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Updated: February 28, 2022

Portland-based biotech ImmuCell posts 45% sales increase for Q4

Michael Brigham with arms folded in a lab File Photo / Tim Greenway Michael F. Brigham, ImmuCell president and CEO

ImmuCell Corp. (Nasdaq: ICCC), a Portland-based biotech company that makes health products for cattle, last week posted double-digit sales increases for both the fourth quarter and full year of 2021. The company also shrank its net loss for the year. 

During the three-month period ended Dec. 31, 2021, sales grew by 45%, or $1.7 million, over the same period a year earlier, to $5.4 million. Sales for all of 2021 increased by 25%, or $3.9 million, over 2020 to $19.2 million. 

Michael F. Brigham, the company's president and CEO, said that the year-on-year sales increase "helped us to dramatically improve our bottom-line results, as we increased production output to capture this growth in demand while managing our backlog of orders."

ImmuCell reported 2021 net operating income of $257,000, in contrast to a net operating loss of $1.4 million the previous year. That helped the company shrink its 2021 net loss to $78,000, or 1 cent per share, from a 2020 net loss of $1 million, or 14 cents per share.

The company manufactures First Defense, which is used to fight E. coli and other virus infections in newborn dairy and beef calves.

ImmuCell is also in the late stages of developing Re-Tain, a treatment for a common disease in dairy cows.

Boosting production capacity

Brigham said the company increased output of its First Defense product line in the fourth quarter of 2021 to an annualized rate of around $22.9 million, and has started investments to increase the annual production capacity to around $35 million by the end of 2022.

Sharing further details in a conference call with investors and analysts, Brigham said that as of the end of every quarter since March 31, 2020, ImmuCell has had a backlog of orders for FirstDefense. ImmuCell received a $500,000 loan from Maine Technology Institute in 2020 to boost production capacity.

ImmuCell, which is awaiting approval for Re-Tain from the Food and Drug Administration, expects a response from the regulatory body in early August on its latest submission, according to Brigham. He said the response "will determine whether we will be able to commence market launch of Re-Tain early fourth quarter of 2022."

In the conference call, Brigham said that Re-Tain benefits animal welfare and enhances food safety and sustainability by using a so-called petite antimicrobial that is not used in human medicine.

"This is important because the overuse of traditional antibiotics is thought to create antibiotic resistance, which is an ongoing public health concern," he said.

ImmuCell has a market value of around $63.3 million, based on Friday's closing share price of $8.18. The stock has lost around 28% of its value in the past year.

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