Immunodiagnostic Systems grows through dip
RAPIDLY growing diagnostics firm Immunodiagnostic Systems – IDS – believes its market will continue to grow despite pressure on healthcare budgets in the current climate.
The Boldon-headquartered company, which creates kits to identify problems in bone and cartilage, yesterday said it saw turnover increase to £22.6m in the six months to September 30, an increase of 34% from the £16.9m generated in the same period last year. This growth has largely been sparked by the development of the automated system for vitamin D testing, which is more attractive to larger laboratories.
Pre-tax profit rose 44% to £6.6m, while sales of Vitamin D products were up 33% year on year. IDS expects to see sales hit £47m for the year to the end of March.
CEO Ian Cookson said: “Diagnosis can be very cost effective because the earlier you diagnose something the better. Healthcare budgets will come under pressure worldwide, so there will be an impact, but diagnostics is in a good position to deliver value for money.”
Vitamin D testing products generate 60% of IDS’ revenue, and while the first automated product hit the market in February last year, the company expects its recent government green-light in the US to provide a major boost to sales.
Cookson said: “Revenue from our Vitamin D work has grown by over 100% a year for the last four years. Up until now we’ve only had a manual assay which accounts for about a third of the market. Now we have the automatic version it’s got great growth prospects.
“Whereas with manual you need a skilled technician and it would take about four hours before you get a batch of 40 to 50 patient results. With an automated product, it takes around 40 minutes to get the first patient result and then you get about 90 an hour.
“We’re now able to sell to the US market and that’s 45% of the diagnostic market. It’s a very important milestone for us. . The impact of Vitamin D has been recognised over the last four or five years in how important it is for well-being. It’s a difficult thing to measure and there are two or three companies able to do it and we’re one of them.”
IDS employs 275 people in the group, including 98 in the North East. It expects to add more staff after it fits out the extra 20,000 square feet it acquired at Boldon Business Park earlier this year.
While it hopes to cement its position in existing markets such as Europe and the US, it is also targeting emerging markets, such as India and China.
In the longer term, the company’s acquisition of Norway’s MGP Diagnostics in September will allow it to develop a unique bio-marker called Matrix GLA protein that identifies the build-up of calcium in soft tissues, such as cartoid arteries and heart valves, which can lead to cardiovascular disease, and is particularly relevant to chronic kidney problems.
Cookson said: “It will be an exciting area. We have to do the work but we believe it will be an indicator that something is happening that can then be treated.”