Belfast Telegraph

Pharmaceutical firm Fusion Antibodies posts £1.3m loss but insists future bright

Results: Dr Paul Kerr
Results: Dr Paul Kerr
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

A contract pharmaceutical firm in Northern Ireland has reported a loss of £1.3m in its first full year of trading since listing on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM).

Fusion Antibodies employs 35 people in the Springbank Industrial Estate, Belfast, in antibody discovery, development and clinical supply.

Its annual report for the year ending March 31, 2019 reported a 19% fall in full-year revenues to £2.2m after a weak performance in the first half of the year.

However, it followed that with its strongest-ever six month period, making sales of £1.5m in the second half.

The business also launched its new service, RAMP, and expanded its business development team.

However, its cash position at the year end was less than half of the year before, falling from £4.5m in 2018 to £2m in 2019.

The company focuses on export, with 91% of its revenues made outside the UK.

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In his report accompanying the results, chief executive Dr Paul Kerr said: "This year has been our first full year as a listed company and has come with some early challenges as well as good reason for optimism.

"Weak first half revenues required a strong management response while we also implemented the actions planned at the time of listing.

"As a result of the weak first half and investment for growth, losses increased this year to £1.3m (2018: £0.7m loss)." But he said he was "delighted" by the recovery of revenues in the second half, along with laboratory expansion, recruitment and its continuing research and development programme.

"This is an exciting time for the company and I am pleased to work in a team of talented people well equipped to capture the full value of opportunities presented by the growing market in global drugs research," he said.

Chairman Simon Douglas said the company's response to trading pressures in the first half - from pricing issues and new competition - had paid off.

The final quarter of the previous financial year had also brought pressures, partly resulting from the impact of the process of admission to the AIM.

But he said management and the board had responded "strongly", leading to strong sales for the second half of 2019.

"This can be sustained with potential for further growth as the use of antibodies and the outsourcing of specific R&D activities in the pharmaceutical industry continues to grow," he said.

Belfast Telegraph