Provalis Takes Pounds 10m Diabetes Gamble; HEALTHCARE: Multi-Million-Pound Share Offer to Finance Development of Over-the-Counter Test for Symptoms
Byline: JAMES PRITCHARD London Reporter
HEALTHCARE group Provalis is to take a pounds 10m gamble on the way diabetes will be diagnosed and monitored in the future.
The Deeside-based-company announced yesterday that it is to raise a multi-million-pound war chest with a placing of 96 million shares.
Under the offer, which is being underwritten jointly by Rothschild and Beeson Gregory, one new share will be available at 11.25p each for every five currently held by shareholders.
About pounds 9m of the money raised will be used to develop an over-thecounter test for the symptoms of diabetes called Micro G, with the remaining pounds 1m used to established a direct distribution sales force.
Management at Provalis hopes that by the time Micro G launches in 2005-2006, people in the UK will have altered their attitudes towards diabetes and will see the condition as something they can take an active role in preventing and identifying.
Chief executive Phil Gould said yesterday that the evidence from the United States suggested that would be the case.
"Currently in America the wellness market, as it is known, is growing very rapidly, " he said.
"The message has got through there that diabetes is something, which the individual can take responsibility for with their lifestyle, and also with a testing regime if they are considered to be at risk.
"It is that market in the US, and the potential for something similar in the UK, which this product will be seeking to exploit.
"Roughly 5pc of people have diabetes in one form or another and it is estimated that around a half of them have no idea they have the condition.
"This product will be about helping people to test themselves at a much earlier stage than has currently been the case, and hopefully they can then take the kind of steps to deal with the condition."
Currently Provalis successfully markets the Glycosal diabetes test, which has allowed GPs' surgeries and clinics to test patients while they wait and the technology used in that product will be adapted for the over-thecounter test. …