Biotechnology firm remains positive

Angel Biotechnology Holdings posted a modest increase in revenues of 25 per cent during the period ending 30 June 2009, but said it was positive about the year ahead.

The Edinburgh-based biopharmaceutical manufacturer reported sales in the first half of 2009 of £600,000, an increase of £121,000 over the same period last year.

The group also signed contracts in the period with a combined value of more than £2.2m with Materia Medica and ReNeuron. However, difficult market conditions left pre-tax loss at £516,000 compared with a loss of £462,000 in the first half of 2008.

The group claims that the drive towards cost-effective healthcare had increased development work on lower-cost generic drugs. As a result, new medicines that offer performance advantages over existing therapies had increased in popularity and boosted the group’s activities in advanced biologics and cell-based therapies.

Chief operating officer, Gordon Sherriff, said: ‘Our Advanced Biologics service offering and business development strategy have yielded positive results through 2009. We have seen our pipeline of prospective business grow to the best it has been so far with projects at various stages of negotiation.’

However, the general downturn in the manufacturing industry had affected the company, as well as cuts to research programmes by a number of large biotechnology groups. This has meant that over the past 18-24 months, the time from a client’s first approach to signing of a contract and initiation of a programme has increased from an average of six months to 12 months.

Sherriff said: ‘The current global financial conditions have had an impact on the business, lengthening the time contracts take to sign. However, we are confident of a good conversion rate of prospects to customers and coupled with revenues from contracts signed earlier in the year, look forward to stronger results through the remainder of 2009 and into 2010.’

Looking ahead, chairman, Paul Harper, added: ‘Angel is well positioned to take advantage of the manufacturing opportunities that are emerging in this changing environment. The current order book together with the pipeline of potential new business underpins our confidence for the future.’