Bethlehem’s OraSure Technologies is looking forward to becoming profitable in 2015 thanks in part to a deal with biopharm firm AbbVie of Chicago, which will give OraSure $75 million for exclusive rights to sell OraSure’s rapid Hepatitis C test, the OraQuickHCV Rapid Test, for the next five-and-a-half years.
According to Ron Spair, chief operating officer, that agreement, along with up to $55 million in potential success fees in the deal and other internal measures, should lead to a full year of profitability in 2015.
The company, which has seen increasing revenue since the release of several diagnostic products, including the OraQuickHCV Rapid Test, has seen ongoing quarterly losses, in part a result of the high cost of product development and marketing new products.
With the incoming revenue being spread out quarterly through December 2019, the company still is predicting a short-term loss, with a loss for the second quarter of 2014.
The company is predicting revenue of between $26 million and $26.5 million in the quarter, with a loss of between 8 and 9 cents per share.
Spair said the announcement of the AbbVie deal is not only excellent news for the company, but for the general public as well.
He noted that up to two-thirds of people who have Hepatitis C do not know it, and baby boomers may be the largest segment of the population to unwittingly carry the virus.
With new treatment, he said, a person can be cured within 12 weeks of treatment.
“We’re very excited about the ability to get people tested for HepC and indentified and cured. It’s good for the company and good for society,” he said.
Spair said the agreement is a good one for AbbVie as well because it gives it the exclusive use of the only rapid HCV test that is Food and Drug Administration-approved.
“The ability to work with the test is valuable in it allows them to identify people more quickly and get them the treatment they need,” he said.