A Birmingham bioscience company has seen a surge in both profits and sales.
The Binding Site, a privately owned specialist diagnostic company, announced underlying sales growth of 18 per cent to £31.1 million and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) 14 per cent ahead at £6.6 million.
The latest success follows two major awards last year - the Queen's Award for Enterprise and being named November winner of The Birmingham Post Business Award.
Based in King's Heath, the company is a global leader in the development of immuno-diagnostic kits for use in laboratories.
It won the Queen's Award for the development of Freelite, a new assay - or blood test - for the diagnosis and monitoring of multiple myeloma, a type of bone marrow cancer.
Launched in 2000, Freelite is used in hospital laboratories worldwide to help diagnose the disease and monitor the effectiveness of treatment in chemotherapy patients.
The product has contributed to huge strides made in tackling a illness considered almost untreatable 20 years ago.
Previous diagnostic methods were not always as sensitive as Freelite, which allows doctors to use a simple blood test to monitor patients.
In rare forms of the disease, Freelite monitoring is the only way of assessing whether a patient is responding to therapy.
With about 1.5 million Freelite tests every year, sales of the product are growing and it has long-term growth potential.
Headed by Professor Jo Bradwell, the Binding Site was founded in 1983 by researchers at the Medical School of Birmingham University to develop innovative ways of producing antibodies. With a desire to continue this early work but lacking the required government funding they founded a private company to take the research forward and uti-lise any commercial benefits.
Today, the business has three main areas of activity - autoimmune disease diagnosis, antibody-based products and Freelite.
It employs more than 430 in the UK - 320 in Birmingham - the US and Europe.
In 1988 the company founded a base in San Diego, followed five years later with an operation in Germany. It also has sites in France and Spain.
According to the results for the year to September 30, Freelite sales surged 43 per cent to £8.3 million compared with the previous period - 49 per cent ahead on a constant currency basis.
The company also reported 25 per cent growth in North American sales.
Professor Bradwell, chairman, said: "The Binding Site has enjoyed a strong 2007, underpinned by growth in the US and a significant uptake of FreeliteTM.
"The introduction of the FreeliteTM testing regime to the market was an important development milestone for the company and we look forward to increased demand for this important product.
"In 2008 we will continue our focus on product development and marketing initiatives, as well as ensuring the company continues to manage its cost base appropriately. We believe these efforts will continue to yield excellent results and we are confident for the outlook over the coming year."
Gross profit to sales improved by 26 per cent compared with last year in spite of the impact of the weak US dollar. The dollar rate has a significant effect as 50 per cent of sales are in dollars whereas most of the cost of production is in pounds sterling.
The company increased investment in marketing and support areas by 30 per cent.
Other areas of expansion include extra investment in the numbers of FreeliteTM medical education staff, the establishment of a Canadian sales team, the setup of an additional branch in Spain, further spending in research and development and the unification of computer systems across the subsidiaries and branches.
The company stated: "Positive revenue and EBITDA growth has continued. The weakness of the dollar is expected to continue to influence profitability; the aim is to offset this through strong trading and partial currency hedging arrangements.
"Growth is expected to once again be driven by the increased demand for FreeliteTM. Overall, we are very confident for our 2008 prospects."