Fusion Antibodies reports £700,000 loss for first trading year

Belfast company says results show ‘strong organic growth’

Fusion Antibodies has a particular focus on the production of antibodies in a lab. Photograph: iStock

Fusion Antibodies has a particular focus on the production of antibodies in a lab. Photograph: iStock

 

Fusion Antibodies, the Northern Ireland contract research company, has reported losses of nearly £700,000 (€781,000) for its maiden year as an AIM-listed company. The results come days after the Belfast-headquartered business issued a profit warning for the 2019 financial year.

Shares fell 3.85 per cent to 75p in London in the wake of the results on Thursday morning.

Fusion Antibodies raised £5.5 million before expenses from the AIM listing. Chief executive Dr Paul Kerr said in the latest accounts that the company’s growth had been “affected by the significant management time required” to complete the AIM process.

In the previous year, the business reported a profit of £120,000.

According to Dr Kerr, the results for the year to end-March 2018 demonstrate the company’s “strong organic growth” with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £132,018, excluding accelerated share-based payment charges and initial public offering costs. That, he said, was “broadly in line with expectations”.

The equivalent figure for the previous year was £288,473.

The company’s first-half sales were strong, with revenues up by 70 per cent compared to the same period of the previous year, as sales grew across all regions with the exception of the UK where they fell by more than 15 per cent. For 2018 as a whole, sales were ahead by 41 per cent to £2.7 million.

Fusion Antibodies provides a wide range of specialist services to pharmaceutical organisations with a particular focus on antibody humanisation, or antibodies produced in a lab.

Dr Kerr said this was a key driver in the sales jump in the latest period.

Antibodies

“We have completed over 100 antibody humanisation commercial projects and have a high success rate using this platform. We now have two client humanisation projects in clinical trials and we expect more to follow.

Dr Kerr said 2017/18 had been a “transformative” year, “securing new investment from our AIM listing, which has been applied towards expanding our facility and capacity of services to our clients”.

“We see the drug development sector as strong and demand for seamless, high-quality, antibody engineering services integrated into expression and cell line development services,” he added.

In the accounts Dr Kerr said management had taken action to address the slowdown in sales growth that had occurred in the second half of 2017/18 and had carried this through into the first quarter of 2018/19.