Novacyt also remains committed to its surveillance programme of analysing the Company's selected gene targets for COVID-19 against new mutations of the virus to demonstrate ongoing accuracy and performance of its tests. To date, the Company's PCR product portfolio, based around a single and a two gene target for COVID-19, remains able to detect all published strains of SARS-CoV-2 with the same high level of accuracy.
To support growth, the Company continues to scale the business internally. During 2020, Novacyt hired 124 people, with significant increases across manufacturing, sales and R&D operations. Post period end, Novacyt also expanded its executive team. James McCarthy was appointed as Chief Financial Officer to support the Company as it enters its next stage of growth. Anthony Dyer has taken on a new role as Chief Corporate Development Officer to focus on executing against the Company's ambitious organic growth and innovation strategy, as well as its M&A strategy to supplement growth initiatives. Novacyt has also appointed Guillermo Raimondo to the newly formed, non-Board role of Chief Commercial Officer to lead the Company's global commercial operations. Previously, Guillermo had a successful career at Siemens Healthineers where his last two roles were as Regional President and more recently Executive Vice President Global Marketing & Sales, responsible for $4 billion of global revenues.
Novacyt has had a strong start to 2021 across the business, with demand for the COVID-19 product portfolio remaining strong. At this early stage in the year, it is difficult to provide a clear forecast on the financial performance for full year 2021. However, the Directors believe demand for the Company's COVID-19 product portfolio will remain strong throughout most of 2021, with continued conversion of new opportunities, including a number of planned product launches, and the expansion of the Company's VersaLab™ service to support private sector testing of infectious diseases, initially focused on COVID-19.
In addition, the Company continues to support the DHSC and the NHS following the deployment of its rapid PCR testing system, for the contract with the DHSC, announced on 29 September 2020, and the Company is in active discussions with the DHSC to extend this phase of the contract. Novacyt's PROmate™, a new product to improve the workflow efficiency when used with the Company's q16/q32 instruments successfully completed an in-service validation conducted by Test and Trace's Technology Validation Group (TVG), with the TVG concluding the performance of the PROmate™ aligns with the acceptable standard for point-of-care (rapid testing).
With the strengthened cash position of the Company, the business is able to continue to invest in innovation, organic expansion and external business development, in line with its growth strategy, to leverage its strong momentum as a leading European molecular diagnostic player in infectious diseases. Organically, Novacyt will continue to invest in its commercial infrastructure to deliver new products, as the Company continues to redefine its R&D pipeline and establish a direct sales force in key markets in the US and across Europe. The Company also continues to evaluate M&A opportunities and will consider additional bolt-on acquisitions to add strategic assets and functionality to the expanding Group.
The Company expects to announce its full year results in April 2021.
Graham Mullis, Group CEO of Novacyt, commented:
"2020 has been transformational for Novacyt. We have cemented our early mover advantage of developing one of the first tests for COVID-19 into an established position within COVID-19 testing and the broader diagnostics market. We have signed significant contracts with national governments, supplied our products to over 130 countries globally and continued to develop innovative testing capabilities to support laboratories and clinicians during these challenging times.