Better sterol sales lift Forbes' capital

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Related tags: Sterol, Revenue, Forbes

Strong growth in revenues has improved working capital at
phytosterol maker Forbes Medi-Tech this year, which should help
further growth in the nutraceutical activities.

The company announced a contract for future sales of its Reducol brand phytosterols with Iljin Pharmaceuticals in South Korea earlier this year but it is still looking for new contracts and partnership initiatives to lift sales of the product.

Increased capital will also go towards expanding the pharmaceutical development pipeline, said Charles Butt, CEO of Forbes Medi-Tech​. The novel therapeutic and cholesterol absorption inhibitor FM-VP4 is currently being tested in Phase II human clinical trials in Amsterdam. The company has also begun to explore anti-obesity, anti-diabetic, and anti-inflammatory indications from its FM-VPx compounds.

The Canadian company this week reported that revenues had risen 62 per cent to C$10.3 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2003 compared to C$6.4 million for the same period in 2002. Revenues in the third quarter went up 161 per cent. Approval for use of the phytosterol heart-health claim by the FDA in March this year was a welcome boost for the cholesterol-lowering Reducol.

The company also edged into profit with net earnings of C$0.9 million (C$0.04 per share) compared with a net loss of C$1.0 million (C$0.05 per share) for the nine months ended September 30, 2002.

Forbes attributed the improvement to its share of sales by the new Phyto-Source joint venture in Pasadena, Texas, as well as cost containment measures in administration and R&D, and the receipt of Quebec provincial investment tax credits of C$0.6 million in the first quarter.

It has also received a US$3.0 million partial loan repayment from Phyto-Source and completed a US$4.8 equity financing with BioAsia acting as lead investor.

Along with increased sterol revenues, this allowed it to boost its net cash and cash equivalents to C$9.7 million compared with C$0.4 million in December 31, 2002 while working capital is currently up to C$8.4 million from a deficit of C$3.5 million in December last year.

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