Oxford BioDynamics plc (LON:OBD), a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of epigenetic biomarkers, based on regulatory 3D genome architecture, using its liquid biopsy platform EpiSwitch™, announced today that it expects to announce its interim results for the half-year ended 31 March 2020 on 16 June 2020.
The Group also provides an update on the actions it is taking in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Group remains in a strong position and is pleased to be playing a role in the fight against the coronavirus.
Trading update and response to COVID-19
OBD was pleased to announce on 30 April its involvement in the Chief Scientist Office of Scotland-funded GETAFIX clinical study alongside Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, University of Glasgow, and NHS Scotland. The Group’s Episwitch™ technology was chosen as the biomarker platform for prognostic and predictive profiling of COVID-19 patients in the study. Our contribution to this important study will be a priority, along with ongoing work on existing projects, over the coming few months.
The Group’s newly-appointed Chief Executive Officer, Dr Jon Burrows, joined the Company in late March. Jon has been working closely with OBD’s senior executives to position the Group to be ready to benefit from the adoption of its unique and valuable technology platform, EpiSwitch™, by a growing customer base.
The COVID-19 pandemic has already had an impact, which is expected to continue, on the timing of certain existing projects, directly as a result of delays in receipt of blood samples, especially from cohorts of patients who are considered particularly vulnerable to serious illness from a COVID-19 infection. In addition, travel restrictions worldwide have impacted business development activity. The likely severity and duration of the pandemic and its impact on OBD’s customers’ activities remains uncertain. In light of the open-ended nature of the crisis and associated impact on the Company’s operations, the Board is unable to provide guidance for the current fiscal year. The Company will provide further updates to the market as and when there is greater clarity on the impact of COVID-19 on its operations and business development activities.
Notwithstanding these issues, the Group is in a strong position to navigate the current crisis. Cash and fixed term deposits at 30 September 2019 were £15.5m, sufficient to fund planned activity for several years. To date, none of the Company’s UK employees has been put on furlough. The Group does not expect to need to apply for support under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. Activity continues on several projects including the receipt, in April 2020, of the first patient samples to be analysed under the master services agreement announced on 20 December 2019, which granted a major US pharmaceutical company access to OBD’s unique EpiSwitch™ technology for use in the development of predictive biomarkers.
The Company is doing everything possible to keep its employees safe. To this end, since the announcement of ‘lockdown’ guidance and a movement control order by the UK and Malaysian governments respectively, most OBD staff have been working remotely from home. Small teams of essential laboratory personnel have continued to work at our facilities, following strict social distancing rules.
Jon Burrows, Oxford BioDynamics CEO, comments “It is without doubt both an exceptional and exciting time to have joined OBD as its CEO. Whilst this is of course a difficult time for many throughout the world, it is inspiring to be leading OBD as we play our part in the global research-driven fight against coronavirus. Additionally, I am pleased that we have been able to continue to support our customers and staff during these uncertain times. After several weeks in my post now, I am extremely positive about the position of the Company and I look forward to providing a more detailed update in June.”