THE boss of drugs testing company Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings (IDS) is stepping aside after 14 years at the helm.
Dr Roger Duggan, who will stay on the board of Boldon-based business as deputy chairman, will head an international business development unit for IDS when he quits as chief executive in the autumn.
He will be succeeded by chief operating officer Ian Cookson, who aims to lead the business to the next stage of its phenomenal growth.
The changes were announced as IDS, which makes machines and kits to test for vitamin D, revealed its annual sales had jumped by 49% to £37.1m in the year to the end of March. Profits (EBITDA – earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation) rose by 114% to £14.9m as demand increased for its vitamin testing equipment.
The figures refer to the period before IDS received the long-awaited approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to sell its key vitamin D testing machine, the IDS-iSYS, in America.
Dr Duggan said: “This will be a transforming step in the US. It’s going to change the model.
“The US has become the biggest market. Globally, it accounts for 45% of the world market in diagnostics. We are seeing a continued growth in the vitamin D market and we have benefited from that. We have seen growth in demand for all our products and vitamin D has been particularly strong.”
IDS sold or placed 74 IDS-iSYS machines during the year and a further 26 have been placed since the start of April. But the main driver for growth was a 74% increase in sales of its manual vitamin D testing kits which hit £22m.
Dr Duggan, who has headed IDS for 14 years, will move across to lead an international business development group, also operating from Boldon, later this year.
He said: “I’m getting slightly older. I’ve been at the forefront since the MBO in 1996. The company has grown in size and complexity since then. I think Ian has the better skill sets [to take it on] and I can get back to the entrepreneurial work that I enjoy.”
The new group will look at emerging technologies and will involve people from Germany, Scandinavia and the US.
“I am looking forward to leading some talented younger colleagues in the newly-formed business development group,” he said.
“IDS has identified a number of highly attractive avenues to pursue with a number of prestigious research institutes and innovative companies in Europe and the USA, and potential additions to the IDS family.
“In the forthcoming months and years, I am confident that we will secure rights, by licence or acquisition, to some very exciting products, markets and technologies.”
The company’s brokers Brewin Dolphin said IDS had delivered “another sterling set of results” which were slightly ahead of expectations.
And it welcomed the appointment of Mr Cookson as incoming chief executive, whom it said was “a very strong operator”.