A TECHNOLOGY firm is pressing ahead in a “turning point year” after securing a £1.1m healthcare contract, its boss has told The Northern Echo.

Dr Arnab Basu says Kromek is primed for further growth, including expansion in a near £1bn medical market, after strengthening its international reputation with a raft of contracts.

He also confirmed the business is edging closer to its first profit, with progress to trim earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) losses to £300,000 a marker of its progress.

The business has grown in recent years, with contracts to supply equipment capable of diagnosing medical ailments complemented by security agreements to supply airport bottle scanners capable of spotting explosives.

It has also sent thousands of radiation detectors to US security chiefs to help identify threats including ‘dirty bombs’, and is a qualified contractor on a £6m US Department of Defense framework.

However, Dr Basu said the firm, based at NetPark, in Sedgefield, County Durham, is ready to make another leap forward, highlighting a new £1.1m, four-year arrangement to supply cameras for the single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) sector.

Aimed at helping treat cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease in a $100m-a-year healthcare sub-sector, Dr Basu said the camera is gaining increasing traction as customers look beyond market mainstay GE Healthcare.

“SPECT is one of the key growth drivers for us and we are already achieving some really good validation,” said Dr Basu.

“It is a big step in the right direction for us.

“We are starting to see some evidence of what we have spoken about previously and ticked a few boxes.”

Dr Basu previously told the Echo that Kromek was enjoying “a lot of customer engagement” for its SPECT equipment, saying its camera “has taken technology from black and white to an ultra-highdefinition TV”.

He also revealed that a Chinese introduction of its scanning apparatus would be followed by anticipated expansion into Europe and the US.

Speaking today (Tuesday, December 19), he said such clamour, which includes a previously-announced five-year deal worth at least £4m to support osteoporosis work, will put Kromek in a good place as it heads towards EBITDA break-even.

Referring to financial results that showed half-year revenue to October 31 was up 27 per cent to £4.8m, with EBITDA losses halved to £300,000, Dr Basu said the business has manoeuvred itself into a good position.

He said: “Kromek is all about better treatment, whether that is for cancer, dementia, osteoporosis, and the identification of dirty bombs and explosives.

“We are winning new customers and retaining old ones; we are not depending on one customer and the finances are showing that.

“The business is building a fairly large customer base, and this is a turning point year for Kromek.

“We have secured a number of contracts over the last few years and these are now filtering through to revenues, while ninety per cent of revenues came from product sales.

"The big aim is to be EBITDA positive.”

Kromek, which began as a research-focused spin out from Durham University’s physics department in the early 2000s, saw pre-tax losses remain stable at £1.8m in its half-year, with its gross margin rising from 53 per cent to 63 per cent.

Earlier this year, the firm revealed a £1.5m deal to provide xray apparatus for baggage security screening systems.

It also secured a separate £2.5m deal to supply parts for security systems designed to detect homemade bombs.