Axis-shield (LON:ASD), the in vitro diagnostics company, has filed a patent application covering a novel technology for simplified and more efficient testing for vitamin D. The new test under development is potentially applicable to a wide range of instruments currently used in the clinical laboratory. According to Axis-Shield, existing methods of testing are complicated and require complex separation technology and denaturing solvents, making the tests difficult to operate on common clinical testing instruments. The new approach covered in the filed application addresses the need for easier and more precise methodology and utilises custom-engineered antibodies to identify specific and relevant vitamin D when complexed with a carrier protein.
It is now recognized that more than 50% of the world's population is at risk of vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency is involved in many bone diseases and has also been associated with other serious consequences including increased risk of common cancers, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases and cardiovascular disease. This renewed appreciation of the importance of this vitamin has led to an intense increase in demand for accurate methods of identifying deficiency and the recognition of the need for supplementation in many situations. Many clinical laboratories have reported yearly increases of more than 50% in physician-requested vitamin D tests and in some instances in France and the USA an increase in vitamin D testing as high as 80 to 90% has been noted.
Ian Gilham, Axis-Shield's chief executive, said: “We are very pleased to have identified a new widely applicable technique for the measurement of vitamin D and to have filed a patent application covering this innovative approach. We look forward to developing commercial assays which have the potential to transform ways of accurately measuring blood levels of this very important vitamin and to offer these to our partners supplying high throughput laboratory analysers.”
Elsewhere today, Axis-Shield reported that revenues had increased by 2.8% to £50.9m in the six months to end-June, with underlying pre-tax profits down to £2.8m from £3.6m last time due to increased investment in sales and marketing and product development and a reduction in CRP sales due to the weak flu season.
Commenting on the result, Mr Gilham said: “Axis-Shield continues to advance with sustainability and profitability despite operating in challenging market conditions. During the period we have been pleased to expand the commercial penetration of our core products into established and emerging markets and we continue to make progress with the development of new tests in areas of high market need. International trends for in vitro diagnostic testing remain favourable and I am pleased to report that trading so far in the second half of the financial year has been in line with our expectations. This is encouraging, although it is still too early to predict the strength of the coming winter's flu season sales. Bearing this in mind we move forward into the second half of the year with optimism.”
Filed Under: Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology,