Wednesday 16 October 2019

Venn Life Sciences reports loss in 'challenging' year

Cathal Friel CEO of Venn
Cathal Friel CEO of Venn
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Listed clinical trials firm Venn Life Sciences reported an earnings loss – before exceptional items – of €1.43m in the 12 months to 31 December 2018.

This is a swing on the profit of €830,000 made the prior year, according to annual results from the group.

Total revenue at the group, which earlier last month was acquired by pharma services business Open Orphan in a reverse takeover, was €14.3m in 2018, a decline on the €17.8m in revenue reported in 2017.

During 2018 the group recorded a write down of €2.2m on the impairment of intangible assets.

Cathal Friel, CEO of Venn, described 2018 as “challenging” for the company.

“The new board has taken a very prudent approach to all matters associated with the past performance of Venn and is comfortable that the company now has a solid platform from which to move forward,” Mr Friel said.

“We are optimistic that with the commencement of deferred projects and a new business focus on Rare and Orphan indications, as demonstrated by the proposed acquisition of Open Orphan, that the business can return to revenue growth in the near term."

Loss for the year after tax was €4.8m, while the group had cash and cash equivalents of €1.1m at year-end.

So far this year the company said it has experienced a continuation of prior year trends with low utilisation resulting in revenue and earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) being behind management forecasts for the year to date.

Based on the current proposals book the directors expect there should be an increase in revenues in the coming months, according the Venn.

However, the company said it still requires “careful management of available cash resources and the directors expect additional financial resources to be required in order for the company to successfully execute its growth strategy”.

Shareholders are expected to vote to approve the Venn's takeover in June, as well as a name change to Open Orphan PLC.

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