OMEGA Diagnostics has signalled it is on course for a 41% hike in profits and said early results of field trials of its HIV testing kit have been encouraging.

The life sciences company expects annual revenue to be around 3% ahead at £11.59 million in the 12 months to March 31 this year.

Adjusted profit before tax is pencilled in to be £1.1 million, compared to £780,000 in the previous year.

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The boost is on the back of greater sales in the higher margin food intolerance segment which is likely to be up 18% from £4.39 million to £5.18 million.

That will help to offset falls in sales at both the infectious disease and allergy and autoimmune parts of the Alva, Clackmannanshire, business.

Andrew Shepherd, chief executive, said: "We are pleased with the overall performance of our core business leading to increased profitability significantly ahead of the growth in revenue."

The AIM-listed firm said its keenly anticipated Visitect CD4 HIV testing kit has now been used on more than 200 patient samples in Kenya and 60 in India.

Omega said the African study also included testing of a smartphone app which scans the results of the tests and can upload them to a central server.

The system monitors the blood cell count of HIV positive patients and helps to identify when drug therapy is needed.

It can take two weeks for current tests to be done in laboratories but the Omega one can produce results in the field in around 40 minutes.

Yesterday the company said: "Initial feedback from healthcare operators in the field confirms the evaluations are progressing well.

"The company continues to strengthen its relationships with key aid and procurement agencies and continues to develop a strong marketing presence in the HIV/AIDS global health arena.

"The board remains very confident that Visitect CD4 will deliver significant shareholder value."

Omega confirmed it is also moving forward with meeting regulatory requirements to gain a CE mark for the test.

Progress is still being made on developing 40 allergen products for the IDS-iSYS system, which is used in laboratories around the world.

The board said it has increased confidence in the commercialisation of the products.

House broker Finncap said the CD4 trials were showing "remarkably rapid" progress and were encouraged by the allergy update.

The 35p share price target was maintained.

Shares closed down 0.25p, or 1%, at 27.25p.