Protherics anti-venom wins approval

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The British biotechnology firm Protherics, the first company in 50 years to develop an antidote to rattlesnake bites, has won approval to market the product in the US.

The British biotechnology firm Protherics, the first company in 50 years to develop an antidote to rattlesnake bites, has won approval to market the product in the US.

CroFab, made from antibodies extracted from Australian sheep, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and will be marketed by Savage Laboratories, part of Altana, the German drug manufacturer. Yesterday, shares in Protherics leapt 5.5p to 43p, valuing the group at £71m. The company was formed last year from a merger of Proteus International and Therapeutic Antibodies.

In a market worth an estimated $40m, the only antidote at present is horse serum, which can cause side effects. Up to 40,000 people are bitten every year, mainly in the southern US and Mexico. Andrew Heath, the chief executive of Protherics, said: "People there do find rattlesnakes a big problem. Most bites are not fatal but about 8,000 need treatment." He said new methods of serum extraction reduced risk of side effects in patients. The company plans to launch shipments of CroFab shortly. An even bigger project is its development of a vaccine for the treatment of high blood pressure, which is undergoing trials. Meanwhile, it wants to divest its computer aided research business, which could fetch up to £25m.

Comments