Medical testing kit company Immunodiagnostic Systems (IDS) has announced plans to open an operation in Brazil as part of a strategy to expand its geographical reach.
The South Tyneside business, which makes testing kits for the research and clinical markets, said it is recruiting a sales and support team to staff the operation in Sao Paolo, which will act as a sales and distribution for the BRIC nation as well as a hub for the South American market in general.
The move comes as the firm announced a 13% rise in half-yearly revenues, to £26.9m for the six months to September 30, and closing net funds of £24.3m, up from £19.6m.
The company, which employs 100 people, says clinics and laboratories are gradually turning away from using manual testing kits and buying the automated variety, prompting them to focus more on their IDS-iSYS product, an automated testing kit which can diagnose a range of diseases within hours.
This trend is reflected in the half-year figures which showed revenues for the automated product were up 37% to £11.2m, while revenues from manual tests decreased by 14% to £11.4m.
As well as making progressing on developing its product and its strategy to sign agreements with overseas partners – which saw it link up with Beijing Leadman Biochemistry Technology Co as a distributor – the business is significantly expanding its geographic footprint elsewhere.
Chief finance officer Chris Yates said: “We are really pleased with the progress we have made on our strategy, and we have made good progress in terms of the BRIC nations.
“We have been looking at the Brazil market for the last 12 to 18 months. It’s worth more than $1bn and growing by 6% to 8% a year so it’s a significant opportunity.
“We considered various options in terms of how we tackle Brazil and went down the direct route and have appointed Denise Schwartz who is a very capable general manager with around 30 years’ diagnostic experience, and having the right personnel in place means we feel confident that the direct route is the way to go.
“We will have a sales team and a support team based in Sao Paolo. The numbers won’t be enormous but we are six to nine months away from having a product on the market.”
Chief executive Patrik Dahlen said more partnerships will follow, having selected a preferred distribution partner for both the Russian and Indian markets. Distribution partners are being sought in other territories, with South Korea and Japan as their priorities, and talks are already underway in high growth emerging markets.
He said: “A number of discussions are underway that could lead to additional long-term development collaborations.
“We anticipate agreements being in place by the end of this financial year.”