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3d Systems (DDD -5.61%)
Q4 2022 Earnings Call
Mar 01, 2023, 8:30 a.m. ET


  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:


Hello and welcome to the 3D Systems' fourth quarter and full-year 2022 conference call and webcast. [Operator instructions] As a reminder, this conference is being recorded. It's now my pleasure to turn the call over to your host, Russell Johnson, vice president, treasury and investor relations. Please go ahead.

Russell Johnson -- Vice President, Treasury and Investor Relations

Good morning and welcome to 3D Systems' fourth-quarter 2022 conference call. With me on today's call are Dr. Jeffrey Graves, president and chief executive officer; Michael Turner, executive vice president and chief financial officer; and Andrew Johnson, executive vice president and chief legal officer. The webcast portion of this call contains a slide presentation that we will refer to during the call.

Those following along on the phone who wish to access the slide portion of this presentation may do so on the Investor Relations section of our website. For those who have access to the streaming portion of the webcast, please be aware that there may be a few seconds delay and that you will not be able to pose questions via the web. The following discussion and responses to your questions reflect management views as of today only and will include forward-looking statements as described in the slides. Actual results may differ materially.

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Additional information about factors that could potentially impact our financial results is included in last night's press release and our filings with the SEC, including our most recent annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. During this call, we will discuss certain non-GAAP financial measures. In our press release and slides accompanying this webcast, which are both available on our Investor Relations website, you will find additional disclosures regarding these non-GAAP measures, including reconciliations of these measures with comparable GAAP measures. Finally, unless otherwise stated, all comparisons in this call will be against our results for the comparable period of 2021.

With that, I'll turn the call over to our CEO, Jeff Graves, for opening remarks.

Jeff Graves -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Russell. And good morning, everyone. I'll begin this morning with some comments on 3D Systems' performance and achievements during 2022, and then I'll share my thoughts on the company's outlook for 2023 and what we'll be focusing on in the year ahead. After that, I'll hand the call over to our CFO, Michael Turner, for a more detailed discussion of fourth quarter and full-year 2022 financial results, as well as our guidance for 2023.

So with that, let me turn to Slide 5 and start with a quick recap of last year. I'll say up front that while we came in short of our original financial goals set at the beginning of the year, I'm very proud of what our company ultimately achieved, particularly given the headwinds that we encountered during the year, a few of which were common to many companies and one of which was unique to ours. It's important that we be as clear as possible about these factors as they directly relate to our view of the year ahead and actions we're taking in response to them. First, while COVID-driven supply chain issues were nagging problems throughout the year, they were no worse than what we had anticipated, and they continued to improve throughout the year as expected.

Much more impactful, however, was the rapid rise in inflation, which reduced consumer demand for a variety of elective medical procedures. At 3D systems, we felt this most acutely as a significant slowdown in our dental orthodontic business, which declined significantly as consumers shifted their spending to more basic necessities such as groceries, clothing, and energy for their homes and cars. This inflation also manifested itself in higher labor and material costs in our products, which created challenges in gross profit margins as our pricing opportunities at times lagged the cost trends. Second, economic uncertainty and recession fears led some of our customers, particularly in the industrial manufacturing space, to become more cautious and defer new investments in equipment and inventory.

Third, while the COVID situation improved in the United States, economic activity in parts of Asia continued to be disrupted by factory shutdowns and restrictions on daily life. And finally, the tragic war in Ukraine not only led us to halt sales in Russia but also dampened demand for key European markets in general. Facing into these factors, we updated our external financial guidance and took a number of concrete steps to control costs and drive near-term operational efficiencies. I want to commend our entire global 3D Systems team for staying nimble and working hard to manage through what proved to be a very challenging year.

Thanks to their efforts, we had a solid second half of 2022, delivering well on our key customer commitments. One of the most important things to emphasize with regard to 2022 was that it proved to be an extraordinarily productive and strategic year for our company when you consider the foundation we put in place for our company's future. Last year, we made it clear that 2022 would be an investment year for 3D Systems. And indeed, we invested during the year in a number of key areas, refreshing our product portfolio, continuing to build a world-class regenerative medicine business, and improving our corporate and regulatory infrastructure such that it can be leveraged to support future growth.

I'm pleased to say that we're already harvesting the benefits of some of these investments in the form of important new technologies, new customers, and new sources of revenue. Capitalizing on these early wins will be a key focus for us in 2023, and I'll speak more about that in a moment. It's also important to note that we invested heavily during 2022 in the highly attractive emerging businesses such as regenerative medicine. While these efforts are largely pre-commercial today, their future impact will become increasingly apparent over the next two years.

And while this investment spending impacted our 2022 results, I'm committed to stay the course in 2023 and beyond, prudently balancing these expenses with efficiency initiatives that are needed in order to assure customers of our ability to support their growth needs over the long term. These investments are absolutely the right strategic decision for 3D Systems, given the continued acceleration of additive manufacturing and production environments and the opening of entirely new markets as the costs of adoption continue to fall. We're at the forefront of this dynamic and well-positioned to deliver the value it promises for all of our stakeholders. Moving to Slide 6.

During 2022, a crucially important investment focus for us was updating and expanding our industry-leading product portfolio, including hardware, materials, and software. In particular, our hardware teams undertook a comprehensive effort to refresh our most critical printer platforms, and they've already achieved several important milestones on this front. Last year, we launched the SLA 750 and SLA 750 Dual, our fastest-ever stereolithography printer that's ideal for large-format, high-volume polymer applications. This all-new platform is the largest, fastest, and most precise SLA printer on the market and has enjoyed an enthusiastic reception from our industrial, aerospace, and automotive customers.

Just last week, we announced that BWT Alpine F1 team has purchased four of our new SLA 750 printing systems after having extensively tested the product during its beta phase. The Alpine F1 team is currently producing 25,000 additively manufactured parts per year using 3D systems, equipment, and materials. The team will use our SLA 750 to accelerate their builds of complex aerodynamic parts for wind tunnel testing, as well as small composite tools and high-temperature bonding jigs. The SLA 750's evolution is a perfect illustration of the strategic capability we're building in 3D Systems, the ability to drive growth through rapid innovation by accelerating new products from the design lab to the customer market.

And two weeks ago, we introduced a major upgrade to our industry-leading jetting printer, the MJP 2500W Plus, which is ideally suited for jewelry and other small precision casting applications. This upgraded platform is specifically designed to produce complex, high-quality, pure wax, 3D-printed jewelry patterns with new levels of speed and precision. It was developed in close collaboration with end users and responded directly to the needs of our customers operating in mass customization production environments. As I noted earlier, a key focus for 2023 will be to harvest the near-term benefits of these technology investments.

The SLA 750 and refreshed MJP 2500 are two early examples of the investments we're making in rapid customer-focused innovation. We'll accelerate the cycle of performance upgrades during 2023, with a number of new platforms scheduled for launch throughout the year. Now moving to Slide 7. In addition to these organic investments in our legacy printing platforms, in 2022, we further accelerated expansion of our hardware offerings by acquiring three early stage production printing platforms: Titan, Kumovis, and dp polar, each of which offer unique advantages in specific markets.

We're very optimistic about the potential for each of these new systems. While still in the early stages of launch, we're already seeing exciting signs of what these revolutionary technologies can accomplish. Let me take a minute to share one example with you. Just last week, we witnessed the achievement of a major milestone for our healthcare solutions group when a surgical team at Austria's University Hospital in Salzburg executed the first clinical implantation of a 3D printed cranial plate manufactured from medical-grade PEEK polymeric materials using a Kumovis printer.

This printer was specifically developed for precision printing of medical-grade, high-performance polymers such as polyether ether-ketone, or PEEK. Using a Kumovis printer installed at the point of care inside the hospital, the surgical team customized and printed a cranial implant to precisely match the patient's specific anatomical profile and related physiological needs. In this instance, it was critically important to not only create a suitable skull plate for protection of the brain but, given the size of the replacement section needed, to also lightweight the unusually large cranial plate by 3D printing it with a porous honeycomb internal structure, an outcome that would have been impossible using traditional manufacturing techniques. This type of personalized patient-specific point-of-care implant application that takes advantage of the performance and biocompatible properties of PEEK material is exactly why we acquired Kumovis and are integrating their platform into our overall portfolio.

As this technology now comes online, we're uniquely positioned to provide surgeons a full spectrum of printed solution options, ranging from titanium and cobalt-chrome for joint and bone replacement to advanced medical-grade polymerics for spinal, cranial, and other targeted orthopedic applications, each of which is customized to precisely match the patient needs using the digital tools and processes that we pioneered over the last decade in our healthcare business. These solutions provide better, faster, and lower-cost outcomes to patients in a rapidly growing range of orthopedic applications, which will drive sustained long-term growth in our existing healthcare business. When combined with our opt-in software platform, which is now in process, the ability to standardize and automate orthopedic workflows will further accelerate the application of this technology for patients around the world. I'm proud to say we're the leader in this market, and we're making the key investments required to remain so.

As we move forward with these and other investments in our product portfolio, our goal is clear: 3D Systems will continue to offer the most complete innovative lineup of 3D printing solutions in the industry, and we'll remain the partner of choice for customers wishing to unlock the vast potential of true serial-scale additive manufacturing. Moving now to Slide 8. Another strategically important area of investment focus during 2022 was regenerative medicine. As I've shared with you previously, I believe that regenerative medicine is the next frontier for additive manufacturing.

Moreover, I'm convinced that 3D Systems is uniquely positioned to lead this emerging growth industry. We combine a set of attributes that no other company could claim, including a 30-year-plus track record of developing high-resolution 3D printing applications, deep proficiency in material science, the strong foundation of quality and regulatory expertise to draw upon, and hands-on experience in human tissue engineering gained through both strategic acquisitions and through our multiyear organ partnership with United Therapeutics. Over the last 12 months, our regenerative medicine program has achieved remarkable milestones that offer a preview into the extraordinary growth potential of this emerging business. In 2022, 3D Systems and our longtime biotech development partner, United Therapeutics, publicly unveiled a 3D-printed lung scaffold that represents the most complex, 3D-printed object ever manufactured.

This extraordinary engineering achievement has already demonstrated functional gas exchange in animal models. Based upon progress made last year, we believe that our 3D-printed lungs could enter human transplantation trials within five years, a significantly accelerated time frame from what we just envisioned back in '21. Also, in '22, we announced the formation of Systemic Bio, a wholly owned start-up company that's leveraging our expertise in vascularized tissue printing, to develop and manufacture a unique organ-on-a-chip technology called h-VIOS for use in drug discovery and development by the pharmaceutical industry. I want to remind everyone that Systemic Bio will not be a traditional vendor of 3D printers and materials.

Instead, Systemic Bio will partner directly with major pharmaceutical companies to jointly develop h-VIOS chips tailored to specific organ and disease functions and market those chips directly to pharmaceutical and biotech companies engaged in drug discovery. I'm sure you can all appreciate the substantial increase in our company's baseline profitability that we would drive by becoming a major supplier of customized high-value biotech products to the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the rerating of our company's valuation multiple that could result from this change. As we speak, our Systemic Bio team is actively engaged in commercial discussions with potential partners and customers. I look forward to having more news to share with you on this front in the near future.

And just two weeks ago, we announced yet another milestone, a new regenerative tissue program that's a direct outcome of the success we've achieved in 3D printing human organs, scaffolds. This internal research and development effort is combining bioprinting technology, biocompatible 3D printing materials, and patient-derived cells to manufacture vascularized hydrogel scaffolds that mimic a patient's anatomy and physiology and can deliver improved outcomes in a variety of surgical applications. The first 3D-printed product that we have under development is regenerative breast tissue. This breakthrough application could offer a dramatically improved implant-based reconstruction option for millions of women diagnosed with cancer each year.

It could also open up a significant new market opportunity that 3D Systems is uniquely positioned to address. A key point regarding our ongoing investment initiatives is we're only pursuing R&D programs and new additions to our product portfolio that we believe offer attractive returns and are consistent with our company's mission to provide application-focused solutions to high-value, high-growth industrial and healthcare markets. Given this strategic importance, we maintained our heavy investment focus during 2022 despite macroeconomic and geopolitical headwinds, as well as greater-than-expected softness in our key orthodontic market. And doing so required us to target our investment spending very carefully, control our operating costs, and utilize our strong balance sheet.

I remain convinced that the programs we supported during 2022 and will continue to fund in 2023 are building a solid foundation for future growth and profitability we'll be able to leverage for many years to come. Moving now to Slide 9. I'd like to highlight several recent internal activities that have already provided us with important performance benefits, and we'll continue to do so as we move through 2023. Last year, we achieved meaningful success in better aligning our manufacturing and supply chain operations with our company's operating profile and emerging product portfolio.

During the second half of 2022, we completed a major step in this process by insourcing a significant amount of our polymer printing platforms into our South Carolina manufacturing operations. This transition required us to incur some one-time costs, as well as to take inventory onto our books ahead of need, which, in part, explains our elevated inventory levels at the end of the year. The change has already improved our gross margins and positively impacted delivery, reliability, and product quality for our customers. In 2023, as we accelerate the pace of new product releases on track to our financial performance targets, you have my commitment that we will be laser-focused on driving operational excellence and cost efficiency.

Yesterday, we announced a important step in this process, a restructuring initiative that will improve our 2023 profit profile by better aligning our European engineering and manufacturing operations for our three metals platforms, streamlining our software organization which is now consolidated under Oqton, and focusing our product portfolio on platforms that bring the highest long-term value to the market. These actions, which are the culmination of integration activities and optimization planning conducted throughout 2022, will allow us to achieve significant cost synergies in 2023 and beyond as Michael will detail later for you. Beyond these discrete measures to maximize efficiency, during the fourth quarter of 2022, we laid the groundwork for further operational improvements by undertaking a major reorganization of our operations and engineering functions. We now aligned all 3D Systems' engineering, design, product management, procurement, manufacturing, and logistics under a single member of my executive team, Dr.

Joe Zuiker, who recently joined the company to take on this new role. Under Joe's leadership, our operations and engineering teams will work together to drive an organizationwide focus on operational excellence. Their primary mission will be to ensure a seamless progression from product design to full-scale manufacturing for every element in our portfolio. Before handing the call over to Michael, I like to provide my broad perspective on our outlook for 2023.

In our new full-year guidance, which Michael will present to you shortly, we're prudently assuming that the general market slowdown that we experienced in the second half of '22 will persist throughout '23. Outside of dental, we see considerable strength in virtually all other markets across our healthcare and industrial solutions segments. Putting this all together, we expect to achieve consolidated revenue growth for 2023 in the mid-single digits, supported by growth rates in the mid-teens for our nondental markets. This growth profile, plus the operational and cost efficiencies it will drive throughout '23, should allow us to generate positive adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow for the full year, excluding any one-time restructuring costs that we may incur.

I want to emphasize that our 2023 guidance fully reflects continued investments in growth areas of our business, including new product developments, R&D, and creating a world-class regenerative medicine business, all of which are critically important activities designed to support future growth. As we enter the new year, I've never been more excited and confident in our company's leadership position in the 3D printing industry, particularly given the technology, application expertise, and operational foundation we've worked so hard to put in place over these last few years. In 2023, we're committed to drive financial results in line with our leadership position. Finally, before concluding my remarks, I would like to note one additional topic.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of State, Justice, and Commerce announced that these agencies have settled their open investigation of 3D Systems into alleged export control violations by 3D Systems that previously took place between 2012 and 2019. We disclose this matter in our SEC filings for some time now. Under the settlement, 3D Systems would be subject to civil monetary penalties, as well as several remedial compliance measures as a part of our three-year consent agreement.

The company is pleased to have reached a settlement with the agencies and remains committed to continuing to enhance its export control program. Looking forward, I'm very proud of the compliance culture, processes, and infrastructure that we've now established in 3D Systems and will continue building upon. We are fully committed to not only meeting all required standards, but being a true leader in what is an essential element of all complex global businesses today. With that, I'd like to turn the call over to Michael Turner, our CFO.


Michael Turner -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Jeff. Before I start, I'd like to remind everyone that 3D Systems made three significant divestitures in 2021. The earnings release that we issued last night contain tables with non-GAAP measures relating to our full-year 2021 results from which we excluded the impacts of these divested businesses. Likewise, on today's call, any reference that I make to our full-year 2021 results will be on the same ex-divestiture basis.

The point of this adjustment is to make our 2022 results comparable to our 2021 results on an organic basis. However, it's important to note that we completed our divestiture program during the third quarter of 2021. Therefore, any tables contained in last night's earnings release relating to our fourth-quarter 2021 results, and likewise, any reference that I make to our fourth-quarter 2021 results on today's call do not reflect any adjustments for divestitures. Turning now to Slide 11.

I'll start out with a discussion of full-year 2022 results for our consolidated business. As Jeff mentioned, our business encountered a variety of external challenges during 2022 that caused our full-year results to come in below what we expected at the beginning of the year. These challenges include FX headwinds, high inflation, recessionary fears, and the war in Ukraine. And of course, the biggest headwind we faced early in the year was an inflation and economic uncertainty reduced demand for many elective medical procedures.

As a result, we experienced an unexpected and significant decline in dental market revenue during the second half of 2022. This was particularly impactful for 3D Systems because dental sales represent a large percentage of our total business. However, after making a midyear adjustment to our 2022 revenue guidance to reflect the above factors, we were able to finish out the year by coming in quite close to our revised revenue expectations. Revenue for 2022 was 538 million, a decrease of 12.6% as compared to 2021.

Excluding divestitures and the unfavorable impact of FX, revenue increased by 3.3% compared to the prior year. This top-line growth, despite a very challenging operating environment, reflects continued solid demand in most of the end markets served by our industrial and healthcare solutions segments. As previously noted, what's partially offsetting this variable was our exit from the Russia market in early 2022, as well as weakness in dental market revenues, predominantly in orthodontics, which declined by roughly 10% year over year. Adjusting for these items, our net sales increased by lower double digits year over year in 2022.

Moving now to our quarterly revenue results, which, as noted previously, no longer reflect the impacts of 2021 divestitures. On a consolidated basis, revenue for the fourth quarter of 2022 decreased by 12% to $132.7 million compared to the same period of the prior year. Excluding unfavorable impacts of FX, consolidated revenues decreased by 7.6%. The decline in revenue primarily reflects sharply lower fourth-quarter middle market sales, partially offset by continued solid products and service demand across other areas of the business.

Turning now to Slide 12 for a review of segment revenues. For our healthcare solutions segment, full-year 2022 revenue, excluding divestitures and the unfavorable impacts of FX, decreased 2.9% as compared to 2021 due to a decline in our dental market of approximately 10% that started in mid-2022. Outside of dental, we saw healthy growth during 2022 in some of the other major business lines within our healthcare solutions segment, including strong sales to customers in 3D-printed various types of medical devices such as orthopedic implants and surgical guides. Additionally, our sales of virtual surgical planning and point-of-care solutions for doctors, surgeons, and hospitals grew in the fourth quarter.

These two areas of our healthcare business often involve medical procedures that are less elective in nature and, therefore, have been proven resilient even in times of economic uncertainty. For our industrial solutions segment, full-year 2022 revenue, excluding divestitures and the unfavorable impacts of FX, increased by 9.7% as compared to 2021, driven by continued strength in precision microcasting applications and demand for production machines in energy and commercial space applications. Moving now to quarterly segment results. For our healthcare solutions segment, fourth-quarter revenue, excluding unfavorable FX impacts, declined 16.6% year over year due primarily to dental market headwinds, partially offset by continued strength in medical devices.

For our industrial solutions segment, fourth-quarter revenues, excluding unfavorable FX impacts, increased 1.1%. Revenue during the quarter benefited from continued strength in precision microcasting applications for jewelry customers, as well as growth in semiconductors and electronics, partially offset by relatively weaker sales to aerospace and motorsports customers as compared to a very strong fourth quarter in the prior year for both of those end markets. Moving now to gross profit on Slide 13. Gross profit margin for the full-year 2022 was 39.8%, compared to 42.5% in the prior year.

The decrease in margins is due to multiple factors, including 2021 divestitures of noncore assets, inflationary impacts on input costs, freight, and unfavorable changes in product mix due to selling more printers and less materials in 2022 than the prior year. This year-over-year mix shift impact was particularly impactful in our key dental market vertical. For the fourth-quarter 2022, gross profit margin was 40.9%, compared to 44.1% for the same quarter last year. The factors driving the year-over-year decline in margin are largely the same as for the full year.

So, while our margins are down in 2022 versus 2021, we achieved sequential margin improvement in the fourth quarter with a 100 basis point increase from Q3 levels, which followed a similar increase from Q2 to Q3. We've been able to improve margins despite challenging macroeconomic environment through a combination of price actions and increased focus on operational excellence, which include the benefit of bringing some of our outsourced printer production back in-house during the second half of 2022. Turning now to operating expenses on Slide 14. Operating expenses for the full-year 2022 increased 11.6% to $331.3 million compared to the prior year.

The higher operating expenses include spending in targeted areas for future growth, including expenses from acquired businesses, research and development, and investments in personnel and corporate infrastructure, partially offset by the absence of expenses from divested businesses. The higher expense also includes 17.2 million in accrued expenses for legal and other settlement costs that were largely related to the export control investigation that, as Jeff mentioned just a moment ago, we have now settled with the U.S. government. On a non-GAAP basis, which excludes nonrecurring charges and divestitures, full-year 2022 operating expenses were 241.1 million, a 22.1% increase from the prior year, which primarily reflects spending for future growth.

For the fourth quarter, operating expenses increased 18% to 82.7 million compared to the same period of the prior year. On a non-GAAP basis, fourth-quarter operating expenses were 64.1 million, an 18.2% increase from the same period a year ago. The increase in non-GAAP operating expenses primarily reflects spending this for future growth, including expenses for the acquired businesses, research and development, and investments in personnel and corporate infrastructure. Moving now to Slide 15.

Adjusted EBITDA, which is defined as non-GAAP operating profit plus depreciation, was -5.8 million for the full year 2022, compared to 56.2 million for 2021. For the fourth quarter of 2022, adjusted EBITDA was -4.8 million compared to 17.9 million for the same period last year. The decline in adjusted EBITDA reflects all the factors that we previously discussed. One point I'd like to remind everyone of, as I did on our third-quarter call, 3D Systems' profitability during 2022 was significantly impacted by a variety of growth investments, which includes SG&A and R&D expenses from businesses that we've acquired over the last year and a half, including Oqton, Titan, Kumovis, and, most recently, dp polar.

It also includes investments we're making to build our regenerative medicine business, which is still largely in a pre-commercial stage. We invested on this front in 2022 and will increase our level of investment in 2023. These acquisitions and other investments in emerging businesses are highly strategic for 3D systems, and we expect them to contribute significantly to our revenue growth over the coming years. However, for the time being, these businesses in aggregate have yet to generate meaningful revenue for us.

As such, you should expect our adjusted EBITDA to run below our natural potential for a period of time due to the near-term expense impacts of recent acquisitions and investments in pre-commercial businesses, although, as I will discuss in a moment, we are forecasting to return to breakeven or better adjusted EBITDA in 2023 after a negative year in 2022. And for EPS, full-year '22, we had fully diluted loss per share of $0.96 compared to income per share of $2.55 for 2021. Excluding charges for stock-based compensation and other nonrecurring items as detailed in the appendix of the earnings release, our 2022 non-GAAP loss per share was $0.23 compared to non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.33 in 2021. For the fourth quarter of 2022, we had a fully diluted loss per share of $0.20 as compared to a loss per share of $0.05 in the prior year quarter.

On a non-GAAP basis, we had loss per share of $0.06 for the fourth quarter of 2022 versus $0.09 earnings per share in the prior year quarter. The year-over-year EPS decline reflects all the factors we previously discussed. Now turning to slide 16 for balance sheet highlights. We ended the quarter with $568.7 million of cash and short-term investments on hand.

Our cash and short-term investments declined approximately $220.9 million since the end of 2021, driven primarily by a 104.3 million paid for acquisitions and equity investments. Cash used in operations was 68.4 million. Capital expenditures of 22.5 million in cash used for financing activities of 13.8 million. We continue to have a strong balance sheet with sufficient cash to support organic growth and our investment in our pre-commercial businesses.

I'll conclude my remarks on Slide 17 with a discussion of our full-year 2023 guidance. We expect revenue to be in the range of 545 million to 575 million. We expect non-GAAP gross profit margins to be in the range of 40% to 42%, and we expect both adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow to be breakeven or better. I want to highlight several points related to this new guidance.

First, we are not providing 2023 guidance for non-GAAP operating expenses as we did for 2022. However, we have added 2023 guidance for both adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow. We made this change because we believe that these two measures, one which addresses profitability and the other which addresses cash generation, are most consistent with how investors will evaluate our overall performance going forward. Given that we are now guiding to new metrics, I want to make sure that we have a common understanding on definitions.

For purposes of this guidance, I define free cash flow as adjusted EBITDA plus changes in trade working capital, less capital expenditures. Also, both adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow are meant to exclude any restructuring and/or one-time charges that we may incur during 2023. And lastly, I want to note that our 2023 guidance fully incorporates two known headwinds. It includes increased operating expenses associated with our continued investment in our pre-commercial regenerative medicine business, which we expect to be approximately $9 million higher than in 2022.

And it also assumes that our dental orthodontics demand will be down roughly 35% versus 2022, primarily driven by customer supply chain inventory reduction initiatives. Offsetting these headwinds are the favorable impacts of the restructuring we just spoke to earlier and the strong growth in our core nondental markets. The key takeaway here is our guidance for 2023 anticipates breakeven to positive adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow after fully incorporating these known headwinds, which demonstrates that the fundamentals of our core business are sufficiently robust to drive solid overall performance for the company. Finally, although we are not providing quarterly guidance for 2023, I want to make a comment about seasonality.

In the past, it's been difficult for 3D Systems to begin each year with a relatively weaker first quarter and then go through with somewhat higher second and third quarters and then end the year with a strong Q4 as customers fluff their annual budgets and stock up on inventories for the coming year. 2022 did not follow the same pattern due to the decline in our dental market in the second half of the year, as well as other macroeconomic challenges. Based on the current forecast upon which our 2023 guidance is based, we're expecting the return of normal seasonal trends, as I just described, which should result in a quarterly split of revenues similar to what we experienced in 2021. That concludes my remarks.

Operator, we are now ready to open the line for questions.

Questions & Answers:


Thank you. [Operator instructions] Our first question today is coming from Troy Jensen from Lake Street Capital. Your line is now live.

Troy Jensen -- Lake Street Capital Markets -- Analyst

Hey, gentlemen, Thanks for the time here. Congrats on results that I thought were better than feared, for the most part. But just for you to start, Michael, a point of clarification. In your prepared remarks, right at the end, did you say that healthcare was down 35%? Or are you expecting that to be down in '23 at that level?

Michael Turner -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

We expect 2023 dental -- our dental markets to be down 35% year over year in '23, not [Inaudible].

Troy Jensen -- Lake Street Capital Markets -- Analyst

OK, cool. I got you. And then, just thoughts on, like, share loss. Is that just customer adoptions stall that much? Or just -- you know, share is obviously an important topic for these customers.

So, just your thoughts on that, please.

Jeff Graves -- Chief Executive Officer

For that market specifically, Troy?

Troy Jensen -- Lake Street Capital Markets -- Analyst

Yeah. Yeah. You know, a line, obviously, is what I meant.

Jeff Graves -- Chief Executive Officer

No, it's -- No, Troy, there's no share loss. It's strictly correction in the supply chain at this point. So, if, you know, watch public company announcements that the impact on that business has kind of moderated now, it's flattened out. They've just got to burn off some inventory.

They had -- they've built inventory, you know, and pretty aggressively as they expand their production capability. And then, they got hit with the consumer discretionary spending drop. So, they're just clearing inventory. So, you know, we've tried to just be very realistic in the year to say it's going to take -- that this consumption rate is going to take a while for them to do that and return to normal levels.

But no share loss.

Troy Jensen -- Lake Street Capital Markets -- Analyst

OK, perfect. And then, Jeff, you know, I mean, you've talked historically about just the importance of profitability in this industry, especially from the leaders like you guys in additive. You know, I guess I was hoping to get your thoughts on what the opex is for, like, bioprinting and regenerative that isn't generating revenues here. But as Michael pointed out, there's a lot more than just the regenerative stuff with some of the, you know, traditional additive stuff that you'd bought too that's kind of pre-revenue.

Jeff Graves -- Chief Executive Officer


Troy Jensen -- Lake Street Capital Markets -- Analyst

So, just thoughts on, I think, Michael, your term was natural potential of the margin profile. I'd love to know what you think this business could be or where is it right now if you didn't have all these, you know, aggressive investments?

Jeff Graves -- Chief Executive Officer

Well, it's a discussion we have actively inside a lot, especially coming into the year to a certain budget. You know, it's -- you know, for companies that -- you know, for companies that are immune themselves or growth-oriented companies, it takes no great brainpower to just broad-based cut cost. What we've tried to do in '23 is to really look at our markets and say what's really going to drive meaningful shareholder value over the next few years and make sure we funded that. And then, let's be realistic on top-line revenue, and then let's aggressively take cost out where we can.

So, it's that balance of looking out for the next few years on the adoption rate of additive in key markets that are going to drive growth, you know, really valuable growth and balancing that those investments off against cutting costs and making sure that we're profitable. So, we just put a stake in the ground this year and said, look, we can strike a nice balance. We can have EBITDA profitability. So, we profitable on adjusted EBITDA.

And we can generate positive free cash flow. And remember, our balance sheet, we still have well over half a billion dollars of cash on the balance sheet. But I think, customers, you know, especially right now and uncertain times, they need to see you making money. They need to see you particularly generating cash to know that you're going to be around and able to support them.

You know, especially we're selling now into, you know, relatively conservative, large, older-line industrial companies that are adopting additive. They're conservative in their supply chain design. So, they want to know that we're going to be around and making money. So, it's not enough to have cash on the balance sheet.

We've got to be adding to that cash, and yet we still have to be investing significantly for long-term growth because, Troy, the number of applications in production is just exploding in not only healthcare, but industrial applications. So, now, not all of them can you make money at. So, you got to be careful there, but we try to pick and choose carefully. So, what you see us giving in guidance is kind of the net result of that is we feel it's really important that we're committed to positive EBITDA and positive free cash flow this year.

And we have accumulated a lot of inventory last year with the in-sourcing. So, we've got a lot of upside in terms of working capital reductions. We've got -- we're being prudent in our efficiency programs, make sure we deliver on those, and then we're spending as much as we can still on the growth initiative. So, we end up with that result.

So -- and regenerative medicine is taking a meaningful piece of it. But when the returns on that investment become public, Troy, I think, everyone, in retrospect, can look back and say they were great investments. So, we're kind of pleased with the balance. It was a real challenge this year, particularly because the weakness in dental is how fast will that come back.

So, I think we feel very comfortable with our top-line expectations at this point. And we'll update you if we change. We're focusing heavily on cost wherever we possibly can, and we're funding key initiatives that we think have real value in the next few years. Michael, do you want to add any more to that in terms of [Inaudible]?

Michael Turner -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

No, I think it's covered, so.

Jeff Graves -- Chief Executive Officer

But, yeah, Troy, know, that kind of covers it. Any questions -- I guess that's a really thoughtful question and it's a subjective answer. I just feel, this year, it's important to show our customers and our shareholders that we're positive in EBITDA and that we're going to be positive in free cash flow. And even though we've got a great balance sheet, we want to make sure that stays real strong.

Troy Jensen -- Lake Street Capital Markets -- Analyst

No, perfect answer. Hey, I'll -- one quick question. I'll just throw it out there into the floor. But touching on industrial, I thought the fact that you're guiding for these guys to grow 15% this year in what could be a recessionary year is, to me, pretty healthy, right? So, just thoughts on that, Jeff, and then I'll leave you guys on it.

Jeff Graves -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Troy, it's reflective of true production applications starting to really grow. And I -- you know, we were modeling at mid-teens this year, and I think that's going to be early days when you look over the next few years because there's so many folks moving it into factories. And factory managers are very conservative people.

And companies -- or factory managers particularly are promoted because they're conservative, generally. And even they are adopting it and moving it into the floor, albeit at a moderate pace. But it's remarkable, the number of new applications that are coming on the screen every day in both polymers and metals. And customers like dealing with us because we have both, and we know we can support them in the world wherever their needs are.

So, I am really bullish. I've looked at that number too and said, what, you know, if we deliver that. And based on our customer back analysis, Troy, it's very doable, I believe.

Troy Jensen -- Lake Street Capital Markets -- Analyst

Awesome. Awesome, guys. Well, good luck this year, and, yeah, thanks for the time.

Michael Turner -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Troy.

Jeff Graves -- Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Troy. Stay warm.


Your next question is coming from Greg Palm from Craig-Hallum. Your line is now live.

Danny Eggerichs -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group -- Analyst

Yeah. Thanks. This is, Danny Eggerichs on for Greg today. Hoping to dig a little bit more into dental here right off the bat.

Obviously, big year-over-year decrease expected here. I mean, is there anything that could make you more bullish, something that could go right in this upcoming year, whether it's, you know, on the system side or the consumable side where maybe there's that 35% as kind of a base case and there's potential upside to that? Or you don't have really good visibility for that?

Jeff Graves -- Chief Executive Officer

No, it's a great question. And it's great to hear from everybody in the cold climate first thing in the morning. You know, it's great question. So, you know, we have a very intimate relationship with the leader in orthodontics today.

And I think, you know, if you look at what they say publicly in terms of their business now kind of bottoming -- in my interpretation, business bottoming, and, you know, here I think my guess is that's a combination of many factors. You've got wars going on and inflation, but things seem to be kind of stabilizing. So, I would agree. I mean, just as a consumer, I would agree that that outlook is probably reasonable.

And when you factor in the supply chain, you know, burn down of inventory that they want to accomplish with us, that results in our revenue stream. Is there upside on that? Certainly. I mean, it's -- you know, I hope everybody looks in the mirror and says their teeth need to be straightened., and that would be great. If there was increased demand, it would flow through to us very nicely, and particularly, probably the second half of the year as inventories are brought online.

But it is really that simple. How much money will people be willing to spend on straightening their teeth, you know, doing that correction because that's really the driver in the market. And that I think we've been very reasonable in our projection right now. So, there could always be a downturn in the economy again and things could soften.

Inflation, I am hoping, comes under control, and people, you know, have the money to spend on, you know, on optional items like that. But it is really important in people's lives, and we're really well-positioned if there is some upside there in demand. But I think we've been prudent in our projections right now.

Danny Eggerichs -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group -- Analyst

Got it. And then, I guess, industrial and non-dental healthcare. I think that mid, you know, teens growth was better than a lot of us were expecting. You know, are those -- do you think growing at similar rates, or is one outgrowing the other? And how has that changed in recent months?

Jeff Graves -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, net debt is probably similar rates. I would tell you that the non-dental half of our healthcare business, the orthopedics and point-of-care work, that's fabulous. And I think, you know, we've gotten the technology to a point now of broad acceptance, and the costs are coming down fairly rapidly. So, the orthopedic repairs to the human body are becoming, as I said in the prepared remarks, better, faster, and cheaper.

So, you can now have better patient outcomes, faster turnaround times, less hospital time, and all the ancillary benefits from that. You can do it at a lower cost and provide a better technology solution. And I think we're really hitting our stride in orthopedic acceptance. And we work closely with the FDA on approvals of each procedure.

And you've got to work through that. It takes a little time, but the economics and the outcomes are in our favor. And I'm very bullish on that. In orthopedics, I think it's transforming orthopedics, frankly.

And there's ripple effects, less inventory in the supply chain, better patient matching of solutions, all of that you get. An example I gave, I'm just over the moon about the skull repair. It brings all the benefits of additive manufacturing together in one example. And it's fabulous.

And this -- it changes patients' life. So, it's great. On the industrial side, again, broad acceptance. I mean, when you look at everything from rocketry and satellites to new ground transportation with electric vehicles and even old-line manufacturing, now we're not going after a lot of high-volume standard components, you know, made out of steel and other lower-cost materials.

We generally are in the higher-value markets in titanium and nickel and some of the other high-value materials and applications, because that's the first adopters, if you will, of additive. But especially, the younger -- I would say, younger companies where there are fewer design paradigms, they love additive. And if you look at the percentage of additive parts in some of these really progressive industries that are moving fast, it's really high. I mean, you're talking 70, 75% of components in some modern vehicles that are not ground-based vehicles, you have the modern flight vehicles for air and space that are made with additive manufacturing and either directly or indirectly through castings.

And it is remarkable. So, I think your -- you know, all of the tides are going in the right direction for adoption. And the only thing that could really slow it down is a drop in capital spending by companies if they are worried about cash. But our customers generally are in good shape on cash.

So, they're willing to make investments to reduce supply chain risk and improve the term time. So, right now, it's green fields ahead. There's enough to be nervous about in the papers. But unless things get worse, I'm pretty confident in those numbers we put out there.

Danny Eggerichs -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group -- Analyst

Yeah. That's all good stuff. Maybe I'll just sneak in one more quick one. On your inventory levels, I mean, pretty big jump again both year over year and sequentially.

Just update on your comfort levels there and how we should think about that going forward.

Jeff Graves -- Chief Executive Officer

We're very careful. We're going to have enough inventory to make product, yeah. You know, when you look at companies, how much cash do we type in inventory? It is right now outrageous. I mean, we insource manufacturing.

We had to take it onto our books and I think it hit us in Q3 and probably a little overlap in Q4. Our inventory levels jumped up a lot because the supplier we were using to make product had just an absurd amount of inventory. So, we took on the good inventory. We've got it down on the shelf now.

We'll be working our way through. That is certainly a source of cash in in '23, and it's an important one to us. So, we're going to be working inventory levels down to a much more respectable level throughout the year. What I am really pleased about is, by taking over that manufacturing, we immediately improve the quality and delivery metrics for our products, and it was critical to our customers and their growth.

So, we immediately did that, and now, we're working on inventories. And I just think our type of business is much better suited for many platforms for internal manufacturing. And that's a trend will probably continue, not 100% but for our high -- low and high mix complex products. We have a great manufacturing base here in South Carolina, and we're developing the same in Europe.

And, well, you'll see more of that to come.

Danny Eggerichs -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group -- Analyst

Got it. All right. Thanks, everyone.

Jeff Graves -- Chief Executive Officer



Thank you. Next question is coming from Shannon Cross from Credit Suisse. Your line is now live.

Shannon Cross -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Hi. Thank you very much for taking my question. And good morning. I wanted to ask a bit on the COGS or actually cost side.

You know, your restructuring program is really targeting opex. I'm curious about COGS. And then I had a, I don't know, more of a meta question, I guess, in terms of the biotech opportunity that you have. Could you maybe think about -- I mean, you mentioned the lung has the potential to be through, you know, I guess, into maybe human trials in five years.

How should we think about, you know, the business model morphing over the next few years? I don't want specifics, but, you know, maybe if you can talk in generalities about, you know, what kind of revenue growth projections there might be or how to think about, you know, comparable margin profiles, just because you really have sort of two separate businesses. And I think it would be really helpful for people to frame, you know, what they're investing in. Thank you.

Jeff Graves -- Chief Executive Officer

Yep. So, yeah, let me -- on the latter question, there'll be a lot more that becomes public over the next two years in terms of our projections, because we have to be able to give some estimate on getting to the FDA. And when -- you know, what the uptick in volumes will be, I'll come back to that part of your question, Shannon, in just a second. But on the first one, in terms of COGS and opex, you know, obviously, we thought it was important this year that we really drive costs out of the business and we drive efficiencies that we'd be positive EBITDA performance and positive free cash flow.

It's important. It's more than symbolic, you know, because obviously we have a big balance sheet. So, we're fine from a stability standpoint, but it's important that we show you can make money in this business and yet still invest for long-term growth. So, that was our objective.

Because we've insourced part of manufacturing now, that's about 40% of our polymer platforms, we have a really nice opportunity on COGS and the supply chain is getting a little bit better, so. And as we launch new products, we're targeting components that are more widely available, things that we can really get some better pricing on from a purchase standpoint. So, we're working COGS really hard. We're also still working pricing very hard.

So we -- you know, I wish gross margins were rising faster than they are, but they're on an upward trend. We're going to continue that, which is reflected in pricing and COGS. In terms of opex, I mean, honestly, Shannon, we could generate a lot higher EBITDA in the short term if all we cared about was 2023, OK? We're spending money on refreshing our traditional platforms because additives move into factories, and they want fast, productive, cost-effective machinery. So, we've got a ways to go on that.

The SLA 750 is a marvelous example, and this new version of our 2500 as a jetting platform. Great examples. We've got several more to go, and you'll hear about more of those in '23. Those are factory-grade machinery that'll be good in production.

We feel it's important to complete that buildout and refresh of our product line, which will largely happen in '23. And then, on the side, we've got this remarkable effort in regenerative medicine. So, I'll hit that question next. And we are spending millions of dollars on that ourselves.

And we also have an incredible partner in United Therapeutics who we're co-developing the organs with. They are, you know, in my opinion, one of the best partners I've ever encountered. We are intimately involved with them in developing human organs, which I think will change millions of people's lives. But because of that, Shannon, in our core technology, we're able now to take our own investments and branch into other areas, which I believe will bring shorter-term benefits like the human tissue work on breast reconstruction, marvelous area.

So, I have to get through FDA approvals and all that. But it's just one example of dozens of applications in the human body which will bring midterm -- I think -- I figure that as kind of midterm benefit. But then the really, really neat area that we started talking about last year was doing pretty what, for us, is relatively small but complex vascularized tissue specimens to sell into the pharmaceutical market. And that's really neat because you can -- you know, there's a huge payoff for getting better testing of new drugs.

If you can take a year or two out of the development cycle of developing a new drug, it's worth billions of dollars to the company that is doing it, participating in that. Obviously, the pharma company gets a lot of benefit from that. We'll get some benefit from helping with the testing. But we will -- in that case, we will be selling prepackaged -- you can see these on our website -- they're called h-VIOS organ on a chip where we print vascularized tissue, we implant those scaffolds with human cells, either healthy or diseased.

And the coolest example on the website is, on one end, your healthy liver cells all kept alive for, at this point, weeks and months through blood flow through that chip. And on the other end is our cancer cells that they want to test a new drug on. So, when you make this chip, you can pass blood with test drugs through it to look at the effect on the liver cells and, on the other end, on the cancer cells in one test. And we can make those specimens, Shannon, by the hundreds and soon to be thousands.

We'll be announcing a new facility down in Houston, which will be the first bio-factory to make those chips in the coming days, OK? We're in discussions with a large number of pharma companies today, and I expect announcements to come out, certainly more than one this year, about the use of those specimens in drug testing. So, short term, I'm incredibly excited about pharma. I think -- and that's good. And that doesn't require direct FDA approval.

It's customer acceptance of the test for screening new drugs. And then, the pharma company carries on with more of its traditional screening experiments after that. Midterm, it's in human tissue and other human applications. And then, longer term is this remarkable opportunity on organs.

So, we have a short, medium, and long-term focus in regenerative. Well, I think we're ahead of anybody in this industry, particularly through our partnership with United Therapeutics. Remarkable, remarkable technology coming out of this, so much so that we formed a medical advisory board over the last six months. I'm extremely proud of their -- and they are remarkable people that are now giving us their insights into our programs.

And we're trying to really pave the way for commercialization of these technologies. I think it's -- the benefits to mankind are remarkable and to our shareholders will be equally important. So, I feel great about that work from every side. That may have been more than you wanted to know, but I -- and I'll have to stop myself from talking about it now.

I could go on for the rest of the day, Shannon.

Shannon Cross -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

No, that's very helpful. I guess the last thing, if I could just touch on it, I realize this was a prior administration, but just with regard to the settlement agreement. I think it was about a $15 million fine, and then you have some more expenditures over the three years. Is there anything else that we should be aware of related to it or that could have any impact on your business just to sort of close the loop on it? Thanks.

Jeff Graves -- Chief Executive Officer

No, Shannon. We're obviously happy to settle with the government. We're done. That spanned 2012 to 20 -- late 2018 or early 2019.

Since that time, I will tell you, we've made tremendous progress in our compliance infrastructure. I've personally been involved with it since 2020, and it's first class and we'll make it even better. The cash payments that we owe the government are spread out over several years. You could see -- you'll see the details in the K and in the publication, so that -- so, no ongoing impact on the business.

And then, to top it off, Shannon, you go way back in this industry, we exited the business that was largely the cause of these issues back in 20 -- I think we closed the deal in '21 through the sale of that Quickparts business, that ODM business. That was machining work we were doing in China as a part of that business. We sold that business and got out of it. It wasn't the business for us, and we've, since that time also, in parallel, enhanced our compliance program.

So, I'm very pleased with our position going forward. I'm pleased the federal government is all behind us.

Shannon Cross -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Great. Thank you so much.

Jeff Graves -- Chief Executive Officer



Thank you. Your next question today is coming from Brian Drab from William Blair. Your line is now live.

Blake Keating -- William Blair and Company -- Analyst

All right. Good morning. This is Blake Keating on for Brian. I'll just ask a quick one here since we're at -- you know, it's been an hour.

I just wanted to talk about -- you mentioned in the medium term, your breast scaffolding and tissue products. I was just looking to dive into that a bit. Is this the application that you partnered with CollPlant on? And then, along with that, what do you think is going to differentiate your product versus the others? There are some private companies, you know, that have focused on breast scaffolding with 3D bioprinting. What do you think's going to differentiate that product versus theirs?

Jeff Graves -- Chief Executive Officer

Well, thanks for the question. Now, this program is [Inaudible] to CollPlant. And in fact, we developed most of our own materials, you know, that we believe were better suited to the application, quite frankly, which is why we've gone our separate way right now there. And their collagen-based material may find a home in certain applications.

I hope it does. We're not dependent on that at all for our human tissue work. The way to think about the breast tissue work is just one example of large-volume tissue applications in the body. So, you can think of a lot of trauma examples where someone gets a -- you have some damage to their body that results in large amounts of tissue being removed.

And this -- their ability to print vascularized scaffolds, that's really what distinguishes us, vascularized scaffolds that you can then embed human cells into. In the case of the breast tissue work, and I'd say probably many other parts of the body, you're actually using the patient's own fat cells for implanting in the scaffold. So, these are 100% biocompatible scaffolds and implanted cells. They're kept alive, obviously, indefinitely by the vasculature that's printed into it.

And it's a natural addition back to the human body of their own tissue material, basically. So, we love the solution. I think it highly differentiates us from anybody else in the market. And it's just one example of various parts of the body that we'll end up moving into as we run with this technology.

Blake Keating -- William Blair and Company -- Analyst

Understood. Thank you for the color.

Jeff Graves -- Chief Executive Officer

But maybe one more question, Kevin, and then we'll cut it off, OK?


Certainly. Our final question today is coming from Ananda Baruah from Loop Capital. Your line is now live.

Ananda Baruah -- Loop Capital Markets -- Analyst

Hey, guys. Good morning. Appreciate it. Hey, just real quick, I'm going to ask one just given the time.

But just sticking with regenerative -- and you've given a lot of rich contexts today, Jeff -- is there anything that -- I don't know if you saw -- have you seen this? You may have because you're in the industry now. But, you know, end of last year, over in the U.K., it came out that some base editing technology has been used to cure certain types of cancers. What's interesting is that the technology isn't yet approved, you know, sort of by the managing bodies, but if you sign the paperwork and if you can get access, you're able to use it. And I guess the question is, do you think --

Jeff Graves -- Chief Executive Officer


Ananda Baruah -- Loop Capital Markets -- Analyst

Yeah. Do you think, before FDA approval, there's certain things that -- certain of the things that you're working with in regenerative or even in orthopedics that could come to market and be used as proof -- we could see proof of concept even prior to being FDA approved? That would help people, you know, kind of lay a trail of breadcrumbs out to where this is going.

Jeff Graves -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, Ananda. You know, it's an excellent question because full and formal FDA approval obviously takes a lot of time. There's breakthrough designations. There's the -- I'm spacing that term right now -- but there's the sympathetic approvals where a patient is going to die if they don't get the treatment.

There are those categories that the FDA and similar bodies overseas has in order to allow new technology to get to market faster. Obviously, we go through all of the work to get full FDA approval. But wherever we can get breakthrough designation or early use designation -- for example, this hospital in Austria, you know, very early use of this Kumovis technology for an implant -- for a skull implant, which changes patients' life. I mean, and it was -- you know, and really, from our perspective of printing, was a very low-risk application for us.

And it was great to get it out there and get it used. So, that all helps in getting, you know, final regulatory approvals. But to your point, and it is a good question, is there are pathways you can follow to get early designation if somebody is going to die. Or, you know, for other reasons, if you had breakthrough designation, you could get it in there.

Part of the reason, Ananda, that I wanted to really form our medical advisory board was to get guidance on that is where do we have an opportunity to go for early approvals for fast-tracking any of the technologies, obviously, balancing risk with patient outcomes to make sure we gather the right data. We're spending a fair amount of money on animal testing now, which we haven't talked about, you know, much at all publicly. But we're doing a fair bit of animal testing on a variety of these technologies in order to gather data, to know when we're ready to go to the regulatory bodies, and, you know, what kind of depth we have to go to in discussion. So, we're going through all the right steps to get there, and hopefully, we will get to market as fast and as safe as we possibly can.

Again, the first things to market, I would expect, will be the pharmaceutical applications for drug discovery. What we're producing in these vascularized chips, Ananda, is remarkable. The ability to keep cells alive for months is an incredible step forward in the ability then to test, to develop big statistics on new drugs. So, that's our goal and soon to be our capability here that we'll be talking about.

After that, human body applications either for tissue or, to your point, orthopedics. And then, beyond that, in the future, obviously organs. That's where we're headed. I think it's a brand-new industry, and I feel great about our leadership position in it.

Ananda Baruah -- Loop Capital Markets -- Analyst

All right. Thanks, Jeff. That's great context. I appreciate it.

Jeff Graves -- Chief Executive Officer



Thank you. [Inaudible]

Jeff Graves -- Chief Executive Officer

All right, Kevin.


Over to you. Please go ahead.

Jeff Graves -- Chief Executive Officer

We should -- yeah. I'm sorry, we should probably wrap it up. But listen, let me just thank everybody for the call. I appreciate you guys tuning in and asking such good questions.

We'll look forward to updating you each quarter. The world's a very dynamic place. You have our best thinking down 2023, and we'll update you as we go along each quarter. So, thanks.


[Operator signoff]

Duration: 0 minutes

Call participants:

Russell Johnson -- Vice President, Treasury and Investor Relations

Jeff Graves -- Chief Executive Officer

Michael Turner -- Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Troy Jensen -- Lake Street Capital Markets -- Analyst

Danny Eggerichs -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group -- Analyst

Shannon Cross -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Blake Keating -- William Blair and Company -- Analyst

Ananda Baruah -- Loop Capital Markets -- Analyst

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