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Restructuring costs push Acambis into loss in 1Q; foundations laid for a new strategy

However, the Acam2000 smallpox vaccine caused myocarditis in one of every 145 recipients in the clinical trial. Hopefully FDA will not give this vaccine a license.--M. Nass


Restructuring costs push Acambis into loss in 1Q; foundations laid for new strategy
From the News Desk

Cambridge-based biotech Acambis plc (ACM.L) said that costs associated with its restructring had pushed it into the red in the first quarter of the year.

However during this period, Chairman Peter Fellner (pictured) said: “we have laid the foundations for Acambis' transition into a high- value biotechnology company that is supported by, rather than reliant on, its biodefence revenues.”

Q1 revenue was £2.6m, compared with £6.0m in Q12006 primarily from its ChimeriVax-JE partnership with sanofi pasteur, the company said.

During Q1, the company continued to record revenue from its contracts with the US government’s NIAID for smallpox vaccine MVA3000. In 2006, the main sources of revenue were from its fixed-price 155 million- dose smallpox contract with the CDC, our MVA3000 contracts and product sales of Vivotif.

The total Q1 cost of restructuring was £4m, in line with guidance provided in March.

Mr Fellner said: “We have established a new executive management team with the appointment of Ian Garland as CEO on 8 May, Dr Michael Watson, as Executive Vice President, R&D, and Elizabeth Brown as Acting Chief Financial Officer. During the quarter, we also initiated a restructuring programme to refocus our resources upon key programmes and core operational capabilities, and significantly lower our cost base.

“At the same time, we have continued to move forward our R&D pipeline. We achieved notable progress on our Japanese encephalitis vaccine project, establishing an important commercialisation partnership with sanofi pasteur and announcing positive data from a pivotal Phase 3 trial.

“Since then, we have achieved two milestones that triggered payments from sanofi pasteur. In addition, we have initiated the second part of a Phase 2 trial of our ChimeriVax-West Nile vaccine candidate and recently submitted an Investigational New Drug (IND) application to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to initiate clinical testing of our ACAM-FLU-A influenza vaccine candidate.

“On 17 May the FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will review our ACAM2000 smallpox vaccine. We look forward to the outcome of that meeting, given that a licence is a necessary prerequisite for the long-term warm-base manufacturing contract that we are negotiating with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”

Its share price slid a marginal 0.76% on the news to close at 130p. The Group is avlued at around £140m.