Speedy BSE test pushes up Proteus shares

Shares in the biotechnology sector sparked into life yesterday on a string of announcements from some of its smaller constituents. Proteus International's shares leapt 17p to 57.5p after it announced its Irish research partner had successfully developed a speedier test for BSE.

Shield Diagnostics' share price was also strong, rising 80p to 416.5p, after it revealed a research tie-up with Abbott Laboratories, the US pharmaceuticals group. However, investors reacted negatively to news that plans by Phytopharm to develop a plant-based cure for eczema would be delayed by around two years. The shares fell 23p to 185.5p.

Proteus said Enfer Scientific, an Irish licensee, had produced a high- throughput test for BSE based on a reagent produced by the British firm which had been validated by the Irish Department of Agriculture. David Gration, chairman, said the department's agricultural veterinary research laboratory was "happy to validate that this test does successfully discriminate between positive and negative BSE carcasses".

The post mortem test was capable of processing 1,000 samples at a time and could be used in slaughterhouses, he said. Proteus went through a bad patch last year after raising pounds 9.5m in a rights issue and seeing then chief executive, Jurek Sikorski, resign soon after.

But Mr Gration said Proteus had signed a deal with Enfer which would net Proteus 12.5 per cent of any revenues earned from the test, which analysts believe could give the company income running into seven figures.

Shield, meanwhile, said it had signed an exploratory research agreement with the diagnostics division of Abbott Laboratories. This would give it access to Abbott's instruments, reagents and training in developing new hospital diagnostic tests, the company said.

The problems of Phytopharm, whose technology is based on Chinese herbal remedies, concern its Zemaphyte drug for severe atopic eczema, a skin complaint. UK approval for the product, currently in phase three trials with 150 patients, will be delayed for around 18 months after US tests begin in September, according to Richard Dixey, chief executive.

This was due to concerns expressed by the British Medicines Control Agency.

But Mr Dixey played down the delays, saying they wouldhelp improve the chances for the drug, given that regulators on both sides of the Atlantic were now in closer liaison and the company had a clearer target to aim for.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Content Writer - Global Financial Services

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Consultant - Financial Services - OTE £65,000

£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Loan Underwriter

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future