Posted: 6 March 2020

Sales for Tonsley-based manufacturer Micro-X have soared in the last few weeks with increased urgent orders for its portable x-ray machines likely to be linked to the global coronavirus outbreak.

Micro-X produces a lightweight, portable x-ray machine, the Carestream DRX Revolution Nano which the company understands is being used to test patients diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus.

“Early-stage diagnosis of coronavirus is by a blood test to confirm the infectious agent, and a chest x-ray is used as an essential part of diagnosis of the development and progression of the severity of the illness,” the company said in an update to the market.

“Like with pneumonia, a chest x-ray is used to detect fluid in the lungs, particularly with patients presenting with severe acute respiratory distress.”

An ASX listed hi-tech company, Micro-X has developed and commercialised a range of innovative products for the global health and security markets, based on proprietary cold cathode, carbon nanotube emitter technology. The electronic control of emitters with this technology enables the company to produce x-ray machines that are significantly smaller in size and weight and need less power s, enabling greater mobility and ease of use.

Micro-X has had $A1.8 million of sales orders for its Nano x-ray units for the current quarter, with $A1 million in purchase orders alone since 13 February 2020. This compares to $1.9 million for the whole FY19, demonstrating significant growth and uptake of the product. The number was boosted by more orders in the week starting March 2 from  customers in Asia and Europe.

“As with the previous purchase orders, there is a requirement for urgent delivery within a four -week time frame,” the company statement said.

“The orders do not specify the end customer use although it is understood that due to the size and urgency of the orders, some of these Nano units are to be deployed in connection with the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic.”

Shares in the company have also spiked with the surge in orders. Shares were as high as 36 cents in September 2019 but took a plunge back to only 13 cents in early February. Following the recent influx of purchase orders, the share price hit 20 cents on 17 February and 21 cents on 6 March.

Micro-X managing director Peter Rowland said the company was pleased that its mobile x-ray units were being used in response to the global epidemic.

“With the alarming state of this growing epidemic, we are pleased that our Nano mobile x-ray units are being used to assist in diagnosis and management of this new respiratory virus,” he said.

“For more patients, COVID-19 begins and ends in their lungs because, like the flu, coronaviruses are respiratory diseases and chest x-rays remain a key tool in monitoring the progression of the pneumonia-like symptoms of severe coronavirus infection.”

“The number of countries no ordering the Nano also illustrates a growing awareness of the product and its capabilities which has longer term benefits for increasing adoption.”

Health and medical devices are one of the focus sectors at Tonsley, which is being developed by Renewal SA on behalf of the State Government as an innovation district on the 61-hectare site of the former Mitsubishi car manufacturing facility in southern Adelaide.