May 17, 2020

Bayer announces rise in group sales for Q2 but warns of lower full-year earnings than expected

Marcus Lawrence
2 min
German pharmaceutical giant Bayer has announced a 9% rise in group sales to €9.48bn for Q2 2018, aided in part by the contribution of recently acquire...

German pharmaceutical giant Bayer has announced a 9% rise in group sales to €9.48bn for Q2 2018, aided in part by the contribution of recently acquired Monsanto.

Despite this group sales increase, Bayer also announced that its full-year sales and earnings statement would likely fail to meet projections.

Financial Times attributed this warning to delays in the completion of its deal to take control of Monsanto, an American agrochemical, crops, and seeds company.

“Shares in Bayer fell more than 2 per cent on Wednesday morning after the German pharmaceuticals and chemicals group said it had counted on a stronger contribution from Monsanto to lift its full-year results”, Financial times said.

It added: “The US crops and seeds company traditionally generates most of its sales and earnings in the first half of the year, but Bayer only started consolidating Monsanto’s results on June 7”.

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Bayer’s US$63bn acquisition of Monsanto, including debt, faced protracted and thorough regulatory scrutiny from both American and European competition watchdogs.

The deal resultantly took far longer to complete than Bayer anticipated, and the firm is now hoping to reach €39bn in sales, inclusive of Monsanto’s contribution, for the full year.

It is expected that the acquisition, while tumultuous in its development, will greatly benefit Bayer’s financial prospects as well as its opportunities to innovate in the agricultural sector.

Liam Condon, Member of the Bayer Board of Management of Bayer AG and President of Crop Science, said of the Monsanto acquisition: “Today’s milestone means that the two leading innovators in agriculture will now come together as one to shape agriculture through breakthrough innovation for the benefit of farmers, consumers, and our planet”.

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Jun 15, 2021

 NHS trials test that predicts sepsis 3 days in advance 

2 min
Queen Alexandra Hospital is trialling a new sepsis test by Presymptom Health that uses machine learning to detect the onset of the disease

A new test that can predict sepsis before the patient develops symptoms is being trialled at a National Health Service (NHS) hospital in the south of England. 

Clinicians at Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital are leading medical trials of the blood test, which they hope will help them save thousands of lives a year. 

The test is being developed by government spin-out company Presymptom Health, but the research began over 10 years ago at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). This included a study of 4,385 patients and more than 70,000 samples, the largest study of its kind at the time. 

From the samples taken, a clinical biobank and database were generated and then mined using machine learning to identify biomarker signatures that could predict the onset of sepsis. The researchers found they were able to provide an early warning of sepsis up to three days ahead of illness with an accuracy of up to 90%.

Unlike most other tests, Presymptom Health identifies the patient’s response to the disease as opposed to detecting the pathogen. This is an important differentiator, as sepsis occurs as a result of the patient's immune system’s overreaction to an infection or injury, which can then cause life-threatening organ dysfunction. 

Worldwide, an estimated 49 million people a year contract sepsis, while in the UK almost two million patients admitted to hospital each year are thought to be at risk of developing the condition. If Presymptom's test is effective, it could save billions of pounds globally and improve clinical outcomes for millions of sepsis patients.

The initial trials at Queen Alexandra Hospital will last 12 months, with two other sites planned to go live this summer. Up to 600 patients admitted to hospital with respiratory tract infections will be given the option to participate in the trial. The data collected will be independently assessed and used to refine and validate the test, which could be available for broader NHS use within two years. 

If successful, this test could also identify sepsis arising from other infections before symptoms appear, which could potentially include future waves of COVID-19 and other pandemics.

Dr Roman Lukaszewski, the lead Dstl scientist behind the innovation, said: “It is incredible to see this test, which we had originally begun to develop to help service personnel survive injury and infection on the front line, is now being used for the wider UK population, including those fighting COVID-19.”

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