Sales surge at clinical trials group Venn Life Sciences

Company reports maiden Ebitda profit before exceptionals on strong sales and Kinesis acquisition

Revenues jumped sharply are clinical trials group Venn Life Sciences last year, driven in large part by the acquisition of rival Kinesis.

Venn, which specialises in providing outsourced clinical research and trial facilities to mid-size pharma companies, also reported a increase in the size and value of projects won during the year. Overall, it reported a 135 per cent rise in turnover to just under €11.5 million from almost €4.9 million in 2014.

That helped the company move into profit on the basis of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) of €390,000 before exceptionals compared to an equivalent 2014 loss of €1.53 million.

The company had indicated in March that full-year trading was likely to come in comfortably ahead of forecasts which, at that time, were for a doubling of sales.


Allowing for investment in Innovenn, its technology development division that has been working on developing synthetic skin products for trials, the company reported a bottom line loss of €200,000, down from €1.8 million.

Chief executive Tony Richardson said 2015 had been a "breakthrough year" for Venn. "The acquisition of Kinesis Pharma BV in October 2015 has broadened the service offering of the business and opened up further opportunities for growth. With a strong start to 2016 Venn is well positioned for further growth.

He said “significant progress” has been made at Innovenn. “As the business has now moved from its development phase into commercialisation, the board intends to reposition this business such that it has an independent footing, its own source of funding and a value that can be clearly established.”

Analyst Jack Gorman at company broker Davy said strong business wins and a full 12-month contribution from the Kinesis deal should drive further growth for the company this year.

He said the Kinesis deal – which will cost Venn up to €6.5 million – “materially expands the scope of the Venn offering across early and late phase services”.

For the current year, the company says it is continuing to win new business, with a €3.4 million contract secured in January and revenues of of €4.4 million in the first quarter, more than double the 2015 figure of €2 million.

It said the delivery of drug development capabilities with the Kinesis deal had enabled it to cross-sell services to a wider range of clients.

Venn took an Irish listing in January on the junior ESM market. Its main listing is in London where its shares dipped 6.25 per cent on the results, having advanced strongly to a 30-month high of 28 pence in recent days.

Dominic Coyle

Dominic Coyle

Dominic Coyle is Deputy Business Editor of The Irish Times