Following successful product launches in the healthcare diagnostics market, the latest trading statement from London-based diagnostics group Osmetech makes positive reading.

The company’s Critical Care division was particular successful, with its Opti range of blood-gas analysis devices recording sales of £3,742,000 over the last six months. This compares to £2,442,000 for the same period in 2004 — a 53 per cent increase in business.

The company’s new product portfolio — including a touchscreen critical-care analyser and a blood gas analyser — will be expanded this month with the release of the its Opti Lion portable electrolyte analyser and Opti R blood-gas analyser, both of which recently received FDA approval in the US.

The company’s Molecular Diagnostics division has also enjoyed a positive few months. Earlier this summer it acquired Biotech firm, Clinical Micro Sensor (CMS) from Motorola. This provided Osmetech with the eSensor, a proprietary instrument and assay technology, suitable for complex molecular testing.

The eSensor cystic fibrosis test is currently being reviewed by the FDA and the company is confident that a product launch will follow approval early next year.

Following the acquisition of Molecular Sensing, the company is also continuing with the development of its Opti Gene molecular testing platform. Designed for DNA and RNA analysis, the device is said to be simple and quick to use; employing a single-patient disposable cartridge and providing a test result within 45 minutes.

Designed to carry out somewhat simpler tests than those performed by the eSensor, Opti Gene recently underwent tests at Bristol University, where the company claimed it impressed with its speed and accuracy.

Osmetech’s repositioning from a ubiquitous diagnostics group to a strong player in the rapid testing DNA market could reap rewards, as its last six months reveal.

Its acquisitions of Molecular Sensing and CMS cover both diagnostic requirements. Opti Gene can target simple test applications such as STDs where fast results are demanded, while CMS is suitable for more complex procedures such as cystic fibrosis tests.

James White, Osmetech’s chief executive, said: ‘With the imminent launch of the Opti Lion and Opti R products we expect a very strong end to 2005 and start to 2006.’