Clamour for COVID-19 tests drive record turnover for BioGrad

Faisal Arif and Dr Natalie Kenny

Liverpool COVID-19 testing company, BioGrad, has reported record revenues for the year ending September 2021.

The firm, based in Liverpool Science Park, said its £17m turnover is an 80% improvement on the previous year, while EBITDA of £6m is a 70% increase.

BioGrad said the growth is mainly due to the demand for COVID-19 testing during the pandemic, which has enabled the firm to diversify into other areas and build on its medical diagnostics expertise and reputation.

This has led to expansion by the firm which has taken a new 10,000 sq ft site at Wavertree Technology Park in a £2m investment, delivering laboratory spaces to future-proof the requirement for testing and life-sciences.

There has also been further reinvestment into the company to fund development and growth, specifically into stem-cell research and a bursary scheme which supports students from disadvantaged backgrounds with course fees.

The past year has also seen a strengthening of the BioGrad leadership team, including new group finance director, Faisal Arif, head of legal, Sue Wright, and commercial director, Lynsey Dalgish. BioGrad currently employs 100 people.

Dr Natalie Kenny, BioGrad CEO, said: “When COVID hit, we had a duty to use our laboratory spaces to enable as many schools and businesses to stay open through the pandemic, by affording them best value, quality testing regimes.

“We responded with a low cost, gold standard testing facility for our clients, then extended that to the wider public to keep the economy moving. I am, therefore, so very proud of these results, as it means we have been able to make a real difference during this crisis.”

She added: “We continue to stay true to our mission that everyone should have access to gold standard testing, healthcare and scientific education, and that focus has been instrumental in our success.

“That strive for quality meant that BioGrad was one of the founders of the Laboratory and Testing Industry Organisation (LTIO), an organisation created to monitor and ensure accurate, timely and competitively priced services are being provided by COVID-19 testing companies across the country.”

Faisal Arif, group finance director, said: “The BioGrad businesses are growing rapidly and we are now looking to increase it both in turnover and bottom line throughout the next 24 months. This will be done through diversifying into different areas, as we lead the way in medical diagnostics and life sciences.

“New revenue streams, other than PCR testing, will be introduced and will widen our customer base and offering. We also plan to work alongside the NHS for ECGs and ultrasounds, as well as other medical testing.

“Our new laboratories in Wavertree also provide us with a real opportunity to expand even further, and we actively welcome discussion with future partners and appraising strategic opportunities as they come by.”

He added: “At BioGrad, we aim to make sure that all of the financial milestones are met and that we are growing year on year , so we can continue to seek the right levels of investment when required. This will allow us to thrive and continue to be seen as leaders in the marketplace, with further acquisitions also on our radar, as and when these arise.”

BioGrad was set up in 2014 by Dr Kenny as a way to offer laboratory and clinical training to science students, graduate researchers and teachers from across the globe. BioGrad Education said it is the UK’s leading laboratory-based learning provider for scientists, attracting elite scientists from 526 institutes in 21 countries per year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, the company pivoted in response to the pandemic, creating BioGrad Diagnostics, providing a responsive and dynamic COVID-19 testing facility.