Diabetic tests boost Cortecs

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The Independent Online
Good test results from a new drug for diabetics sent shares in Cortecs International, the Anglo-Australian biotechnology company, soaring by 15 per cent to close at 203.5p after hitting 235p at one stage yesterday.

The company said trials for its experimental drug, Macrulin, showed "very encouraging" results which "present the real possibility of improving therapy for diabetics". The trials involved six diabetic patients.

Patients taking oral capsules containing Macrulin experienced a decline in their blood sugar levels, Cortecs said. The trial has not been completed yet, but results are due later in the year.

However, some analysts said it was too early to say how meaningful the results were. Andrew Baum, an analyst with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, said: "I am enormously sceptical of oral insulin. The precise doses required to regulate a patient's blood sugar vary, making the window for an effective dose very small."

Insulin is a naturally occurring hormone needed to process blood sugar into energy. Diabetics are either insensitive to the hormone, or have insufficient quantities of it.

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