A TECHNOLOGY firm hopes to break even next year as a “transformational” medical product takes hold, bosses have told The Northern Echo.

Kromek is targeting a $100m-a-year healthcare sub-sector with a new camera aimed at helping treat cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Officials expect the scanning apparatus to be introduced in China soon, with expansion into Europe and the US following thereafter, revealing there is “a lot of customer engagement at the moment”.

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They added the interest, allied to rising clamour for products across other industries, should help take yearon- year revenue growth to around 40 per cent, giving a stronger platform to record its first profit in the coming years.

Kromek, based at NetPark, in Sedgefield, County Durham, is already known for equipment capable of helping diagnose brittle bones and has been working on its latest camera for a number of years.

Dr Arnab Basu, chief executive at the business, which began as a research-focused spin out from Durham University’s physics department in the early 2000s, said the equipment would give Kromek an added edge in the single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) sector.

He also said that by supplying competitors of existing market mainstay GE Healthcare, Kromek will move closer to a previously-announced ambition of seeing earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and share-based payments (EBITDA) break even by next year.

He told the Echo: “The product is market ready and is best in class.

“The market opportunity (for the detector aspect) is $100m a year and we are engaging with it. This camera is transformational for the SPECT market.

“It is already used in hospitals but we have taken the technology from a black and white TV to an ultra-high-definition TV.

“The market is demanding this kind of technology and we are ready to serve.

“We are very excited.”

However, Dr Basu also confirmed Kromek will continue with another order book pillar, which sees the business supply equipment to foil terrorist plots.

Earlier this month, the company revealed its technology was used to protect US President Donald Trump and other world leaders during the recent Nato Security Summit in Belgium, while it has also sent thousands of radiation detectors to an agency of the US Department of Defense to help identify threats, such as ‘dirty bombs’.

Dr Basu, who previously told the Echo Kromek has translated a contract pipeline worth nearly £33m into tangible agreements over the last 20 months, added: “Our customers are growing and that is giving us more and more orders and large contracts that we are delivering on.”

He was speaking yesterday upon the announcement of Kromek’s full-year results for the period to April 30.

According to the figures, revenue increased 7.5 per cent to £9m in the period, with product sales accounting for nearly three quarters of total revenues.

EBITDA came in at a £1.5m loss, compared to £2.4m deficit a year ago, with pre-tax losses down from £4.1m to £3.8m.

Dr Basu added: “We are pleased with the growth in revenues this year, reflecting the delivery of long-term contracts won in previous years and contracts won during the year.

“In the 2017/18 fiscal year, Kromek is seeing a step change across all segments as we continue to execute on the large-scale contracts secured over the last 24 months.

“Additionally, we expect customers to launch products incorporating our technology, prompting additional orders to be placed as sales of these products accelerate.

As a result, the group expects to report year-on-year revenue growth of approximately 40 per cent.”

Kromek is also known for airport bottle scanners, which scour luggage for explosives.