Investment Column: Oxford Asym

OXFORD ASYMMETRY'S shares have fallen off recently from 574p to 371p amid concerns that it may not meet profits forecasts this year. The company prepares compounds for biotechnology and pharmaceuticals companies. It estimates it has less than 1 per cent of the market in each of its activities. That market is set to grow as pharmaceutical companies outsource compound preparation.

Interim results, however, showed profits falling off slightly because corporate activity among pharmaceuticals companies has put a squeeze on OA's market. That should not deter investors. OA is mulling a US tie-up to capitalise on its strong reputation. Analysts expect profits of pounds 3.7m and earnings of 8.3p per share this year. Buy.

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