CRO biz key to Epistem’s growth in FY 2009

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Fiscal year

Epistem says its focus on epithelial stem cell services and growth of its CRO and biomarker businesses helped it to stave off the downturn and post a strong set of financials of the fiscal year ended June 30.

The UK biotech firm, which provides a range of research, drug discover and biomarker services, saw revenues increase 92 per cent year-on-year to £3.9m (€4.2m) with contract research revenues alone growing some 20 per cent.

A company spokesman told Outsourcing-Parma that there had been “strong demand across our oncology, mucositis and IBD offerings. We also saw an expanded scope and demand under our US NIH biodefence contract​.”

He explained that after an initial “knee jerk” reaction to the downturn, which saw many drug firms cut R&D spending, the market stabilised in the second half of the financial year, helping Epistem to its first profitable year.

We operate in a specialised field of biology with few companies providing similar services. This has provided some defence to the general market downturn, but we need to remain vigilant to ensuring we remain at the forefront of new technology developments in the field.

Our mixed 'portfolio' of divisional growth is also seldom seen in the biotech sector so this too has helped as we have differentiated ourselves as a rapidly growing business model with the potential for further significant upside.”

He also highlighted the performance of the firm’s biomarker division which, in its first full year of operation, generated revenues of £700,000.

Drivers​included increased regulatory demands for biomarkers correlating with drug effect and better understanding of gene expression mechanisms of action, exposure and drug dose scheduling​.”

Novartis development deal

Epistem’s novel therapies division also had a good year, thanks largely to its deal with Swiss drugmaker Novartis. The accord, which was signed in March, is focused on developing regenerative medicines for a number of epithelial disease areas.

The collaboration with Novartis is the first drug discovery collaboration for the Company and validates our technology strength in drug discovery. The objective of the collaboration is new drug lead generation and we are excited by the progress, opportunity and financial value which [it] presents​.”

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