Losses mount in difficult year for biotech company

Biotech business, Aptamer Group, says tough macroeconomic conditions contributed to a challenging year as it releases its full year results for the 12 months ended 30 June 2023.

Aptamer recorded revenues of £1.8m (2022: £4m) and a pre-tax loss of £8.3m (2022: £2.6m pre-tax loss). It reported an adjusted EBITDA loss of £4.7m (2022: £1.7m loss).

The York-based business now has a new management team in place and says it has “reset” its strategy to focus on achieving EBITDA and cash breakeven within two years.

Steve Hull, executive chairman, said: “The company has a leading technology platform that is in high demand across the life sciences industry, in supporting researchers and developers overcome many of the limitations of antibodies and allow them to advance novel technology solutions to drive healthcare forward.

“While the past year has been difficult for Aptamer, with contributory challenging macroeconomic conditions, the company, invigorated by the new Board, is now showing good momentum and success in expanding current partnerships and winning new contracts.

“The new Board has reset the group’s cost-base and revenue expectations. In addition, it has completed an extensive process improvement programme to support improved selections, which will reduce sample requirements and improve margins.”

Aptamer develops Optimer ® binders, which can be used as synthetic alternatives to antibodies.

The company notes that during the year, its operational progress was not matched by revenues.

It explains an “encouraging and active pipeline of new business” has taken longer to convert into revenues, especially licensing and royalty-based contracts, against a background of significant macro and sector headwinds.

Aptamer adds it is concentrating on tight cost discipline, with budgeted costs for premises, overheads and development, directors, and staff cut from about £6.4m (unaudited) in the year ended 30 June 2023 to around £3.5m for the current financial year.

This cost base reset was completed by 30 September 2023, and included a reduction in staff headcount, which the business says was achieved without any redundancies by allowing natural attrition in staff numbers.

The firm’s update states: “To achieve EBITDA and cash breakeven position during the year ending 30 June 2025, the company is targeting revenue of £3m for the current financial year, rising to £6m for the year ending 30 June 2026.

“These figures are significantly lower than previous targets and reflect a change of emphasis in setting expectations.”

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