Twist Bioscience reported a robust first quarter, having overcome a gene production issue last year that led a temporary halt in supply.

Dan Stanton, Managing editor

February 9, 2022

2 Min Read
Twist leaves gene production problems behind; looks to ‘Factory of the Future’
Image: Stock Photo Secrets

Twist Bioscience reported a robust first quarter, having overcome a gene production issue last year that led a temporary halt in supply.

For the first quarter fiscal year 2022, DNA synthesis firm Twist Bioscience reported revenues and orders of $42 million and $49.6 million, up 50% and 48% year-on-year, respectively.

This included around $13.5 million in gene production for Twist’s partner with SynBio, a deal inked in 2017 that sees the firm manufacture synthetic DNA up to 3.2 kilobases in length for Synbio Technologies.


Image: Stock Photo Secrets

However, this business was hit last year due to manufacturing issues stemming from Twist. CEO Emily Leproust described the problem at the time as “an extraordinary event where we needed to shut down production for a short period of time” where during quality control the firm “identified unwanted DNA sequences included in our genes.”

While none of those genes were shipped to customers, delays in orders occurred and the firm took a financial hit of around $1 million.

Speaking on a conference call to discuss the latest quarter, Leproust said: “The production issue is behind us, in terms of identification, resolution of the problem and shipping out all the backlog that may have been created by the production.”

The firm shipped approximately 372,000 genes for the full FY2021 though Q4 numbers were not announced. And for the first quarter, the firm sold approximately 125,000 genes, a record number and 48% higher than the first quarter of fiscal 2021.

Manufacturing expansion

Leproust therefore justified expansion plans underway to increase gene production capacity.

The firm operated last year with a capacity of 40,000 genes per month but has since increased this to 65,000 genes per month, she told stakeholders. A 110,000 square-foot ‘Factory of the Future’ in Portland, Oregon is set to come online in the coming months to push capacity towards 90,000 genes per month.

“We remain focused on bringing up the Factory of the Future to reduce overall turnaround time, especially for genes,” said Leproust. “And with the additional space that we have, we expect to be able to launch new products in helping us to address new markets with some of those products offering the potential of increased margins.”

Around $75 million of capital expenditure has been earmarked in fiscal year 2022 to support the facility.

About the Author(s)

Dan Stanton

Managing editor

Journalist covering the international biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing industries.

Founder and editor of Bioprocess Insider, a daily news offshoot of publication Bioprocess International, with expertise in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, in particular, the following niches: CROs, CDMOs, M&A, IPOs, biotech, bioprocessing methods and equipment, drug delivery, regulatory affairs and business development.

From London, UK originally but currently based in Montpellier, France through a round-a-bout adventure that has seen me live and work in Leeds (UK), London, New Zealand, and China.

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