Market Report: British Biotech leads ragged retreat of an ailing sector - Business - News - The Independent

Market Report: British Biotech leads ragged retreat of an ailing sector

British Biotech, only a few weeks ago the wonder share of the then high-flying drugs sector, slumped deeper into the sick bay, falling 135p to 2,128p - only 78p above its rights issue price. The nil paid rights units collapsed 133p to 80p.

The agony at BritBio does not endanger its pounds 143m rights cash; the call has been underwritten by Kleinwort Benson.

The group has led a ragged retreat of the biotech shares. In May, the company and the sector were riding high with investors stampeding into the fledgling drug groups, many of them nursing little more than skyhigh hope factors.

Like most of the pack, BritBio is deep in the red. Last month it accompanied its pounds 143m cash call with a loss of pounds 25.1m. But it made encouraging noises about its Marimastat cancer treatment and Lexipafant, a pancreatic product.

All then seemed well. The shares, although below May's 3,265p peak, were comfortably above the rights price and there was little danger of the underwriters being called in to earn their rich fees.

But BritBio came under pressure. Merrill Lynch helped the shares on their way when it said they were overpriced and, as is so often the case in the stock market, there was a sudden change in sentiment. BritBio was not the only to suffer; most the so-called bio babes suddenly discovered just how tough the market can be.

Still, it could be argued BritBio has seen it all before. Last year its shares were 445p.

Among the other drug shares looking sick are Celltech, off 34p at 535p, after a peak of 683p; Chiroscience 8p down at 366p after 514p and Cortecs International 12p lower at 283p after 418p. The biobabes are collectively 44 per cent off their high points.

The sudden sickness in the drugs sector is threatening the flood of new issue. Beeson Gregory denied stories that Alizyme, due to arrive on AIM with a pounds 10m valuation, was in any danger. Cambrio from Henry Cooke Lumsden seems to be struggling and there is talk its valuation has been cut.

Amid the carnage the granddaddy of the sector and leader of the pack, Glaxo Wellcome added 6p to 879p.

Glaxo's display was in line with the rest of the market with the two leading indices making modest headway.

BSkyB, the satellite television station, was the best performing blue chip, gaining 14p to 468p following its digital TV deal with Bavarian mogul Leo Kirch.

Tomkins' attempt to throw off the yoke of the conglomerates image gathered strength with a 7p gain to 258p but Hanson, with NatWest lowering its sum-of-the-parts figure from 165p to 153p, shaded to 171.25p and BTR lost 3.5p to 243.5p.

Granada, as Whitehall rather belatedly cleared the pounds 3.9bn Forte bid, gained 9p to 834p and British Airways rose 6.5p to 549p on hopes of a settlement with its pilots.

Expectations of takeover bids, as always, drifted around. Earmarked for corporate activity were Standard Chartered, 17p higher at 652p and Cadbury Schweppes, 6p to 513p. Luxury goods group Vendome, on renewed hopes of a mop up bid from Richemont, the Swiss-based, South African controlled group, improved 13p to 618p.

Regional TV shares were again in demand with HTV up 7p to 357p and Yorkshire- Tyne Tees edging ahead 3p to 1,258p.

Tesco, on fears it is about to mount a pounds 2.5bn French supermarket strike which would provoke a rights issue, fell 2.5p to 300.5p.

BTG, the old British Technology Group, celebrated its inclusion in the supporting index with a 30p gain to 1,895p. It replaced the suspended Wickes.

Railtrack edged ahead 1p to 215.5p against its 190p flotation price. The shares have nudged 230p.

On the grey market British Energy, with the public offer closing today, was 111p to 113p.

Appleyard, the garage group, reversed 9p to 93p following accounting problems at its Ian Skelly Manchester dealership.

Frost, the petrol retailer caught in the cross fire of the superstores price war, edged forward 2p to 98p with PDFM lifting its stake to 14.3 per cent. There is talk a hedge fund has a substantial short position. Eurocamp fell 13p to 204p on a profit warning.

Ennemix rose 4p to 55p. After hours Lafarge lifted its stake to 49 per cent and its bid to 52.5p.

Avocet Mining, a gold and tungsten group which arrived through James Capel at 240p in March, gained 14p to 180p. The shares have been down to 142p.

On Ofex, Skynet, developing a car security system, jumped 55p to 250p. It was floated at 27.5p.

John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise

Top conservatoire offers ‘groundbreaking’ arts degree

Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Consultant - Soho - IT, Pharma, Public Sector

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000 first year: SThree: The SThree group i...

Sales Executive

£20 - 24k (Uncapped Commission - £35k Year 1 OTE): Guru Careers: We are seekin...

Payroll & Accounts Assistant

£20 - 24k + Benefits: Guru Careers: This is a great opportunity for an enthusi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £280 - £320 p/d - 6 months

£280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week