Biotech company Osteopore (ASX: OSX) is continuing to see strong sales of its 3D-printed ‘bone healing’ implants as its Singaporean manufacturing facility remains fully operational amid COVID-19 containment measures.
The Australia and Singapore-based company is commercialising a range of 3D-printed bioresorbable scaffolds that are engineered to stimulate and facilitate natural tissue regeneration.
Osteopore executive director Geoff Pocock told Small Caps that sales are continuing to grow and have not been significantly impacted by COVID-19 to date.
According to the company, sales for the 2020 first quarter reached about S$270,000 (A$313,000), representing a 60% improvement on the first quarter of 2019.
“We’re not losing momentum; we are continuing to grow. The Q1 results were still very strong and we are still seeing opportunities for growth globally,” Mr Pocock said.
He also noted the company’s materials supply chain is unaffected given the Singapore government has deemed Osteopore’s manufacturing facility as an ‘essential’ operation that can remain open.
“We’re 3D printing products in our own operations in Singapore, so we have much more control over our supply chain and our manufacturing process,” he said.
“We’re not reliant on international supply chains to the same degree as a lot of other companies, who are finding supply chains a real challenge,” Mr Pocock added.
Supply chain preservation
While schools and many workplaces have been shutdown in Singapore to curb COVID-19 transmission and infection rates, the manufacturing and supply of healthcare-related products have been permitted to continue as essential services.
Mr Pocock said this means, along with companies formulating drugs and businesses manufacturing medical equipment or personal protective equipment such as face masks, Osteopore can continue to provide scaffolds for regenerative bone healing.
He noted the majority of procedures using Osteopore’s product are “not ‘non-essential’ like optional or elective surgeries”; while the bone regeneration space covers a wide range of therapeutic procedures, some are related to trauma and critical injuries.
While its manufacturing facility remains operational, Osteopore has implemented health measures in response to COVID-19 including scheduled cleaning practices and increasing electronic communications while encouraging staff to work remotely where possible and postponing non-essential travel.
“We have a minimum number of people possible on site to manage the manufacturing process, which means are able to continue to manufacture product and continue to get product out into the market,” Mr Pocock said.
Osteopore chief executive officer Goh Khoon Seng said in a statement that the recent sales results are “an important indicator of increasing demand for the company’s unique 3D printed resorbable implants”.
In an update to the market, the company said future sales growth will also be supported by expanding production capacity.
“The company remains confident that current capacity is sufficient to meet customer demand,” it stated.
Expansion strategy to continue
In February, Mr Pocock told Small Caps the company was focused on breaking into the US and China markets.
Today, he said this is still a long-term objective for the company with timing being the only uncertainty.
“We are still continuing to progress business development opportunities in the US and China … It’s hard to put firm time-frames on anything when you’re dealing with third parties, especially in this environment,” Mr Pocock said.
“We are seeing the Chinese market starting to come back and we’re starting to see a lot more increased economic activity and development in China.”
“The Chinese and US are both massive national economies that have a certain amount of momentum of their own,” he added.
In addition to China and the US, Mr Pocock said Australia is another market the company considers as a “valuable expansion opportunity” and remains to be a key strategic focus.
“We are continuing to work on all of those three markets – Australia, China and the US – as we continue to build our business profile and sales profile, not only for 2020 but for 2021 and beyond,” he said.