British Biotechnology losses increase to 13m pounds

LOSSES at British Biotechnology, the pharmaceutical research and development company deepened from pounds 11.6m to pounds 13.1m as the company increased spending on clinical trials.

However, spending on the research of new drugs in the 12 months to 30 April was maintained at the previous year's levels.

Losses of this nature are par for the course for such companies. James Noble, finance director, said losses would continue for at least three years before the investment on research showed the expected returns.

Biotechnology is developing drugs to fight Aids, asthma and cancer, all of which are in clinical trials. This means the company has the added costs of paying hospitals to test the drugs.

Operating losses were pounds 17.7m, compared with pounds 15.2m. Biotechnology was helped by interest on cash balances of pounds 50m. Interest received was pounds 4.8m in 1993, up from pounds 3.9m. The company's balance sheet was bolstered by pounds 30m raised when Biotechnology was floated on the stock market last July.

The company also sold its medical equipment business yesterday. British Biotechnology Products, mainly a distribution operation, was acquired by Techne, a US company, for dollars 5m ( pounds 3.2m). BBP was the sole source of revenue for the group, but Mr Noble said the division needed capital investment and the company did want to spend money on a non-core activity.

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