Omega Diagnostics awarded grant for HIV test

Omega Diagnostics has been awarded a grant of up to 150,000 pounds from Scottish Enterprise to help scale up manufacturing facilities for the company's new CD4 test for monitoring HIV positive patients.

Omega Diagnostics has been awarded a grant of up to 150,000 pounds from Scottish Enterprise to help scale up manufacturing facilities for the company's new CD4 test for monitoring HIV positive patients.

The facility will be located at the company's headquarters in Alva, Central Scotland and the grant will be payable in three installments dependent on the attainment of employment targets and capital expenditure.

The project is split into two phases: the first phase being conversion of a part of the existing premises to meet initial customer demand and a second phase to allow further scale up to meet future anticipated demand. It is expected that a first instalment of £32,000 will be received in the current financial year.

Dr Robin Campbell, healthcare analyst, at House Broker Seymour Pierce has a 'buy' recommendation with a price target of 25p on the stock. He commented that CD4 testing is a bottleneck in starting anti-HIV drug therapy, particularly in emerging economies with poorly funded healthcare systems.

Therefore, a convenient, low-cost point-of-care (POC) test would be a boon for healthcare workers in helping identify HIV-positive sufferers with declining CD4 counts - the World Health Organisations's guideline is for anti-HIV drug therapy for those with counts below 350 cells/microlitre of blood.

He added: "Omega Diagnostic's Visitect CD4 test (one drop from a finger prick, result in 40 minutes) is set to be the only lower cost, low complexity POC test on the market. ODX plans to make commercial quantities of product for evaluation by December this year. There are over 20m HIV-positive individuals in developing countries."

CM

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