LBT Innovations (ASX:LBT) receives purchase order for multiple APAS instruments


by Lauren Evans

LBT Innovations Limited (ASX:LBT) CEO and Managing Director Brent Barnes discuses the company's recent sales win and its distribution agreement with distributor Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Lauren Evans: Hi. This is Lauren Evans for the Finance News Network. Joining me from LBT Innovations (ASX:LBT) is CEO and Managing Director Brent Barnes. Brent, nice to see you again and welcome back to the network.

Brent Barnes: Hey, Lauren.

Lauren Evans: Today you received purchase orders for five of your APAS Independence instruments from Thermo Fisher. Can you tell us more about this?

Brent Barnes: Absolutely. Look, first, for those new to the LBT story, we appointed Thermo Fisher Scientific as our exclusive distributor for our automated plate assessment system or our APAS product in the United States, so the very end of September of last year. So, since then, we've, as you would expect, done the onboarding activities where Thermo's brought the product in behind their brand and in behind their sales team. And today, look, we're really pleased that just after six months of them being formally appointed, they've placed an order for five APAS Independence instruments. And this is really the kind of support, the market traction that they're getting from customers since taking it on in the US. I think, for shareholders, it really demonstrates that positive market traction in a relatively short period of time. And, to put it into context, over the last two years without Thermo, we've sold five instruments. So after six months they've placed a PO for five, which I think is a really great indication of the product market fit that we're seeing in the US.

Lauren Evans: So you've said previously that the sales cycle is typically 12 to 18 months, but this order has come just after six months of Thermo being appointed. Why is this?

Brent Barnes: Look, I'd point out that we have a confluence of interest between our APAS product and Thermo's media. So, in other words, APAS automatically reads and interprets the media that Thermo manufacture and already distribute, and in fact are real leaders in that category within the US, and in fact globally. So, what it means is that Thermo's already got a customer relationship database. They have in-depth market knowledge. They obviously know where they sell their media. And what that has allowed them to do is to identify those customers perhaps with the greatest need for automation. That's been really successful. I think the true benefit of someone like Thermo is their brand, their reach. It's just impossible for a company like ours to be able to do that. We've got a single person there in the US and have had someone for the last couple of years. And so we see now with that brand and that geographical reach with Thermo, things and that traction improving. The other thing just to add there is COVID. In certain states, we're seeing some easing of some of those restrictions. So, we're able to get back in front of customers again, which we also see as a positive sign on a go-forward basis.

Lauren Evans: And what impact do these sales have with respect to your recent full acquisition of Clever Culture Systems?

Brent Barnes: As a refresh for shareholders, Clever Culture Systems was a joint venture company we set up actually in 2013 to commercialise the APAS product. At the very, very end of last year, we completed the acquisition of the outstanding 50 per cent of that business. So, it means that now Clever Culture Systems, or CCS, is a 100 per cent wholly owned subsidiary of LBT Innovations. So, back to your question, it simply means that, following that acquisition, 100 per cent of the revenues of the instrument purchase, in addition to 100 per cent of the annual software licence, comes directly to LBT through Clever Culture Systems.

Lauren Evans: And the last question from me, Brent -- what can we expect from the company in regards to near-term activity?

Brent Barnes: We're coming up to a really busy travel time. It's conference season. And it's really fantastic that international travel has opened up again. One of our employees recently travelled to the US. That was the first time we had someone go overseas in the last two years. Look, this week in the UK, we have a booth at a conference, the Institute of Biomedical Sciences. I understand that's being well-attended, which is really fantastic. I'm going to be in Europe next week. And then, in April, we've got a team going to the largest conference of the year. This is the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. We've got five posters that have been accepted as part of that. And that's really important, building up that scientific body of evidence, which obviously creates acceptance for the product. And then, in June, we go to the US and we've got the American Society for Microbiology meeting. So, it's a really busy couple of months that we've got going forward. And obviously working with our partners in Thermo Fisher and Beckman Coulter, supporting them, getting the brand out there as well. So, look, today's announcement's a fantastic way to start the first quarter of the calendar year, and we see this as a really positive sign of commercial progress for the rest of this calendar year.

Lauren Evans: Well, Brent Barnes, thanks so much for the update. We look forward to hearing from you again later in the year.

Brent Barnes: Thanks, Lauren.


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