Paris based diagnostics firm Novacyt (NYCT:AIM) said it had received total sales worth £40m as of 1 June and had a further £80m of contracted orders.

However, shares dropped 7% to 312p on disappointment that France's public health body had not approved the test for reimbursement.

Despite receiving clinical approval on 6 April from the Institut Pasteur, the internationally renowned centre for biomedical research, the body that advises the French government on medical reimbursement has not yet approved the Covid-19 test because it has been developed with one single gene target.

Chief executive Graham Mullis commented, ‘despite the decision from HAS not to reimburse our COVID-19 test, we will continue to offer the test for private patient testing and evaluate new ways of supporting the French market.’

FAST DEVELOPMENT

Novacyt was fast out of the blocks in the current pandemic, launching its novel coronavirus testing kit in January, making it one of the first such kits to come to market.

The test has the ability to only detect the Covid-19 strain and return results in less than two hours. The product is sold in over 130 countries with the two top markets being the UK and Germany.

Production capacity was increased in mid-April to a rate of four million kits a month, with a target of reaching eight million by mid-July by ramping up its own production in Southampton as well as signing manufacturing agreements with UK based firms BioPharma Process Services Limited and Biofortuna Limited.

NEW MARKETS AND PRODUCTS

Today the company announced it had won a tender to supply the Medicines Control Authority of Zimabwe with 1.5 million test kits, the largest contract outside the UK so far. Half a million kits will be shipped immediately with the rest of the order to be shipped in coming weeks.

The firm has also secured regulatory approval to sell its kits in Panama, Ecuador, Columbia, Peru, Paraguay and the United Arab Emirates.

As reported in May, Novacyt will launch its next generation testing kits this month followed by a mobile version in July. The latest design removes the complexity of automated extraction systems.

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Issue Date: 02 Jun 2020