ML Laboratories directors net pounds 6m in options bonanza
Tuesday 06 February 1996
Two directors in ML Laboratories, the fledgling pharmaceutical company, have made a pounds 6.2m gain on the sale of options less than two weeks after Kevin Leech, chairman and co-founder, cashed in shares worth pounds 55m it emerged yesterday.
The sales bring to at least pounds 68m the total withdrawn by directors of biotechnology groups since their shares soared in the wake of British Biotech's announcement in Novemer of promising results for its Marimastat anti-cancer drug.
Stuart Sim, ML's deputy chief executive, netted pounds 4.04m from the exercise of options at 41p and their immediate sale at 445p. Professor Donald Davies, another director, picked up pounds 2.22m from the exercise of 750,000 options at 0.2p and the disposal of 500,000 of the resulting shares at 445p. Last month, Mr Leech garnered pounds 55m from a share placing to coincide with a placing by the company to raise pounds 25m at 400p.
The ML option bonanza is the biggest yet in a recent spate which has netted at least pounds 13m for the directors of loss-making biotechnology groups. Two executives of British Biotech made pounds 3.2m in December, when four directors Celltech also netted pounds 3.5m.
ML's shares have been given an additional spur by the revelation at the end of last month that a clinical study of a new Aids treatment conducted on four patients with late stages of the disease was progressing well.
From a price of 356p in November, the shares soared to a peak of 472p after January's news, although they slid 18p to 436p yesterday, apparently on disappointment that the group had yet to tie up a marketing deal for its anti-asthma inhaler.
At a briefing for City analysts yesterday, the company defended both the decision to cash in options and the Aids study. Mr Sim pointed to the 46-fold increase in the company's share price since it originally floated on the third market in 1987. "Let's not ask why it happens, lets just accept that it has happened. There are a lot of private shareholders and institutions who will be very pleased with that."
Professor Davies admitted that the Aids study, after which one of the patients died, was "far too small too small to discuss any efficacy of the treatment." But he said the treatment had been "well tolerated" in the patients, two of whom remain well seven months later. So-called "viral load" tests in the laboratory, involving the measurement of the amount of the virus remaining in the blood, compared well with AZT, the main anti-Aids drug manufactured by Glaxo Wellcome.
The ML treatment involves dissolving dextrin sulphate in the company's patented Icodial solution, developed as a method of kidney dialysis. Professor Davies said they had enough evidence to go forward to the next stage, a study involving 20 to 30 late-stage patients.
There was good news yesterday for Bespak, the aerosol manufacturer that has had to take a pounds 18.6m write-down after a royalty deal with ML for its inhaler failed to deliver income. ML said a new arrangement, near conclusion, will mitigate some of the onerous royalties payable by Bespak.
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
voicesJust when you thought you could find a man, get married, and have a baby by the age of 35... it turns out you’re too late, says Grace Dent
sportNapoli 2 Arsenal 0: Gunners must now face either Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid or Barcelona in knock-out stages
musicAs Mariah Carey and Noddy Holder rake in the royalties from their classics, why there hasn't been a decent festive hit for 20 years?
theatreAuthor Daniel Rosenthal recalls the mishaps that almost brought the curtain down on the likes of John Gielgud and Diana Rigg
filmFilm producers sue Warner Bros for $75m over Hobbit films
lifeAs the Royal Mail plans to phase out deliveries on two wheels, it's no wonder posties are in a spin
musicThe 21-year-old beat Ella Eyre and Chlöe Howl to win the honour
lifeFull of the joys and want to help your fellow man? December isn't the time to do it
techLuke Blackall reports on precision engineered prams and babygros that monitor your child 24-7
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute
- 2 It’s shameful that our universities have accepted gender segregation under pressure from the most oppressive religious fanatics
- 3 Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela
- 4 Exeter to Edinburgh and back in a day: How one fresher's lost bet left him facing a 900-mile round trip
- 5 Selfie at funeral: Cameron squeezes in on Obama snap at Mandela memorial
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£77099.84 - £96375.26 per annum + Bonus + Benefits : Harrington Starr: My clie...
£45000 - £60000 per annum + Bonus and Package: Harrington Starr: Trading appli...
£50000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading prov...
£70000 - £90000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading mark...