Consort Medical plc is pleased to announce today the establishment of a development contract with Atlas, as part of Consort's growth strategy to seek new opportunities where it can use its unique capabilities in design for high volume manufacture in regulated markets. Atlas is a UK-based privately owned healthcare technology company with an ultra-rapid point of care (POC) diagnostics platform. Consort's Bespak division will undertake design for manufacture work to prepare the disposable test cards that are a core component of the Atlas system and has also been awarded long term manufacturing rights for the card.
Consort's investment in Atlas
As part of this strategic partnership, Consort has also invested £1.1 million of cash to acquire a 19.5% stake in Atlas. It has also undertaken to invest an additional £0.4 million by the end of March 2012, most likely as part of a future fund raising round. Consort will also obtain a non-executive seat on the Board of Atlas.
POC diagnostics offers health professionals the ability to test for medical conditions at the site of patient care. Atlas has developed a flexible POC technology platform, which has been designed to accurately and quickly diagnose a wide range of medical conditions within a 30 minute time frame. The Atlas system consists of an inexpensive test machine into which a disposable card containing a patient sample is inserted. The platform is scheduled to launch within Europe by the end of 2012, followed by rollout in the United States, pending regulatory approvals. Atlas is developing tests for a range of infectious diseases including hospital acquired infections, sexually transmitted diseases and meningitis. The Atlas system will initially be launched for the testing of Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea, allowing clinicians to test and treat patients in a single appointment. Around 40 million tests are carried out for these diseases in Europe and the US every year. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial sexually transmitted disease (STD), with prevalence rates in young people between 5-10%, whilst Gonorrhoea is the second most commonly reported STD.
Comments from Consort's Chief Executive Officer
Jon Glenn, Chief Executive Officer, commented: "We are delighted to execute a further step in our strategy of driving growth in Bespak by the identification of new fast growing healthcare markets in which we can utilise our unique design and manufacturing skills. We believe that the POC diagnostics market offers high growth opportunities for high volume manufacture of disposable cards for disease diagnosis." "Atlas' technology has the potential to revolutionise the testing and treatment of infectious diseases and we believe that the combination of our manufacturing scale and expertise to their technological strength will offer a compelling solution."
Comments from Atlas' Chief Executive Officer
John Clarkson, Chief Executive Officer, commented: "We are extremely pleased to be working in partnership with Consort to progress the Atlas platform to market. Consort's track record and expertise in high volume manufacturing of complex medical devices will help ensure a rapid development path to our target markets."
About Consort Medical
Consort Medical plc is a leader in medical devices for drug delivery and device technologies. The Group develops drug delivery systems for the pharmaceutical industry and disposable airway management products for critical care settings in hospitals. Consort Medical develops and manufactures metered dose inhaler valves, auto-injectors, needle free injectors, actuators, compliance aids, dry powder devices, disposable facemasks, breathing circuits, video laryngoscopes and laryngeal tubes. The Group has a Head Office in Hemel Hempstead, UK and manufacturing facilities in King's Lynn, Norfolk, and Nelson, Lancashire in the UK, Indianapolis, Indiana and Kent, Ohio in the US. Consort Medical is a public company quoted on the full list of the London Stock Exchange (LSE: CSRT).
The infectious disease testing market
The worldwide in vitro diagnostic sales for infectious disease testing is estimated to be worth $9 Billion by 2012. Atlas intends to enter a sub-segment of this market initially, including tests for hospital acquired infections, sexually transmitted diseases and meningitis.