Oxford BioMedica up on gene discoveries

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The Independent Online

Shares in Oxford BioMedica soared 19 per cent after the gene therapy firm said it had discovered 23 genes implicated in heart disease, cancer and arthritis, on which it was filing patents.

Shares in Oxford BioMedica soared 19 per cent after the gene therapy firm said it had discovered 23 genes implicated in heart disease, cancer and arthritis, on which it was filing patents.

The group, which has brought forward its half-year results to this morning, said it had also found links between the diseases and some genes already discovered. Oxford BioMedica made the discoveries using its Smartomics technology. The company last week raised £8.5m to develop the technology and set up a gene discovery division. Professor Alan Kingsman, chief executive, said: "It's like doing an internet search when you have enough information to be smart about it."

The group is looking to derive revenue from the discoveries both by licensing the information to genomics groups and deriving pharmaceutical products from them. It already has drug target deals with Aventis and AstraZeneca.

The shares yesterday closed up 14p at 89.5p, having earlier touched 102p, valuing the group at £140m. The group plans to move from AIM to a main listing early next year.

The company also develops its own drugs. One product, MetXia, is in clinical trials for breast and ovarian cancer. A second product - TroVax - is expected to enter clinical trials for colorectal cancer by December.

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