Diagnostics firm set for growth despite revenue fall

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A YORKSHIRE firm which helps to save the lives of people and pets is set for growth, despite suffering a fall in full year revenue.

Wetherby-based Avacta makes devices to speed up and reduce the cost of drug development.

The company has high hopes for its diagnostic tool Optim, which delivers information faster than other systems, while using smaller samples.

In the year ended July 31, the group reported revenue of £2.70m, compared with £3.13m in the previous year.

The company said this was mainly due to slow Optim sales in the first half of the financial year. However, Optim’s sales picked up sharply in the second half.

The loss before tax was £1.85m, compared with a loss of £1.60m the year before.

The group recently raised £4.7m through a share placing, which it is using for product development. Some of the cash will support the early stage commercialisation of the group’s Sensipod in-clinic analyser in the veterinary market

Sensipod is a blood testing instrument that provides vets with “point-of-care” diagnostics, which means pets can be treated more quickly.

Avacta, which was spun out of the University of Leeds, is structured into three business units; Avacta Analytical, which focuses on the commercialisation of analytical tools, Avacta Animal Health, which covers vet diagnostics, and Avacta Life Sciences.

Alastair Smith, the company’s chief executive, said yesterday: “Our recently re-engineered Optim2, with increased functionality and performance improvements, has been well received by the market which bodes well for the coming financial year.

“We will also see the first revenues from our Sensipod product as they are sold to veterinary practices in the UK. We have already seen a good level of interest and expect this to accelerate as we expand the menu of diagnostic tests over the coming months and years.”

Mr Smith said “good progress” had been made with its life sciences business. He said he remained confident that Affimers, an engineered alternative to antibodies, will generate revenues in 2014.