Biotech investors demand action now

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LEADING institutional shareholders in British Biotech stepped up the pressure on the beleaguered drug development company yesterday, urging the board to issue a full statement in the next few days or risk an emergency general meeting.

Major investors such as Perpetual are becoming increasingly frustrated at the delaying tactics of the board, which has indicated that it could be several weeks before it issues a detailed circular countering allegations made by Dr Andrew Millar, its former head of clinical trials who was sacked last week.

Bob Yerbury of Perpetual, said: "We continue to have concerns and they need to be addressed as a matter of urgency."

Another leading shareholder said: "We cannot be talking about weeks before this circular. It must be days. Shareholders and advisers need to satisfy themselves as to whether there is any validity to these claims. I think there probably is and if so then there would need to be some changes to the front team."

British Biotech said: "We are preparing a comprehensive circular to prospectus standards. That would normally take in excess of four weeks."