Emily Leproust Reflects on Twist's Success in Light of Q4 earnings and Second IPO Anniversary
Twist Bioscience's Q4 earnings for 2020 exceeded analyst expectations. In this Writing the Future article, Emily Leproust, Twist Bioscience CEO, reflects on the success of Twist Bioscience since the company filed a successful IPO in 2018.
“The Bills” (Bill Banyai and Bill Peck) and I founded Twist Bioscience in 2013 and, with help from ARCH Ventures, Illumina, and many other committed employees and investors, we went public on October 30, 2018. Two years later, in Twist Bioscience’s Q4 earnings, we have just reported record revenue for fiscal 2020 of $90.1 million.
While we are pleased to have generated such excellent growth for our investors, we are particularly proud of the synthetic biology advances we have delivered – let’s call that scientific equity.
Science has always been a team sport. When I look back on the past two years, I think about the many successful partnerships we have entered. For example, we worked with Arzeda, TeselaGen Biotechnology, and Labcyte to develop an advanced DNA assembly platform to encode Arzeda’s designed proteins, accelerating the process and reducing costs.
The coronavirus pandemic catalyzed new collaborations. Twist technology has helped the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center develop neutralizing antibodies to prevent and treat COVID-19. We have also worked with Saint Louis University to test monoclonal antibodies and VHH nanobodies against coronavirus. Those are just two examples.
Two years ago, our biopharma group was relatively quiet. But for our most recent fiscal year, as of September 30, we have signed 13 revenue-generating partnerships, 8 of which have milestones and/or royalties. NGS is a similar story. In 2018, it was a small part of our business. Now it’s almost half of our overall revenue.
Because Twist plays such a vital role in the synthetic biology universe, we have helped enable seminal advances: New strategies to surveil, test, and track COVID-19 and other infectious diseases; rapid antibody development through DARPA’s P3 program; and Neogene Therapeutics’ emerging T cell therapies against cancer to name a few.
All this has happened because the Twist team – now numbering 550 – has executed so brilliantly. Our people believe in our silicon DNA synthesis platform and have spread that message everywhere, disrupting markets, and advancing great science.
We are far from done. In the next few years, we look forward to ongoing growth in synthetic biology, NGS, and biopharma as we continue to execute on our roadmap for DNA data storage. Early efforts have stored the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Netflix series Biohackers and other data on DNA. IARPA’s Molecular Information Storage program utilizes Twist as its DNA synthesis provider for its DNA Data Storage Project. We also just announced that Twist, Illumina, and Western Digital have formed an alliance with Microsoft to establish the foundations for a cost-effective commercial archival storage ecosystem for the explosive growth of digital data.
The financial and scientific equity we have built in the past two years is a powerful endorsement for our technology and our team. But the ultimate rewards are measured in impact. By accelerating efforts to contain COVD-19, treat cancer and other diseases, improve data storage and develop unique products for countless applications, we are realizing synthetic biology and genomics amazing potential and improving the quality of life for people around the world.
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