Scottish biotech firm’s shares jump 20% as China food allergy test approved

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SHARES in Omega Diagnostics rose almost 20 per cent after it posted news of approval for a food intolerance and allergy test 
in China.

The Alva-based biotech company’s shares reached 9.1p, up 19.7% on the report to the London Stock Exchange despite a delay in the deployment of its HIV testing kit in Nigeria.

The trading update in advance of its final results for the year ended March 31, 2020 included an impact assessment of the coronavirus pandemic, saying at this stage it has seen “minimal impact” from the outbreak on its food intolerance technology business and it expects revenues to be in-line with market expectation.

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The company announced that the National Medical Products Administration, formerly the China Food and Drug Administration, has approved its Food Detective test for laboratory use in China.

Omega, which specialises in tests for allergies, food intolerances and infectious diseases, said: “Our development team, working in conjunction with our distribution partner, has performed exceptionally well in developing a Chinese version of the Food Detective test and obtaining regulatory approval with the NMPA during what has been a difficult few months for everyone concerned throughout the world.”

Colin King, Omega chief executive, said: “I am delighted to receive the approval for one of our key strategic goals at this point in time. This is an excellent reward for all the hard work put in by both our and our partner’s teams, especially in these challenging times.”

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He said: “We will now focus our efforts to achieving the self-test approval in China in conjunction with 
our partner.”

The firm said that after the January announcement that it had received approval from the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health for its Visitect CD4 350 test to be deployed throughout the country, it has been told that ongoing work by purchasing agencies to analyse and set demand has taken longer than expected.

Omega said it is “in the process of stress-testing our business forecasts to include mitigation measures available to us”.

It has used £611,000 of a £2 million overdraft and 
expects EBITDA for the year ended March 31, 2020 
to be between £700,000 to £750,000.

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