Zila, an international provider of healthcare and biotechnology products and services for dental/medical professionals and consumers, said that higher sales in its third quarter had helped it to reduce its net losses during the same period.
Third quarter sales increased 52 per cent to $8.35 million (€8.7m) from $5.48 million a year earlier. As a result, net losses from continuing operations were cut from 4.88 million in Q3 20011 to $2.23 million in fiscal 2002, a 54 per cent improvement.
"There were several notable improvements in the third quarter compared to the same period last year," said Zila's president Doug Burkett. He said that net revenues from the firm's Inter-Cal Nutraceuticals division increased by 84 per cent to $4.6 million from $2.5 million due primarily to increased sales of Ester-C products (resulting from more aggressive radio and TV advertising), higher sales of Palmettx saw palmetto products, and improved international sales.
Net revenues for Zila Professional Pharmaceuticals increased 59 per cent to $1.5 million from the previous year, due largely to a significant rise in Peridex product sales. Zila Consumer Pharmaceuticals produced a seven per cent increase in its net revenues to $2.2 million, while the Innovative Swab Technologies division saw its sales rise 26 per cent to $301,000.
Revenues for the first nine months of fiscal 2002 rose 17 per cent to $26 million from $22.2 million a year before, helping the company to cut its nine month net loss from continuing operations to $6.1 million from $7.04 million.
The third quarter also saw the company invest in its OraTest/Zila Tolonium Chloride programme, which includes a phase III trial of its OraTest oral cancer detection product and Zila's tolonium chloride research, development and manufacturing effort.
Burkett said the company would have to invest further in the OraTest trial, but that the company believed that it would have sufficient funds for the clinical trial for the next fiscal year, provided that the sale of its Dental Supply mail order business is completed as planned. Further financing will be needed to support the OraTest clinical trial and regulatory, manufacturing and marketing costs beyond 2003, however, and various potential sources are being considered, including strategic partners, venture capital and the equity markets.
"We are implementing an intense effort to focus on our core objectives: building our pharmaceutical and nutraceutical business; improving efficiencies and cutting costs throughout the company; eliminating unprofitable projects; and ensuring funding for the OraTest programme," Burkett said. "These efforts are part of a broader initiative to steer the company back towards positive cash flow and profitability, and to realise the full potential of Zila's tolonium chloride technology."
He added: "We expect to begin seeing the results of our efforts in the fourth quarter, when we believe we will have break-even-to-positive EBITDA and a significantly reduced loss from continuing operations compared to the third quarter. We expect to achieve this even as the company continues to increase the number of OraTest clinical trial sites and the rate of patient enrollment."