Scotia shares crash as diabetes drug is rejected

The power of national drug regulators to move markets in pharmaceuticials companies was demonstrated vividly yesterday. Scotia Holdings, the biotechnology group, saw pounds 189m wiped off its market value at one stage after announcing that the British health authorities had declined to clear for sale a diabetes drug. At the other end of the scale, shares in Glaxo Wellcome, the world's biggest drugs group, were spurred on to new peaks after Sweden approved its new Naramig migraine treatment, a follow-on to its blockbuster Imigran drug.

Scotia's shares crashed 245p before recovering to end 135p down at 435p after the company said it had received verbal notification from the UK's Medicines Control Agency that it could not at present recommend marketing approval for Tarabetic, a drug for treating diabetic neuropathy. The MCA is a key part of the process by which the Ministry of Health vets new drugs coming on to the market.

Analysts suggest Scotia's drug could achieve sales of anywhere between pounds 50m and pounds 400m, but David Horrobin, chief executive, suggested the market had overreacted: "This is potentially an important drug, but it is only one of 10 or so projects of equal importance."

The problem follows a meeting of the Committee on the Safety of Medicines, an advisory body to the MCA, which has raised concerns about the drug's efficacy. But Mr Horrobin questioned the expertise of the committee's members, saying none of them was expert in the field of diabetic nerve damage. He claimed the 10 to 15 people in the UK he described as "real experts" in this area were all "very strongly" in favour of the drug.

Yesterday's regulatory setback for Tarabetic came as Glaxo Wellcome saw its shares rise 36.5p to a new high of 1,154p, partly on hopes for itsNaramig migraine treatment, formerly called naratriptan. The approval by the Swedish Medical Products Agency means it will compete in Europe with Zeneca's Zomig, which it was announced yesterday haswon UK approval.

Glaxo is confident the new treatment will not compete with its Imigran drug, which it claims is used by only 7 per cent of migraine sufferers. The clearance is the first stage to marketing a drug which analysts suggest could reach sales of pounds 200m by 2000.

The drug industry has grown used to these moments of despair and elation after enduring a generation of an approval process born of the Thalidomide scandal of the early 1960s. The process of gaining approvals for drugs lengthened until in the 1980s it was taking 12 years from patenting a new compound to getting it on to the market. Since then, a new spirit of commercialism has taken root among the regulators. The all-powerful Food and Drug Administration offers drugs companies the option of paying a "user fee" which can speed up the process.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
news
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living