Shire deal lifts biotech sector

A $186m (pounds 114m) deal to buy a US drugs group unveiled by Shire Pharmaceuticals and good results from Oxford Molecular helped the biotechnology sector shrug off negative sentiment yesterday.

Shire saw its shares end 8p higher at 249.5p after revealing the purchase of Richwood Pharmaceutical of Kentucky, a competitor to Medeva in the market for drugs to control unruly children. Oxford Molecular's shares rose 3.5p to 248.5p after announcing losses cut by 27 per cent to pounds 677,000 along with a move to pay pounds 2m for an option to take control of Cambridge Combinatorial, the company run by Allan Marchington, younger brother of Oxford's chief executive, Tony Marchington.

But the sector was dragged lower early on by British Biotech, the UK's biggest biotech company, which was hit by press reports suggesting Marimastat, the company's potential anti-cancer blockbuster, faced problems both from current medical trials and the growing likelihood of competition from rivals such as Roche, the Swiss giant. The claims, denied by the company, sent the shares 10p lower at one stage yesterday, before bouncing back to end 5p higher at 157.5p.

The Shire deal was greeted more enthusiastically by analysts. Richwood claims to have launched the fastest growing drug in the US to treat disruptive children with so-called attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In the space of 15 months, Adderall has swept up 5.1 per cent of a market put at $457m in 1996. The company claims that with its other treatment, DextroStat, it has taken its overall share to 9 per cent recently, mostly at the expense of Abbott Laboratories' Cylert product and Medeva's methylphenidate, the generic drug which has fuelled recent growth.

Richwood says the product is longer lasting and has fewer side-effects. However, none of its drugs has patent protection and the group is facing a class action suit relating to its Phentermine obesity treatment. The US Drug Enforcement Agency must also still approve Shire as a licence holder for strictly controlled drugs sold by Richwood.

Investment column, page 17

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific