SMALLER COMPANIES : Directors show confidence in young biotech venture

Alizyme, a budding biotech company, is at that interesting stage when early hope is turning into promise. It reached another turning point in its short existence last week when founding director and chief executive Andrew Porter took a back seat as a non-executive director.

Dr Richard Palmer, the chief operating officer, stepped up to take his place. The company also announced its preliminary results. Income, a paltry pounds 191,000, was overwhelmed by costs of pounds 1.1m to produce a deficit of pounds 1.02m after interest payments. More intriguing, however, were the heavy share purchases by directors that followed the announcement on Monday morn- ing. The full details - including Mr Porter's purchases - are detailed in the chart on the right.

What prompted the spending spree? One reason was that the directors had been unable to buy before the results. And Dr Palmer, who arrived in September, had also just been getting his feet under the table.

Even so, the purchases were unusual for the breadth of buying. There is clearly a view that the shares are undervalued right across the board - a belief emphasised by Dr Palmer: "At 32p, the shares only reflect the cash value of the business, so there is little or no perception in the market of any added value our work has created. I have a confidence and faith in the company that it's going to progress."

He says the company has already made substantial progress since July in creating value, while there is also a strong management team in place.

The question for investors, however, remains how to value a biotech company that may have many years to go before its dreams come to fruition. The question still exercises analysts. Some of the markets in which Alizyme operates have huge potential - any treatment for obesity, whether prevention or cure, would be a big money-spinner.

And it is cracking on with new trials, products and joint ventures. It has signed up a service agreement with Nichimen Corp, the Japanese trading house, and is testing several compounds for inhibiting lipase, the digestive enzyme for fats in the gut.

The shares have fallen from the 60p flotation price last June, and crept up a few pence last week to close at 37.5p. With a board this enthusiastic, the shares are worth a punt.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • 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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Development Manager - NW London - £58k + 15% bonus

£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manager - City, London

£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...

Day In a Page

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England