Sunday, September 12, 2021

Silver linings in covid clouds

 Oxford Nanopore

Oxford Nanopore's flotation on the London stock exchange is expected to  exceed a £2.4bn valuation achieved at a fundraising round in May, and plans to tap into the growing genomic sequencing market, estimated to be worth $5.7bn.


The London-listed, Swiss-based company has developed a surgical mask with an ultra-thin copper coating that destroys viruses and bacteria. HeiQ launched its “Viroblock” technology in March 2020, just as the pandemic hit, and today it is used by 150 major brands. Revenues were up by 80% last year. By the end of 2020 the company had listed on the London stock exchange, raising £60m. Chief executive Carlo Centonze called the pandemic a “tipping point for antimicrobial textiles”.


Synairgen’s share price has soared by 342% since July 2020 when the University of Southampton spinout made a major breakthrough with a coronavirus treatment. The company has gone from fewer than 20 employees before Covid to about 100, including freelancers. Analysts at Numis are forecasting revenue of up to £582m from the Covid treatment next year.

Oxford Biomedica

Oxford Biomedica is one of the companies making the Covid-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca.  Biomedica has made tens of millions of doses of the AstraZeneca jab and doubled its estimate for vaccine revenues to £100m in May. It expects “significant” growth in operating profits this year from last year’s £7.3m.

Croda International

Croda supplies the particles for the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, and is involved in more than 100 Covid-19 projects worldwide. This has sent its sales and profits soaring, and catapulted its share price to record levels.

The company is on track to make at least $200m from lipid systems this year, twice as much as originally thought, as Pfizer and BioNTech have ramped up vaccine production and aim to produce 3 billion jabs this year and 4 billion next. Annual profits, Croda said in late July, would be “significantly ahead” of forecasts, after a record first-half profit of £230m, up 50% on 2020 and 35% on 2019.

Test providers

The pandemic has spawned a new breed of Covid-19 test makers, such as Abingdon Health, Novacyt, Omega Diagnostics and Genedrive.

Novacyt, an Anglo-French firm listed in London, launched the first coronavirus test in Europe in January 2020 and clinched lucrative government contracts. Chief executive Graham Mullis hailed a “year of transformation” in 2020 in which the future of Novacyt had been secured and it had repaid all long-term debt. Novacyt’s revenues in the six months to June rose 50% to £95m, with £41m from the government still in dispute.

Abingdon’s share price jumped in late August when it launched a £32.85 fingerprick test that tells people whether they are protected against coronavirus after vaccination or infection. 

Russ Mould of stockbroker AJ Bell says: “Should the virus refuse to go away, that could yet stir fresh enthusiasm for these firms and their prospects, and even if Covid is finally beaten off, many employers and individuals could yet stick with testing programmes by way of reassurance or even as a means of reopening for business.”

A year that changed the world – and medical companies’ fortunes | Pharmaceuticals industry | The Guardian

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