Halted trials causes Oxford Biomedica plunge

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The Independent Online

Shares in Oxford BioMedica plunged 28 per cent yesterday as the biopharmaceutical company put some of its trials on hold after discovering "potential impurities" in one of its raw materials.

The gene-based pharmaceuticals company said the paused trials were for its RetinoStat macular degeneration eye disease treatment, its StarGen medicine for Stargardt eye disease and UshStat for Usher syndrome, the most common form of deaf-blindness.

The company said that a new, highly-sensitive test method it has recently introduced had detected the impurities at very low concentrations. The trials were on hold "as a precautionary measure," Oxford BioMedica said, "while the company investigates the recent detection of very low concentrations of potential impurities derived from a widely used third party raw material."

The pharmaceuticals company added: "No safety concerns relating to any of the aforementioned products have been identified in any pre-clinical and clinical data generated to date and there is no reason to believe that the favourable safety profile of these products will be affected."

Oxford BioMedica said it was "working very closely" with pharmaceutical regulatory authorities to complete its investigations, adding: "the company is committed to resuming the clinical trials as soon as possible and will continue to keep the market informed as appropriate."

Shares in Oxford BioMedica fell 0.65p to 1.65p.