Kim Forest Enterprise Co (金萬林), which focuses on molecular testing, yesterday reported that revenue last month doubled from a year earlier to a record NT$54.04 million (US$1.95 million) as domestic demand for COVID-19 testing rose amid an outbreak in Taiwan.
Almost half of the revenue was generated by a laboratory established to assist hospitals in Taipei with COVID-19 testing, as hospitals did not have enough staff to handle the rising number of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, Kim Forest spokesman Vincent Yang (楊文明) told the Taipei Times by telephone.
Although samples must be collected by doctors or nurses, as the invasive process requires a long swab to be inserted into the subject’s nasal cavity, laboratory technologists can conduct certain steps including extracting samples and testing, Yang said.
Photo courtesy of Chi Mei Medical Center
As Kim Forest produces test kits for SARS-CoV-2 — which causes COVID-19 — supplies its own PCR machines and is an agent for foreign-made PCR machines, its labs have ample capacity to facilitate testing, he said.
“We can analyze up to 10,000 samples a day, which is more than is needed, as the maximum number of samples collected in Taipei in a day is about 2,000,” Yang said.
Kim Forest’s labs have worked with the government’s COVID-19 testing program and several private companies that paid to have their employees tested, with help from hospitals, he said.
Although the lab entity is not a company, Kim Forest owns it, so could still recognize the revenue into its consolidated figures, he said.
Twenty percent of last month’s revenue was from sales of detection kits, Yang said, adding that many hospitals purchased kits from the firm, as they have been granted emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Moreover, its kits can be used with many styles of diagnosis machines, he said.
“The revenue structure is different from last year, when the main source of revenue was overseas sales of PCR machines,” Yang said. “Demand for kits and testing was lower last year, as the pandemic was relatively contained in Taiwan.”
Marketing activity for Kim Forest’s PCR machines was restricted, as staff could not easily visit hospitals or schools amid a level 3 alert, Yang said.
However, the company is confident that sales would pick up this year, as the Ministry of Health and Welfare has announced a subsidy of NT$5 million for each hospital assigned as a testing location.
In the first five months of this year, Kim Forest’s cumulative revenue grew 76.43 percent annually to NT$164 million, company data showed.
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