Advances in key kit from medical tests firm Omega

Kieron Harbinson, chief financial officer at Omega Diagnostics. Picture: Contributed
Kieron Harbinson, chief financial officer at Omega Diagnostics. Picture: Contributed
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Life sciences firm Omega Diagnostics has revealed that its kit to check the immune system of HIV patients will launch in the second half of 2017.

The Alva-based business also said yesterday that it was continuing to focus on its allergy arm despite receiving an approach to acquire that part of the business.

It came as Omega Diagnostics unveiled pre-tax profits of about £305,000 in the six months to 30 September, up from £177,000 in the same period last year.

Revenues climbed 11 per cent to £6.83 million, boosted by the post-Brexit vote slide in the value of the pound given that the firm is mainly focused on exports.

The company hailed “significant” progress made regarding its Visitect CD4 device for HIV patients, resolving an issue relating to temperature, having previously had a problem with storage conditions.

Andrew Shepherd, Omega’s chief executive, said: “We’ve gone through quite a few technical issues with this product over recent times, but I’m pleased to report we’ve now got the format of the test locked down.”

The firm said it now had a clear plan to finish the technical work needed for commercial launch, subject to field tests, and it cited demand of up to 23 million tests a year.
“It’s been a long haul but there’s a great demand for the product and we’re looking forward to getting it to market,” Shepherd added.

The company also operates in the likes of food intolerance testing, and in markets supplying tests for allergies.

In August, Omega revealed a £1.8m research-and-development grant from Scottish Enterprise to help increase its range of allergy-testing products and accelerate the tripling of its “menu” of allergens to 120 over the next three years.

Chief financial officer Kieron Harbinson told the Scotsman that Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings had made an approach that could involve an acquisition of all or part of its allergy arm.

“It was not our direction of travel to divest this business,” he said, stressing that Omega aims to continue investing in these operations. He added that until IDS’ intentions become clearer, its focus “is still to continue to grow our allergy business internally”.

On the outlook for Omega’s second half, he said the expectation is to be “at the top end” of its expectations with its core business. Both Harbinson and Shepherd noted their increased confidence with new developments.

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