UK’s CAT buys cancer drug candidates from Danisco
COPENHAGEN/LONDON (Reuters) – Cambridge Antibody Technology
is buying two experimental cancer drugs from a unit of
Denmark’s Danisco for up to $16 million to boost its drugs
pipeline, the UK biotech firm said on Tuesday.
CAT said it was buying GCR-3888, which is in intermediate
Phase II clinical trials for hairy cell leukemia (HCL), and
GCR-8015, a preclinical treatment for cancers including
non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, from Danisco’s Genencor unit.
Cash-rich CAT, looking to bolster its drugs pipeline after
a series of setbacks in clinical trials, said it would pay an
initial $14 million in shares, equivalent to 2.27 percent of
its existing share capital.
It may also pay a further $2 million depending on the
availability for use in clinical trials of bulk product
material of GCR-8015 produced by Genencor.
Industry analysts said the acquisition of the
antibody-based products made sense for CAT, although the
initial market opportunity was small.
Sam Williams of Lehman Brothers said the potential for
GCR-3888 in HCL was probably only $5-10 million a year, but it
could go on to sell $200-300 million if approved in the larger
markets of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic
Shares in CAT, which recently settled a royalty row with
partner Abbott Laboratories over its one product to reach the
market, Humira for rheumatoid arthritis, were 1 percent higher
at 675 pence by mid-morning, valuing the business at about 348
Danish sugar and food ingredients firm Danisco said
possible proceeds from the deal were included in its previously
announced 300-350 million Danish crowns range of special items
for its 2005/06 financial year.
Danisco shares slipped just under 1 percent to 395 crowns.