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January 17, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:46pm

PROTEUS SHOWS SIGNS OF RECOVERY

By CBR Staff Writer

Patient backers of computer-aided drug design software specialist Proteus International Plc may finally be seeing light at the end of the tunnel as the firm begins to see some revenue and losses falling. The Macclesfield, UK company has seen revenue for the six months to September 30 up to 413,000 British pounds from just 30,000 pounds for the same time last year, and losses down to 1.8m pounds from 3.6m pounds. Chairman David Gration says the company’s strategy of focusing resources on those projects which we see as having the greatest commercial opportunities has made the company more productive and effective. It had been looking pretty grim for Proteus. The company even offered itself for takeover last year (CI No 2,839), but it managed to raise 9.4m pounds in a rights issue in September, and seems to have turned a corner on the way to having products to sell. The company is now receiving license fees and royalties from some of its products, including a worldwide license agreement with Janssen Pharmaceutica (Animal Health) a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson Inc to develop and market its Immunocastration vaccine for animals. Clinical tests on GnRH Immunotherapeutic, the company’s vaccine for prostate cancer are currently under way through licensee ML Laboratories Plc, and have so far shown no unexpected toxicity in patients. The company has got its US patent for both products, but a European patent has been refused, although Proteus thinks it may win on appeal. The company is also benefiting from the BSE or mad cow scare. It has an exclusive license with Enfer Scientific Ltd of Ireland, which is further developing a BSE diagnostic test. Enfer will pay an annual license and royalties, although market potential is dependent on European Commission and national government policy. The company is developing a number of drugs for cardiovascular problems, arthritis, and enzyme inhibitors. In July, Proteus won a Department of Trade & Industry Spur Plus grant of up to 406,000 pounds for research into the design and synthesis of DNA-binding drugs. Gration says the profile of the company has changed and it now has more chemists and biologists, working from two new laboratories. Following the departure of chief executive Jurek Sikorski in August (CI No 2,976), chairman David Gration has taken on an executive role, and says for the time being the company will not replace Sikorski.

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