British Biotech censured by LSE

THE LONDON Stock Exchange yesterday censured British Biotech after completing a 15-month investigation which concluded the company had violated Exchange rules.

The LSE said British Biotech had failed to disclose information which could impact its business and move its shareprice between June 1997 and February 1998, after the European Medicines Evaluation Agency's rejected an initial marketing application for Zacutex, British Biotech's pancreatic drug. The LSE also said directors and some employees were allowed to deal in the company's shares whilst it possessed the unpublished information.

The LSE's said it took "a most serious view" of the company's failure and did not accept the company's claim it had broken no rules because directors believed Zacutex would be approved in the end.

A spokeswoman for British Biotech said yesterday it did not agree with the findings but would not appeal. Directors implicated in the judgment had never believed they possessed information to change their expectations for Zacutex, she said. "The Exchange has come to a different view, based on hindsight."