Biotech shares get boost as trials progress

Celltech and Chiroscience, two of the UK's leading biotechnology groups, saw their shares jump yesterday after plans for late-stage clinical trials brought them closer to launching drugs in 1998.

Celltech saw its shares rise 12.5p to 500p on news of encouraging trial results for its treatment for blood and bone marrow cancer, which could provide an alternative to chemotherapy. The company, which is today expected to report its first-ever annual profits, said its partner, American Home Products, would move to the final stage of testing required before the drug can receive official approval, expected in late 1998.

Chiroscience announced that it had won approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to start clinical trials on its Levobupivicaine anaesthetic, which could give it clearance to market the drug from the middle of 1998 if all goes well. A programme of 15 phase III trials in the US and Europe has already begun. Chiroscience shares rose 11p to 329p.

The latest Celltech tests covered 36 US sufferers of acute myeloid leukaemia who had failed to respond to existing treatments. Two were said to have shown a complete response to the treatment, with all leukaemia cells eliminated from the blood and bone marrow and blood cell counts restored to normal. Three others responded partially. The main side-effects were the onset of fever and chills and two patients suffered from high blood pressure.

Peter Fellner, chief executive, said he was very gratified by the results. "We are very surprised we saw such a major response from these patients.... Our feeling is if we can get at patients who are not at death's door, ie people who have had a first round of treatment and relapsed, we have a much higher chance of effecting long-term remission."

Phase II/III studies will now start early next year in 10 centres in North America involving 50 patients. Celltech has upped its initial estimate of peak revenues of $100 to $150m to over $200m after the extension of the drug's use to longer-term chronic myeloid leukaemia, as well as the acute form of the disease.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
News
people
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

Christine McCleave: FP&A Analyst

£36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn