Opyl (ASX:OPL) has delivered its first-ever profit as healthcare companies begin to realise the potential of using social media for market research and clinical trial recruitment.

Opyl announced on Thursday that it had swung to $21,658 in profit in the six months to December 31, compared to a $843,233 loss in the same period in 2019.

It made $487,444 in revenue for the six month period, predominantly thanks to an increase of 33 percent in client revenue, , an R&D tax incentive rebate and timely government COVID relief support..

The company is in the business of delivering social media insights and analysis to the biopharma and medtech sector, and COVID-19 conditions “dramatically” increased their interest, Opyl said.

Revenue from the social media insights team increased 109 per cent during the period, and all of Opyl’s biopharma and medtech retainer clients have re-signed with Opyl for 2021, even though the company lost a third of them at the start of the pandemic.

“Opyl is at a very exciting crossroads,” said CEO Michelle Gallaher. “The company is well positioned to accelerate into the $US64 billion ($81.7 billion) global clinical trial services market in the coming months with a competitive recruitment offering, leveraging our deep in-house expertise in social media advertising in health and search engine optimisation.”

The company appointed former Cochlear, Coca-Cola Amatil and Aristocrat Leisure executive Mark Ziirsen to its board during the half-year and made three strategic hires to expand its capacity in sales, insights and social media advertising.

What’s ahead for 2021

This half-year looks to be just as busy for Opyl, which is planning to launch its clinical trial recruitment platform at the end of March. The web-enabled platform will leverage the considerable in-house social and digital marketing consulting team and service that Opyl currently offers to its clients.

The company is also working on its AI tool that uses machine learning and the emerging field of ‘explainable AI’ to predict the outcome of clinical trials before they are complete.

The software platform completed a second major proof-of-concept in September by correctly identifying the COVID-19 vaccines that had a much greater probability of success than others, attracting national and international interest in the tool and putting Opyl in a strong position ahead of its launch later this year.

This article was developed in collaboration with Opyl, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.