Diagnostics play Universal Biosensors has $7 million more cash on hand compared with this time last year, but lower sales of a key blood coagulation test has put a dampener on half-year revenue.

Universal (ASX:UBI) makes electrochemical cells that can be used to measure biomarkers in the blood and can be used for a range of diagnostic procedures.

Electrochemical based blood tests have been on the market for some time but have always presented challenges. Using electrochemical cells can make it hard to correct for chemical interferences or differences in patient’s red blood cell numbers to start with.

Universal Biosensors created an approach which can counter some of these variations and provide more accurate test results.

Its products include blood glucose monitoring tools and a test to measure the effects of blood thinner warfarin.

The company sells testing strips to Siemens Health Diagnostics for clinicians to test “prothrombin time”, which in turn will tell doctors if patients are taking too much blood thinner.

But sales have taken a hit since Simens reduced its orders.

Universal’s June quarter financials — out today — reveal it generated $13.5 million in revenue this half, compared with $14.3 million last year.

Universal Biosensors (ASX:UBI) share price, past 12 months.

Revenue from the sale of “Xprecia Stride PT-INR test strips” was $900,000 in the first half compared to $2.3 million in the same period last year.

“These lower revenues are consistent with earlier management guidance indicating high levels of customer inventory build-up orders from Siemens during Q1 to Q3 2017,” the company said.

“As per previous guidance, UBI’s management expects that PT-INR test strip volume and revenues will be sequentially lower for 2018 until the Xprecia Stride product gains meaningful global market share.”

The company is continuing to spend on research and development, including a self-testing blood test device.

However, it’s also shoring up its cash position, increasing cash on hand to $31.4 million at the end of the quarter, compared with $23 million this time last year.

It also spent $1 million less of its cashflow on operating expenses last quarter compared with the same period last year.

The business generated $8 million in customer receipts in the June quarter and burned $1.7 million. It spent $3.2 million on staffing costs.

In the 12 months to December 2017, Universal Biosensors made $25 million in revenue and posted a loss of $700,000.

The business is also gearing up to repay a $15 million loan from the Athryium Opportunities Fund, which was originally set up in 2013.

The loan will come due in June 2019, and Universal Biosensors is currently holding just over $19 million in US dollars to prepare for the repayment.