Atencio’s firm to make Philab’s dengue test kits
Businessman Januario Jesus Atencio, a strategic investor at publicly-listed healthcare and biotech firm Philab Holdings Corp., has acquired a five-year license to manufacture and distribute the latter’s proprietary dengue testing kits.
With the rollout of LABit dengue testing kits alongside the medical laboratory business of Philab Industries, Philab Holdings chair and CEO Hector Thomas Navasero said Philab Holding might make a turn around next year. The goal is to attain a double-digit growth in net income for both LABit and the laboratory equipment business.
In a briefing on Wednesday, Navasero announced that a five-year licensing agreement for LABit to manufacture and distribute dengue testing kits had been signed with Atencio’s Januarius Holdings Inc. (JHI).
“This has given the company much-needed momentum to scale-up the production of these test kits and provide ample marketing support,” he said.
“It’s the kind of product that we need and the market is wide open. With the need to prevent infectious diseases, Januarius (Holdings) likes this product,” Atencio said. “As we become more affluent as a country, health becomes a greater priority.”
Atencio recently became Philab’s second largest creditor by acquiring P200 million worth of debt paper which formed part of the assets unlocked after investment house Ampersand Capital was shut down. On top of these, he acquired 500 million shares in Philab, or 18.4 percent equity.
Navasero described the LABit dengue testing kit as “the world’s smallest screening laboratory,” adding that the test could be administered at home from day one of a person’s fever. A child typically gets fever at an average of 10 times each year, he said. “Early detection saves lives of children,” he added.
The LABit kit will be sold for P350 each. This is seen to translate to big savings just to get diagnosed, which will otherwise cost at least P1,300 to P2,500 if a patient goes straight to the hospital.
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