Pacific Edge focusing on expansion

Dunedin cancer diagnostic company Pacific Edge remains focused on expansion into its key United States market, having recorded its first North American revenue stream.

For its full year to March, Pacific Edge's revenue was up 187% to $523,000, with after-tax losses growing 44% from $6.9 million to $9.3 million, as expected; but with the company retaining $20.4 million cash in hand to fund expansion.

Earlier this week Pacific Edge signed its fourth diagnostic testing deal with a major US health provider, and with two more deals under negotiation, potentially covers half the American population via their health providers.

While Pacific Edge has now booked total losses of $43.88 million during the past decade, chief executive David Darling remains adamant gross annual revenues of $100 million are ''readily attainable'' by the end of its fifth full year of trading.

''We've got a growing list of customers and remain very close to budget,'' Mr Darling said when contacted yesterday.

Pacific Edge's mainstay product is its diagnostic non-invasive CX bladder test, which is much cheaper than conventional tests, and it is developing variations on this test and also doing research into colorectal cancer.

Pacific Edge shares traded down 6c to 91c following yesterday's announcement.

Craigs Investment Partners broker Peter McIntyre said the $9.3 million loss was anticipated and the company was ''maintaining a strategic plan, and running to it''

''If Pacific Edge take CX bladder [development] elsewhere to other forms of cancer detection, that could be very big for them,'' Mr McIntyre said.

Mr Darling said the roll-out of services in the US had been the dominant component of Pacific Edge's commercialisation programme, and would remain so this financial year in order to build scale.

''As part of this we will be rapidly growing our US sales team and ramping up our sales efforts in the USA,'' he said.

''Significant funds'' would be used during the year to increase customer numbers, particularly the ''high volume user groups'', which were practices of 40 or more urologists.

As an example of increasing scale, he said in New Zealand there were about 40 urologists, compared with several practices across the US with 40-50 urologists per practice.

For the year to March, foreign exchange gains of $571,000 were booked, compared with a $33,000 loss a year earlier; with this year's foreign exchange gain larger than the $523,000 revenue.

When asked, Mr Darling said for a New Zealand company looking to repatriate funds the company had '' a very well defined, and sophisticated'' hedging strategy in place.

He declined to give an update on actual test numbers, since they began in the US in the second half of 2013, or to provide any guidance on expectations for the current year.

He said pricing per test ''varied hugely'' given different subsidies available and to divide revenue by the number of tests did not give an accurate picture.

 

simon.hartley@odt.co.nz

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