Chiroscience to sell off division

CHIROSCIENCE Group, one of Britain's top biotechnology companies, is looking to sell its ChiroTech chemistry division in a move that could generate pounds 80m.

Chiroscience has already received strong interest from potential buyers after putting ChiroTech on the market a few weeks ago. The profitable subsidiary made up 64 per cent of Chiroscience's revenue in the first half of 1997.

The sale of ChiroTech would be the second big sell-off in the growing UK biotechnology industry after Celltech's sale of its "biologics" contract drug-making unit to Alusuisse-Lonza Holdings for pounds 42m in 1996.

"I think it would be a good move," said Nick Woolf, analyst with BA Robertson Stephens & Company. "ChiroTech operates independently and is profitable, and is a very different business from what they are trying to achieve [in drug development]."

Chiroscience, a Cambridge-based company which was founded by biotech entrepreneur Chris Evans, will use the proceeds to offset its spending rate of about pounds 2m a month, lessening the need for fund-raising efforts such as the pounds 40m rights offering it held in 1996. ChiroTech could be sold to a financial buyer, who may then spin it off, or to another drug company that wanted to expand into "chiral" chemistry, a growing field in drug research.

A Chiroscience spokeswoman would only confirm that the company is "looking at ways of realising shareholder value" from ChiroTech. She said options may include selling it or floating it.

ChiroTech has grown rapidly, generating pounds 5.9m in sales in the six months to August 1997 from pounds 3.9m a year earlier. Operating profit surged to pounds 2.3m in the first half of 1997 from pounds 200,000 a year earlier, reducing Chiroscience's growing operating loss, which was pounds 15.8m at the half year. It focuses on compiling "libraries" of molecules used to discover new drugs. It makes refined "chiral" base chemicals that other drug-makers may use for clinical trial programmes to test new drugs.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Advisor - OTE £95,000

£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sales?Do you have a keen interes...

Recruitment Genius: Loan Adviser - OTE £30,000

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high