Antibodies group goes to market

Therapeutic Antibodies, a biotechnology group born at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London, is planning to come to the stock market in a pounds 150m flotation at the end of the month. The Anglo-American group is planning to raise pounds 30m in the flotation, which will bring a windfall of around pounds 38m to the directors, who include the two Barts' professors, John Landon and Tim Chard, whose ideas formed the basis of the group. Their stakes should be worth around pounds 12m on paper following the float.

Like PPL Therapeutics, an Edinburgh-based group which recently announced its intention to float, Therapeutic Antibodies uses sheep to produce its main products, which are currently only available for combating snake bites. The difference is that, while PPL obtains proteins from the sheep's milk, TA bleeds its animals to obtain polyclonal antibodies.

Sheep-generated antibodies are said to have a proven safety record, with few side effects in humans. They are used to supplement the human immune system to bind and neutralise the offending target on the cell. The snake bite products were launched last year and are currently only being sold to the Nigerian government and in certain Scandinavian countries.

Martin Brown, the company's US chief executive, said that while this was a niche market, it proved the company's technology.