Portland-based bovine health products maker ImmuCell Corp. suffered a net loss of $2.3 million in 2018 despite experiencing an increase in sales revenue compared with the previous year, the company reported Wednesday.

One reason for the net loss was an increase in product development expenses. ImmuCell, which focuses on natural products that can replace antibiotics in the beef and dairy industries, spent over $3.5 million on new product development in 2018, compared with about $2 million the previous year.

The company also recorded depreciation and amortization expenses of $1.5 million in 2018 on a new $20 million production facility that is not yet generating sales because the product it was built to manufacture, a new treatment for mastitis in lactating dairy cows, has not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“We’re taking a lot of depreciation on that new facility, and we’re not making any revenue on it,” ImmuCell President and CEO Michael Brigham said, adding that the FDA approval process can be frustratingly long. “There’s not much we can do about it.”

Overall, ImmuCell’s revenue in 2018 was $11 million, up 5 percent from $10.4 million in 2017. Its net loss of $2.3 million, or 42 cents per share, was significantly larger than the previous year’s net loss of $168,000, or 3 cents per share.

In the fourth quarter of 2018, ImmuCell generated revenue of $2.9 million, down 6 percent from $3.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2017. It experienced a quarterly net loss of $1.1 million, or 19 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $195,000, or 4 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Brigham expects the company to have a much better year in 2019, particularly in the second half when ImmuCell will be able to catch up on a backlog of orders for its Tri-Shield natural immunization booster.

The company also plans to reach a significant milestone this month with its mastitis treatment by submitting the first product samples to the FDA for approval, Brigham said. Meanwhile, he said sales of another natural immunization product called First Defense, remain strong.

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @jcraiganderson

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