Bioventix plc (BVXP), a UK company specialising in the development and commercial supply of high-affinity monoclonal antibodies for applications in clinical diagnostics, announces its unaudited interim results for the six-month period ended 31 December 2020.
· Revenue up 1.3% to £5.2 million (2019: £5.1 million)
· Profit before tax down 9% to £3.7 million (2019: £4.1 million)
· Closing cash balances up £0.3 million to £5.8 million
· First interim dividend up 20% to 43p per share (2019: 36p)
CHAIRMAN AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE’S STATEMENT
The continuing global pandemic has, without doubt, affected the activity within diagnostic pathways in hospitals and clinics around the world to which our business is intrinsically linked. Not only have medical care resources been diverted to cope with COVID-19 patients but, even where capacity remains, there is ongoing evidence that patients are choosing not to present to healthcare professionals or not to enter diagnostic pathways. We are therefore relatively pleased to announce our unaudited interim results for the six-month period ended 31 December 2020 in which our revenues for the half-year of £5.2 million (2019: £5.1 million) were maintained at a similar level to those for the same period of the previous year.
Total profits before tax for the half-year decreased by 9% to £3.7 million (2019: £4.1 million), most of the reduction being created by exchange rate-related charges of £0.27m. The cash balances at 31 December 2020 also remained at a very similar level, finishing the period up by £0.3 million at £5.8 million.
As reported previously, vitamin D antibody sales were not expected to match the growth rates seen in recent financial years and a plateau in the downstream global vitamin D assay market had been anticipated. The very modest growth seen was perhaps better than could have been anticipated.
Our antibodies for thyroid disease diagnostics (T3) and others for fertility diagnostics (estradiol, progesterone and testosterone) form part of routine diagnostics for chronic conditions which are often not life-threatening. We believe that such diagnostic tests have experienced lower volumes in pandemic affected areas and this has had a small impact on our own revenues.
Sales relating to troponin antibodies grew significantly once again during the period. The continued roll-out of high sensitivity troponin tests provides further encouragement for our future sales in this area.
Our research activities continue in line with the plans described in the 2020 annual report. Whilst we will report further on these various projects with our full year results, we are particularly pleased with the development of our pollution exposure assay. We hope to have a prototype urine lateral flow test featuring in a field trial at a UK industrial site later in 2021. The intention is to measure and upload the lateral flow test results directly to health and safety operatives at the site through a phone-app camera reader system.
Regarding the use of SMAs to mitigate against the effect of biotin vitamin supplements on certain blood tests, we sent samples of “blocker” antibodies to customers late in 2020. We have received early positive feedback on the performance of these blockers from some customers. During 2021, we will continue to receive feedback and consider further the possible commercial development of these blockers where bulk manufacture at low cost will be important.
In December 2020, we sent samples of THC (the active ingredient in cannabis or marijuana) antibodies to a few selected customers who are interested in improving their THC lateral flow assays for saliva. The early feedback from these customers has been encouraging and we expect to gather more feedback during the year.
With the exception of COVID-19, the overall context of the business and the landscape in which we operate has not materially changed since the 2020 annual report and we draw the attention of any new shareholders to this report.
We have continued with the development of our Farnham laboratory. The work on our manufacturing facilities and technology development laboratory has been completed and we are now fully operational. The last remaining phase of the development work (cost ~£70k) is due to start imminently.
Bioventix has demonstrated that it is a resilient business and, notwithstanding our comments regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, our plan is to continue to follow our established dividend policy. For the period under review, the Board is pleased to announce a first interim dividend of 43p per share which represents a 20% increase on last year (36 pence per share).
The shares will be marked ex-dividend on the 8 April 2021 and the dividend will be paid on 23 April 2021 to shareholders on the register at close of business on 9 April 2021.
In conclusion, we are encouraged by the performance of Bioventix for the current half-year and pleased with the continued success of our vitamin D antibody and core antibody business. We remain optimistic about our troponin revenues and the success of these high sensitivity troponin products around the world and we look forward to reporting further progress in the second half of the year.