Diagnostics group optimistic over sales of testing devices

Professor Alastair Smith, CEO of Avacta   Picture: VisMedia
Professor Alastair Smith, CEO of Avacta Picture: VisMedia
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Diagnostics group Avacta told shareholders at its AGM that good progress is being made across all of its divisions.

The Wetherby-based company said it has seen an increase in sales of Optim2, an instrument that tests new drugs.

Chief executive Alastair Smith told shareholders that trading for the first half of the year is in line with market expectations.

“We have seen good progress in Avacta Analytical in the first half of this financial year following the launch of the re-engineered Optim2 early in 2013 and a strong growth in the number of units shipped in the second half of last year,” he said.

He added that the improved shipping has continued this year.

The animal health division recently launched a lymphoma blood test for dogs in the UK and is looking at launching the test in the US.

Mr Smith said several other new diagnostic tests will be added to the portfolio in the coming months.

He added that Avacta Life Sciences is making good progress towards the launch of Affimers, an engineered alternative to antibodies, later this year.

The group said that Gwyn Humphreys is stepping down as chairman and Tony Robards will step down from the board as a non-executive director. Trevor Nicholls, who joined the board in September 2013, will take over as chairman.

Analyst Charles Weston at Numis said: “We note that non-executive director Trevor Nicholls is becoming chairman. Previously chief commercial officer at Affymetrix and chairman of Oxford Nanopore, we believe that his experience should be valuable for the company.”

He added that the Animal Health and Life Science divisions could individually be worth significantly more than the current value of the group.