Ark gains on hopes for cancer drug
Thursday 31 July 2008
Ark Therapeutics, the gene therapy group, gave the beleaguered UK biotech industry a shot in the arm yesterday when it said that the third phase trial of its brain cancer treatment, Cerepro, has shown good initial results and that it now expects to be able to market the drug by next year.
The company's shares rocketed on the news closing the day up 69 per cent at 80.25p. Ark had earlier said that the topline results of the tests showed that patients using the treatment were on average surviving 42 days longer than people not using Cerepro.
The results come from tests on 183 patients with the company expected to give details of another 53 cases early next year, after which it will apply to European regulators for a licence to sell the drug.
Ibraheem Mahmood, an analyst at Investec, said that while yesterday's news was encouraging, the real tonic for the group is that the positive tests validate Ark's gene based technology and that should lead to interest from some of the pharmaceutical giants. "While the news is certainly good, it is really only a by-product," he said. "Cerepro will be worth between about $500m and $1bn, but it is the first time that the technology has been shown to work and that makes it appealing to buyers."
The news will also be welcomed by the wider UK biotech market, which has a poor record of converting potential drugs in trial into commercial successes. In recent weeks two other groups, Alizyme and Oxford Biomedica, have disclosed pivotal phase three failures, which sent the share price of both companies crashing.
However, the news on Cerepro was not greeted with universal praise. KBC analyst Paul Cuddon pointed out that Cerepro will need to compete against existing medicines. "In order for the trial to be considered a success, and for the company to claim they have a blockbuster, it has to show that it is better than what is already out there, and these trials do not show that," he said. "Ark needed to show that Cerepro is more effective than Temador [another brain cancer treatment] and they have not done that. I still have major concerns."
Mr Mahmood countered that Temador, which had annual sales of $861m last year, has side effects akin to the symptoms suffered by AIDS sufferers, giving patients a poor quality of life.
Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way
Powerful images of strays taken moments before being put down
Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree really is being made into a film
The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon
- 1 Salisbury ranked seventh-best city in the world to visit in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015
- 2 Disney announces new female-led film Moana
- 3 Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Chicago voter tells Obama 'don't touch my girlfriend' – Obama stays super smooth
Oscar Pistorius: The brutal prison life that awaits disgraced athlete
Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
Raphael Ravenscroft dead: 'Baker Street' musician who played the most famous saxophone solo for just £27, dies aged 60
Darren Vann: Indiana man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear more
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms
iJobs Money & Business
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £Competitive: SThree: SThree Group and have be...
£23000 per annum + pension and 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ...