VITAMIN testing kit company Immunodiagnostic Systems (IDS) has promised “evolution rather than revolution” as it looks to tackle a fall in sales and profits.
The Boldon-based company, best-known for its vitamin D tests, revealed a 13% dip in revenues to £23.8m for the six months to September 30 while pre-tax profits dropped by 26% to £6.3m.
However, the company, which had issued a profits warning in September, said revenues from its flagship IDS-iSYS machine increased by 4% but income from the manual testing kits was done by 17% to £14.6m.
Chief executive Patrik Dahlen said: “During the first half IDS increased its gross margin and remained strongly cash generative despite pressure on revenues from the competitive vitamin D market.
“In previous years we enjoyed a growing revenue stream for our vitamin D assay sales, but while this was originally considered a niche, this testing market has now attracted the attention of the major in-vitro diagnostics players.
“This reporting period is the first time in which the full impact of competition from all these players can be seen, as all now have automated vitamin D assays on the market and the test is available on the major workhorse laboratory testing systems.
“In June, we launched three new assays to sell to customers that have historically been vitamin D assay only. One of these includes testing for growth deficiencies which has received a lot of interest from our customers.”
Over the last few years the company, which employs 105 staff from its Boldon base, has become a trusted provider of diagnostic testing kits.
It designs, manufactures and sells immunoassay kits used to measure or detect substances within a sample, aiding the diagnosis or monitoring of a disease or providing information for research.
After the appointment of Dahlen as chief executive in July this year, the board has undertaken a reshuffle with the departure of business development director, Roger Duggan. The company’s finance director, Ged Murray, will also be leaving on December 1.
Dahlen’s aim is to cement the firm’s position as a leading developer of specialist assays in small to medium niche markets where it can compete most effectively.
“It’s really about evolution rather than revolution,” he said. “We have made progress in transferring our customers from manual to automated assays and are seeing an encouraging response to the three new assays launched in the period.
“We have a strong reputation among clinicians for our assay quality, reliability and the ease of use of our IDS-iSYS system. Our strategy is to build on this by expanding our range of assays. In particular, we are seeking to become a global leader in the areas of kidney disease, hypertension, bone and cartilage and human growth.”
The company’s key markets have historically been the USA and Europe which represent 77% of revenue for the six months ended September 30. It is seeking to capitalise on opportunities for the IDS-iSYS system in higher growth emerging markets, including China, Russia and India where there are profitable commercial opportunities.