Avacta secures US success

DIAGNOSTICS specialist Avacta Group today revealed that it had made its first sale in the US of its Optim system, which helps to speed up drug development.

York-based Avacta, which is a spin-out from the University of Leeds, said the customer could not be named for competitive reasons.

Optim has been developed to accelerate and reduce the cost of drug development through the early stage analysis of drug compounds. This early analysis helps to identify the best drug compounds for development.

Optim can deliver vital information 10 times faster than any other system while using sample sizes less than a hundredth of those currently needed.

In a statement, Avacta said: "This quantum leap in efficiency and reduction in the amount of precious sample that is used, allows drug developers to gain a much greater insight into their products at an earlier stage of development.

"This in turn should lead to a significant reduction in failure rate of drug compounds, thus reducing the overall costs of bringing new drugs to market. Optim is priced at around 100,000 per instrument and employs a single-use sample holder which it is expected will lead to significant recurring consumables revenues."

Alastair Smith, Avacta's chief executive, said: "North America represents about 50 per cent of the world market for Optim and this first sale to another of the top ten pharma companies is great news. We have now sold nine Optim units with five installed that are generating recurring revenues.

"In the last few months we have generated around thirty serious leads in the US and we have also agreed to put units into two US universities; Kansas and Colorado, both of which work closely with the biopharmaceutical sector and are highly influential in the US biotech market. We are working to appoint a US distributor shortly and I expect all of this activity to have a very positive impact on Optim sales in 2011."