Biotech firm gets £2.5m in sales from ground-breaking pre-natal test

MANCHESTER biotech company Premaitha Health has reeled in £2.5m in sales in the first full year of commercialisation of its IONA non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT) for Downs Syndrome.

During the year, the company made considerable progress in establishing an initial customer base of laboratories which are now processing tests for hospitals in the UK, Poland, Switzerland, France, Russia and the Middle East.

“This resulted in the sale of over 17,000 tests in our first commercial year, generating £2.5m in sales for Premaitha,” the Adam Reynolds, non-executive chairman of the listed company, said today (Thursday October 27).

“The international landscape for non-invasive prenatal testing is evolving very considerably in Premaitha’s favour – with numerous countries moving towards making this safer testing procedure more freely and readily available through public health services.

“We expect the UK to soon make NIPT freely available to high risk women on the NHS and for other countries to follow suit.

“The IONA test is a fully CE approved system and is exceptionally well placed to win significant market share as awareness of the availability of NIPT increases.
A total of 11 laboratories are now operational, and two more are due to go live before Christmas, he said.
“We are very encouraged by the growth we have seen in the Middle East and we are focusing substantial efforts within this region and in Asia Pacific and hope to announce shortly a number of sizeable commercial agreements,” continued Reynolds.

“The demand within these territories for NIPT is very strong and in particular the quality of product offered by the IONA test is a source of competitive advantage.”

However, the company is still troubled by patent infringement proceedings relating to IONA launched by US company Illumina, but Premaitha is not alone, said Reynolds.

“We are not the only party receiving their attentions,” he said. “We are mounting a vigorous defence, taking decisive steps to de-risk the business through geographic diversification, and we are encouraged by the intervention of the European Commission with an investigation into potentially anti-competitive behaviour by Illumina and Sequenom.”