Novacyt, the AIM-listed Anglo-French biotech company has reported revenues over the first six months of the year that are over 1000% up on the same period last year. The phenomenal growth in income is reward for a December call by chief executive Graham Mullis to start to research a diagnostic test for Covid-19. At the time the virus was still confined to China and there was little international panic around the pandemic that was to unfold over the early months of 2020.
That decision has been more than vindicated. Novacyt’s test found itself at the heart of the UK’s track and trace efforts to combat the spread of the virus. The company’s first half revenues have rocketed to €72.4 million from just €7.2 million over the same period a year earlier, said Novacyt as it published its earnings results yesterday.
Novacyt has previously developed tests for zika, ebola and sars, but none have been used in anywhere like the numbers of its Covid-19 tests. The biotech has become the leading supplier to laboratories testing for the virus. In April the company’s test became only the second to be listed by the World Health Organisation for emergency use.
Novacyt’s tests are manufactured in Southampton, from where they are being shipped to more than 130 countries. There is also a contract in place to supply the Department of Health with 288,000 test per week for use in the NHS.
At the beginning of the year, the Novacyt share price sat at 13p before surging to 491p in April. They closed at 270p last night. Novacyt also has a dual listing in Paris where its shares are today trading at around €2.80. Sales last month came in at €25.4 million after a sixth consecutive month of growth. The company’s statement read:
“Given the visibility of orders, extended contracts and the launch of new Covid-19 related products, the company anticipates revenue for the second half of the year to be greater than the first half and margins to be at least at a similar level.”
Adding the company is positioned to respond to any second wave should it emerge later in the year. Novacy has, the statement to investors read:
“Sufficient manufacturing capacity, raw materials and finished goods to meet the expected demand, having orchestrated a significant scale-up of operations during the half year”.
The company added 45 employees over the first half of 2020, taking total headcount to 140. Other coronavirus-related products are now being developed, including a test for use outside of labs in locations such as care homes.
In response to a question about whether Novacyt had identified any other sources of potential new pandemics, Mr Mullis responded:
“At this stage I would say the answer is no. There are rumblings going on at the moment in a number of areas which we’re keeping a very close eye on but I wouldn’t comment any more than that at this stage.”