Chiroscience shares jump on trial results

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Chiroscience, the biotechnology group, saw its shares jump 14.5p to 380.5p yesterday after announcing the latest in a series of successful phase III trial results for its levobupivacaine long-acting local anaesthetic.

The Cambridge-based group said the tests, involving 60 women at St James's Hospital in Leeds, had shown the drug's efficacy was equivalent to theepidural anaesthetic used for childbirth, bupivacaine.

Chiroscience claims its product is a safer version of bupivacaine, which is made by Astra under the Marcaine brand and can cause side effects ranging from tingling to convulsions.

Analysts reacted favourably. Ian Smith of Lehman Brothers said the findings confirmed earlier trials and added weight to expectations that the drug would come to market. He put a value of 400p on the shares, before adding in last year's acquisition of Darwin, the US company backed by Bill Gates.