the recent Delta and Omicron variant waves of infections, we have seen our customer base become further strained in solving immediate problems associated with the variants. As a result, some of our customers have had to shift their attention to these pressing issues, resulting in longer sales cycles and slower adoption in the near term.
In addition, the issues originally brought on by COVID-19 continue to have an ongoing adverse impact on global supply chains, including ours. We have experienced constraints in availability, increasing lead times and costs required to obtain some inventory components. We have and will continue to implement operating efficiencies in our supply chain and manufacturing processes to help offset the cost increases in component parts for our device.
The pandemic caused us to make modifications to our business practices, including work from home policies, establishing strict health and safety protocols for our offices specific to COVID-19 and imposing restrictions on employee travel. Our employees have resumed traveling to perform sales-generating and corporate activities, and we have opened our offices and have allowed employees at their discretion to return to our offices. We are designing and implementing a plan to allow employees to safely resume work in the office on a more regular basis.
We continue to closely monitor the developments of COVID-19 for any material impact on our business. Given the uncertainty and potential economic volatility of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the recent developments we have experienced may change based on new information that may emerge concerning COVID-19, the actions to contain it or address its impact and its economic impact on local, regional, national and international markets.
Key Performance Metrics
We review the key performance measures discussed below to evaluate the business and measure performance, identify trends, formulate plans and make strategic decisions.
We define units fulfilled as the number of devices whereby control is transferred to a customer. We do not adjust this metric for returns as our volume of returns has historically been low. We view units fulfilled as a key indicator of the growth of our business. We believe that this metric is useful to investors because it presents our core growth and performance of our business period over period.
Units fulfilled decreased by 839, or 11.1%, for the three months ended December 31, 2021 compared to the three months ended December 31, 2020, primarily caused by the positive impact of the launch of the Butterfly iQ+ and certain sales initiatives in the prior year period and slowing sales in our e-commerce channel. The decrease was partially offset by increased sales from our veterinary, distributor and direct sales force channels.
We define subscription mix as a percentage of our total revenue recognized in a reporting period that is subscription-based, consisting primarily of our software as a service (“SaaS”) offering. We view subscription mix as a key indicator of the profitability of our business, and thus we believe that this metric is useful to investors. Because the costs and associated expenses to deliver our subscription offerings
are lower as a percentage of sales than the costs of sales of our products, we believe a shift towards subscription will result in an improvement in profitability and margin expansion.
Subscription mix increased by 4.1 percentage points, to 24.1% for the three months ended December 31, 2021 compared to the three months ended December 31, 2020. The increase was due to an increased volume of units fulfilled and corresponding licenses sold since the prior year and current year subscription renewals, as well as the timing of revenue recognition for our SaaS and other subscription contracts and the timing of units fulfilled during the quarter. Revenue from such contracts is deferred and recognized over the service period.
Non-GAAP Financial Measures
We present non-GAAP financial measures in order to assist readers of our consolidated financial statements in understanding the core operating results that our management uses to evaluate the business and for financial planning purposes. Our non-GAAP financial measures, Adjusted Gross Profit, Adjusted Gross Margin and Adjusted EBITDA, provide an additional tool for investors to use in comparing our financial performance over multiple periods.
Adjusted Gross Profit, Adjusted Gross Margin and Adjusted EBITDA are key performance measures that our management uses to assess our operating performance. Adjusted Gross Profit, Adjusted Gross Margin and Adjusted EBITDA facilitate internal comparisons of our operating performance on a more consistent basis. We use these performance measures for business planning purposes and forecasting. We believe that Adjusted Gross Profit, Adjusted Gross Margin and Adjusted EBITDA enhance an investor’s understanding of our financial performance as they are useful in assessing our operating performance from period-to-period by excluding certain items that we believe are not representative of our core business.
Our Adjusted Gross Profit, Adjusted Gross Margin and Adjusted EBITDA may not be comparable to similarly titled measures of other companies because they may not calculate these measures in the same manner. Adjusted Gross Profit, Adjusted Gross Margin and Adjusted EBITDA are not prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP and should not be considered in isolation of, or as an alternative to, measures prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP. When evaluating our performance, you should consider Adjusted Gross Profit, Adjusted Gross Margin and Adjusted EBITDA alongside other financial performance measures prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP, including gross profit, gross margin, operating loss and net loss.
Adjusted Gross Profit and Adjusted Gross Margin
We calculate Adjusted Gross Profit as gross profit adjusted to exclude depreciation and amortization, non-recurring changes to our warranty liability, non-recurring losses on purchase commitments and non-recurring inventory write-downs. We calculate Adjusted
Gross Margin as gross margin adjusted to exclude depreciation and amortization, non-recurring changes to our warranty liability, non-recurring losses on purchase commitments and non-recurring inventory write-downs.
Our changes in the warranty liability are excluded from gross profit and gross margin when they are outside the normal course of operations for our business. The non-recurring warranty liability adjustments are for changes in our warranty policy resulting from a shift in product lines that impacted our estimate of future warranty costs.
We also exclude from gross profit and gross margin non-recurring losses on purchase commitments and non-recurring inventory write-downs when they are outside the normal course of business and in the period the expenses are incurred. The non-recurring losses on purchase commitments relate to inventory supply agreements where the expected losses exceed the benefit of the contracts, and the non-recurring inventory write-down adjustments are for excess and obsolete inventory resulting from a shift in product lines.
The following table reconciles Adjusted Gross Profit to gross profit and Adjusted Gross Margin to gross margin, the most directly comparable financial measures calculated and presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP:
Years ended December 31,
Cost of revenue
Depreciation and amortization
Warranty liability policy change
Loss on purchase commitments
Adjusted gross profit
Adjusted gross margin
We calculate Adjusted EBITDA as net loss adjusted to exclude interest income, interest expense, changes in the fair value of warrant liabilities, other expense, net, provision for income taxes, stock-based compensation, depreciation and amortization and other non-recurring items. The other non-recurring items include costs related to our executive transition, adjustments for the warranty liability policy changes, discretionary transaction bonuses, non-recurring losses on purchase commitments, non-recurring inventory write-downs and other fees incurred with the close of the Business Combination.
Our non-recurring discretionary bonuses are excluded from Adjusted EBITDA when they are outside the normal course of operations for our business and were given at the discretion of management due to the completion of the Business Combination. The non-recurring costs related to the executive transition include one-time severance and bonus payments and the recruiting expenses for our current CEO. The non-recurring warranty liability adjustments are for changes in our warranty policy resulting from a shift in product lines that impacted our estimate of future warranty costs. The non-recurring losses on purchase commitments relate to inventory supply agreements where the expected losses exceed the benefit of the contracts and the non-recurring inventory write-down adjustments are for excess and obsolete inventory resulting from a shift in product lines. The non-recurring impairment relates to other long term assets that are not expected to be utilized in subsequent periods.
The following table reconciles Adjusted EBITDA to net loss, the most directly comparable financial measure calculated and presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP:
Years ended December 31,
Change in fair value of warrant liabilities
Other expense, net
Provision for income taxes
Stock based compensation
Depreciation and amortization
CEO transition costs
Warranty liability policy change
Loss on purchase commitments
Description of Certain Components of Financial Data
Revenue consists of revenue from the sale of products, such as medical devices and accessories, and related services, classified as subscription revenue on our consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive loss, which are SaaS subscriptions and Support. SaaS subscriptions include licenses for teams and individuals as well as enterprise level subscriptions. For sales of products, which include the ultrasound devices and any ultrasound device accessories, revenue is recognized at a point in time upon transfer of control to the customer. SaaS subscriptions and Support are generally related to stand-ready obligations and are recognized ratably over time.
Over time as adoption of our devices increases through further market penetration and as practitioners in the Butterfly network continue to use our devices, we expect our annual revenue mix to shift more toward subscriptions. The quarterly revenue mix may be impacted by the timing of device sales.
Cost of revenue
Cost of product revenue consists of product costs including manufacturing costs, personnel costs and benefits, inbound freight, packaging, warranty replacement costs, payment processing fees and inventory obsolescence and write-offs. We expect our cost of product revenue to fluctuate over time due to the level of units fulfilled in any given period and decrease as a percentage of revenues over time as we focus on operational efficiencies in our supply chain and take appropriate pricing actions. Additionally, we expect there will continue to be supply constraints; our suppliers are continuing to raise prices and may continue to raise prices in the future, which we may not be able to offset through pricing actions and manufacturing efficiencies. In 2021, due to supply constraints, many of our suppliers increased costs but we were largely able to offset these costs. Furthermore, as the Company has new product releases, the costs incurred may fluctuate as the costs of new products may be greater than previous product releases.
Cost of subscription revenue consists of personnel costs, cloud hosting costs and payment processing fees. Because the costs and associated expenses to deliver our SaaS offerings are less than the costs and associated expenses of manufacturing and selling our device, we anticipate an improvement in profitability and margin expansion over time as our revenue mix shifts increasingly towards subscriptions. We plan to continue to invest additional resources into our products to expand and further develop our SaaS offerings. The level and timing of investment in these areas could affect our cost of subscription revenue in the future. We expect the cost of subscription revenue to increase as a percentage of subscription revenue in the near term due to the investments we are making, but will continue to be lower than the cost of product revenue as a percentage of product revenue.
Loss on product purchase commitments relates to inventory supply agreements where the expected losses exceed the benefit of the contracts. We consider a variety of factors and data points when determining the existence and scope of a loss for the minimum purchase commitment. The factors and data points include Company-specific forecasts which are reliant on our limited sales history, agreement-specific provisions, macroeconomic factors and market and industry trends. Determining the loss is subjective and requires significant management judgment and estimates. Future events may differ from those assumed in our assessment, and therefore the loss may change in the future.
Research and development (R&D)
Research and development expenses primarily consist of personnel costs and benefits, facilities-related expenses, depreciation expense, consulting and professional fees, fabrication services, software and other outsourcing expenses. Most of our research and development expenses are related to developing new products and services and improving existing products and services, which we define as not having reached the point of commercialization, and improving our products and services that have been commercialized. Consulting expenses are related to general development activities and clinical/regulatory research. Fabrication services include certain third-party engineering costs, product testing and test boards. Research and development expenses are expensed as incurred. We expect to continue to make substantial investments in our product development, clinical and regulatory capabilities. Prospectively on an annual basis, we expect research and development spending to increase in absolute dollars in the near term and then fluctuate over time due to the level and timing of our product development efforts. In the near term, we expect research and development expenses as a percentage of revenue to increase on an annual basis. On a quarterly basis, we expect research and development expenses as a percentage of revenue will fluctuate given the level and timing of the product development efforts as well the amount of revenue recognized in a period.
Sales and marketing
Sales and marketing expenses primarily consist of personnel costs and benefits, third party logistics, fulfillment and outbound shipping costs, digital marketing, advertising, promotional, as well as conferences, meetings and other events and related facilities and information technology costs. We expect our sales and marketing expenses to increase in absolute dollars in the long term as we continue to increase the size of our direct sales force and sales support personnel and expand into new products and markets. We expect our sales and marketing expenses will also increase in the near term as we promote our brand through marketing and advertising initiatives, expand market presence and hire additional personnel to drive penetration and generate leads. In the near term, we expect that sales and marketing expenses as a percentage of revenues will increase on an annual basis and then fluctuate over time as we evaluate expansion opportunities. On a quarterly basis, we expect sales and marketing expenses as a percentage of revenue may fluctuate given the level and timing of the sales and marketing initiatives as well the amount of revenue recognized in a period.
General and administrative
General and administrative expenses primarily consist of personnel costs and benefits, insurance, patent fees, software costs, facilities costs and outside services. Outside services consist of professional services, legal and other professional fees. We expect our general and administrative expenses to increase in absolute dollars in the foreseeable future. In the near term, we anticipate general and administrative expenses as a percentage of revenue will decrease on an annual basis. On a quarterly basis we expect it to fluctuate over time due to the timing and amount of these expenses as well the amount of revenue recognized in a period.
Results of Operations
We operate as a single reportable segment to reflect the way our chief operating decision maker (“CODM”) reviews and assesses the performance of the business. The accounting policies are described in Note 2 “Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” in our consolidated financial statements included herein.
Year ended December 31,
Cost of revenue:
Loss on product purchase commitments
Total cost of revenue:
Research and development
Sales and marketing
General and administrative
Total operating expenses
Loss from operations
Change in fair value of warrant liabilities
Other income (expense), net
Loss before provision for income taxes
Provision for income taxes
Comparison of the Years Ended December 31, 2021 and 2020
Year ended December 31,
Total revenue increased by $16.3 million, or 35.3%, for the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to the year ended December 31, 2020.
Product revenue increased by $9.5 million, or 24.8%, for the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to the year ended December 31, 2020. The increase in product revenue was primarily driven by a higher volume of Butterfly iQ+ probes sold, as a result of our increased investment in our sales and marketing efforts domestically and internationally. In addition, product revenue was positively impacted as we were able to sell our probes for higher prices due to a unit price increase beginning in the third quarter and reduced discounting in the contract. For the year ended December 31, 2020, product revenue was positively impacted by COVID-19, as the Butterfly iQ was utilized in the monitoring of acute symptoms of COVID-19, although we are unable to measure precisely the positive impact of COVID-19 on our revenue for the year end December 31, 2020.
Subscription revenue increased by $6.8 million, or 85.9%, for the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to the year ended December 31, 2020. The increase was driven by an increased volume of our SaaS subscriptions sold in conjunction with sales of our devices, as well as the current year subscription renewals.
Cost of revenue
Year ended December 31,
Cost of revenue:
Loss on product purchase commitments
Total cost of revenue:
Percentage of revenue
Cost of product revenue decreased by $17.0 million, or 36.7%, for the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to the year ended December 31, 2020. This decrease was driven by the sale of our second generation product, the Butterfly iQ+, which is less costly to produce. The overall decrease of product cost of revenue was primarily driven by decreases in product costs of $9.2 million, a decrease in warranty expense of $1.9 million and a decrease in net realizable value inventory adjustments and excess and obsolete inventory charges of $7.7 million. The decreases were partially offset by an increase in component product costs related to global supply chain constraints of $1.2 million and an increase in royalty fees due to increased sales of the Butterfly iQ+ of $0.6 million.
Cost of subscription revenue increased by $1.2 million, or 109.6%, for the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to the year ended December 31, 2020. This increase was primarily driven by increased cloud hosting costs and amortization expenses.
Loss on product purchase commitments decreased by $46.1 million, or 76.8%, for the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to the year ended December 31, 2020. The decrease is primarily due to a lower purchase commitment loss based on an estimate of future excess inventory related to an agreement with a certain third-party vendor of $39.1 million. Additionally, the decrease is due to the non-recurrence of losses on purchase commitments with other third-party vendors recorded in the prior year of $7.0 million.
Research and development
Year ended December 31,
Research and development
Percentage of revenue
Research and development expenses increased by $24.7 million, or 49.7%, for the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to the year ended December 31, 2020. This increase was primarily driven by increases in personnel costs including stock-based compensation expense of $19.8 million, an increase in software costs of $1.2 million and an increase in professional service fees of $3.5 million as we continue to invest in expanding our overall product development capabilities and resources.
Sales and marketing
Year ended December 31,
Sales and marketing
Percentage of revenue
Sales and marketing expenses increased by $23.3 million, or 88.9%, for the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to the year ended December 31, 2020. This increase was primarily driven by an increase in personnel cost including stock-based compensation of $14.8 million, an increase in demand generation costs of $4.7 million due to investments made to promote sales growth, an increase in travel and entertainment costs of $1.1 million related to internal and external events and an increase in professional service fees of $1.4 million to support our sales and marketing efforts.
General and administrative
Year ended December 31,
General and administrative
Percentage of revenue
General and administrative expenses increased by $61.3 million, or 251.4%, for the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to the year ended December 31, 2020. This increase is primarily due to an increase in stock-based compensation expense of $26.8 million due to the additional awards granted and the performance condition for certain restricted stock units being achieved upon the Closing of the Business Combination. In addition to stock-based compensation, the increase was primarily driven by increased personnel costs of $18.6 million due to investments made to scale up our back-office support and executive functions, certain costs with regards to our CEO transition, an increase in recruiting expense of $3.5 million, an increase in professional services of $6.6 million, an increase in software costs of $1.7 million and an increase in other general and administrative costs incremental to being a publicly traded company of $3.3 million.
Loss from operations
Year ended December 31,
Loss from operations
Percentage of revenue
Loss from operations increased by $31.1 million, or 19.2%, for the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to the year ended December 31, 2020. This increase was primarily a result of increases in operating expenses of $109.4 million partially offset by an increase in gross profit of $78.3 million. The increase in gross profit was primarily due to a higher volume of sales, lower cost of product revenue and lower losses on purchase commitments.
Year ended December 31,
Percentage of revenue
Net loss decreased by $130.3 million, or 80.1%, for the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to the year ended December 31, 2020. This decrease in net loss was primarily a result of the gain for the change in the fair value of the warrant liabilities of $161.1 million. The warrant liabilities were recorded as part of the Business Combination and therefore did not exist in the prior year. The gain was partially offset by the increased loss from operations of $31.1 million.
Comparison of the Years Ended December 31, 2020 and 2019
Certain items in the prior year’s consolidated financial statements have been reclassified to conform to the current year presentation reflected in the consolidated financial statements. We reclassified the loss on product purchase commitments that was recorded within cost of product revenue on the consolidated statement of operations and comprehensive loss to be presented separately.
Year ended December 31,