Fresh from a surging stock market performance as the necessity and importance of lateral flow tests truly comes to the global fore, we feature Abingdon Health in the ShareBuyers’ Going for Growth series.
Against a backdrop of economies fully opening up, COVID-19 cases increasing and studies highlighting differing immune responses to vaccines, the spotlight has been firmly placed on COVID-19 lateral flow tests, not only on for antigen testing but also antibody testing.
Now we speak to Chris Yates, CEO of Abingdon Health who reveals why he feels the business is one of the best players in the industry to satisfy ongoing lateral flow test demand related to both COVID and non-COVID applications as Abingdon Health enters its next phase of growth with a new range of products.
Firstly, please can you tell us about Abingdon Health and its core value proposition?
Abingdon Health is a lateral flow development and manufacturing business with sites in York and Doncaster. Our mission is to improve life through making rapid testing accessible to all and our vision to be a leading global automated lateral flow manufacturer of lateral flow tests. We work in partnership with our customers and offer them a full contract service and we have the ability to take a project from idea to high throughput automated manufacture. Our R&D team have over 150 years of experience in developing lateral flow tests and we offer our customers the latest automated manufacturing solutions.
The latest example of how our manufacturing expertise has been deployed can be seen with our recent announcement supporting the launch of the BioSURE COVID-19 IgG Antibody Self Test. In July we signed an exclusive manufacturing agreement with BioSure (UK) Limited (“BioSure”), an existing company where we manufacture their HIV self-test. The new Antibody self-test has now been launched by BioSure and we manufacture this for them having supported a pilot production run and full tech transfer to ensure the product is suitable for mass manufacture. This product allows individuals to monitor their own antibody status at home, a great step forward in the management of COVID-19.
Last year was admittedly tough for many businesses – how did this environment impact Abingdon Health?
The last year was clearly challenging and our number one priority was the health and safety our of employees during the pandemic. We did see a significant increase in the demand for lateral flow products and services in the past twelve months driven predominantly by the increased requirement for COVID-19 lateral flow tests across the globe.
We strongly believe that this demand for COVID-19 lateral flow tests will continue into the medium-term and will also drive market acceptance and adoption of self-testing and professional testing in a range of other lateral flow markets including infectious disease testing, other clinical markets, animal health, plant and environmental health testing.
Moving forward, economies look set to sustainably kick-start once more – how will this help your business?
Businesses getting back to work will drive the need for both COVID-19 antibody and antigen testing to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on unlocking the economy. In addition, we should see additional non-COVID-19 lateral flow testing opportunities arise as the widespread acceptance of lateral flow testing drives the development of new tests and the expansion of the market.
Economies getting back up and running should drive confidence leading to more investment in new projects, including lateral flow projects, which should support our development pipeline going forwards.
Growth catalysts are vital for any business to appreciate in value. What are the key ones to drive your business forward?
The lateral flow market is projected to reach USD 10.2 billion by 2025 from USD 8.2 billion in 2020, at a CAGR of 4.5% during the forecast period (Source: MarketsandMarkets). The key drivers will include the increased adoption of home testing in the infectious disease market and in other clinical markets, driven by increasingly market acceptance of lateral flow testing due to the increase in COVID-19 testing. In addition, we believe there will be a drive to have development and manufacturing performed closer to the end-user market and this should see an increase in on-shoring of lateral flow test manufacture.
On a macro-level there remains a pressing need to manage healthcare costs for example given an increasingly elderly population and the impact of COVID-19 which has led to unprecedented demands on healthcare systems globally. Lateral flow testing is cost-effective and easy-to-use and can support a decentralisation of testing and a therefore a reduction in healthcare costs whilst also allowing quicker decision-making and application of treatments which should ultimately improve patient outcomes.
Finally, lateral flow testing can be combined with digital solutions (e.g. apps) which are now coming of age in the healthcare market; this simplifies the transfer of results and allows quicker, more seamless integration with healthcare systems.
Imagine you find yourself in a lift with Warren Buffett. What would be your ‘elevator pitch’ to summarize why he should invest?
Abingdon Health is a development and manufacturing engine in a lateral flow testing market that is undergoing a paradigm shift driven in part by the widespread adoption of testing during the COVID-19. Abingdon’s vast experience in lateral flow testing and its investment in the latest automated manufacturing means it is best placed to significantly grow its contract service customer base and own products revenues. We have made good progress in building a broader contract development and manufacturing organisation, with a number of new contract wins for both COVID and non-COVID products.
We have now completed the latest phase of our capacity expansion plans and have in place state-of-the-art automated manufacturing capacities that will be used to drive value with a number of programmes expected to complete tech transfer and move to volume manufacturing in the next few months.
In 2021 we delivered 123% growth in sales, generating revenues of circa £11.6m for the year ended 30 June 2021 (FY 2020: £5.2m). We are now focussed on the next phase of the Company’s growth as we continue to manufacture an increasing portfolio of products.
Please note: this interview with Abingdon Health forms part of the ShareBuyers’ going for growth series. This series allows companies big and small to share their growth story with retail investors.