Omega Diagnostics forecasts hefty sales jump

Omega Diagnostics is confident of resolving issues with a kit for testing HIV patients' immune systems
Omega Diagnostics is confident of resolving issues with a kit for testing HIV patients' immune systems
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LIFE sciences firm Omega Diagnostics said yesterday that it was set to grow turnover in the six months to end-September as it works to resolve an issue with its kit that checks the immune systems of HIV patients.

The Alva-based firm, which makes a wide spread of medical testing kits, said turnover for the period was expected to come in at £6.15 million – up 11 per cent on the same period last year in constant currency terms, and 8 per cent on an actual basis.

Specifically, the group expects its food intolerance revenue for the period to grow 20 per cent in actual terms to reach £3.34m, infectious disease/other to jump by 13 per cent to £1.22m, but allergy and autoimmune to fall by 13 per cent to £1.59m.

Omega’s chief operating officer Colin King said that since joining the firm, which was founded in 1987, he had been encouraged by the scale of opportunities in the core business units and “believe we can exploit these in a more aggressive manner”.

Pre-tax profits for the first half are forecast to be similar to the £560,000 delivered a year ago, as higher gross profits offset a rise in management costs.

In July, Aim-quoted Omega said it had moved the manufacturing of its Visitect CD4 device in‑house after field trials in Kenya last year revealed “just below optimal performance”.

The company has said it is “very confident” about the commercial prospects for the product, which aims to determine when HIV sufferers will need to take anti-retroviral drugs to bolster their immune systems. However, the firm discovered an issue with the longer-term stability of the kit while stored at room temperature.

In the trading update, Omega said it had identified the issue responsible for the temperature effect, “and our immediate focus now is to complete the testing needed to determine which component from this step causes it”.

It added: “Once the component is identified and replaced or adjusted, the verification and validation process will recommence. We remain confident of resolving this, although the ultimate timing remains uncertain at this stage and we will provide further updates as soon as we can.”

The business also said in its outlook that the Visitect CD4 device “continues to dominate the perceived prospects for the group as a whole”.

It said: “We continue to believe that once the current technical challenges are resolved, Visitect CD4 will be competitively positioned to become a major success for the group.”

Looking overall at the half-year results, the firm said the performance was in line with its expectations.

Analysts at finnCapp also said the company was currently performing in line with its expectations, and said its forecasts for the firm remain unchanged.

“Performance for the full year in line with our expectations is predicated on continued growth,” it said, adding that it excludes factors such as Visitect CD4 due to uncertainty over the timing of commercialisation.

Omega, which is due to publish its half-year results on 30 November, said it had reviewed each unit and was now developing a three-to-five-year business plan “with accelerated growth the key objective”.