AFT Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures the Maxigesic painkiller, narrowed its first-half loss and said it is still on track to return to profitability this financial year or the next as it increases the number of markets where its products are sold.

The Auckland-based company reported a net loss of $6.9 million, or 7 cents per share, in the six months to September 30 from a loss of $11m, or 40 cents, in the prior period.

Operating revenue was $36.6m versus $29.8m in the prior period, primarily due to growth in the Australian market, it said. Australia's operating revenue grew 38 per cent to $20.2m and now makes up 55 per cent of the group's operating revenue.

"We anticipate Australia will continue to experience strong growth, particularly with the re-scheduling of codeine-based painkillers from over-the-counter to prescription only from February 1, 2018," the company said, though it noted there is potential for a degree of patient stockpiling of codeine which could delay the uptake of products such as Maxigesic.


New Zealand revenue grew 5 per cent to $14.1m and now represents 39 per cent of the group total.

AFT's Southeast Asia revenue was up 14 per cent to $600,000 and the main market continues to be Singapore with over-the-counter-growth.

In the rest of the world, its revenue was up 38 per cent to $1.6m. It sells products in Italy, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and Israel, and has added smaller markets such as Malta and Brunei.

Maxigesic is now being sold in 10 countries and is licensed in 124, up from 110 in the 2017 financial year.

AFT said there will be further launches prior to the end of the current financial year but noted the number will be lower than previously thought, due to slower regulatory transfers of the European Union licences.

While the timing of sales in different parts of the world remains difficult to determine due to the multitude of countries and differing regulatory requirements "the estimates from licensees continue to indicate that the sales will increase significantly over the next two to four years, with new launches, growth in already launched markets and new line extensions," it said.

As a result "we remain confident that we will return to profitability during the FY2018 or FY2019 time period," the company said, though timing will be dependent upon finalisation of a number of significant out-licensing agreements currently under arrangement.

Regarding new products, its NasoSURF - a sinus treatment medical device - development is proceeding.


The company has completed one clinical study in the US, there is one underway and an additional two are slated to take place before the end of the financial year.

A further two studies will be needed in FY2019 and "completion of this program in order to file the registration in major territories is now a major development focus," it said.

The shares were unchanged at $2.46, having dropped 11 per cent so far this year.