Australia's Gradipore has reported a 65 per cent increase in sales for the year ended 30 June, but said that it was disappointed by the figures, which did not meet its expectations.
The company, which specialises in biological separation technologies, made an operating loss of A$16.7 million (€9.9m) after posting sales of A$5.5 million.
"Sales revenue fell significantly short of expectations and this shortfall was the major cause of the company's failure to meet its financial targets for the year," commented Gradipore's executive chairman Prof Jeremy Davis, although he added that restructuring costs had also played a part.
Last year, Gradipore undertook a major effort to expands its separation technologies business from lab- to commercial-scale, via the formation of a dedicated commercial separations division.
The effort is focused on the company's Gradiflow technology, a membrane based preparative electrophoresis system that can be used for a range of applications, including the production of monoclonal antibodies, recombinant and transgenic proteins and vaccines, as well as plasma fractionation and pathogen removal.
" A difficult global environment … characterised by over-capacity and industry rationalisation, hampered efforts by Gradipore to achieve projected levels of commercial take-up of the Gradiflow technology," said the firm in a statement. As a result, Gradipore has altered its strategy and will focus on niche markets.
No production agreements were entered into during the year, but Gradipore signed contracts with Cangene, Advantek Biologics and Serologicals that together contributed income of A$1.5 million.
Also during the year the Gradiflow BF400 research instrument was launched. Initial interest has been high, according to the company, but has yet to translate into sales. However, it predicted that a renewed focus on the life sciences sector will assist sales efforts for this instrument in the current year.
Revenues in Gradipore's electrophoresis gels business rose 60 per cent but were held back by production problems, while turnover in the diagnostics business went up 20 per cent to A$3 million.
The company is concerned about its cash balance, given that it does not expect to achieve positive cash flow in 2004, but said that current reserves should last it for at least 12 months. Gradipore cut some of its staff in January and expects to reduce operating costs in the current financial year by a third.