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Permanent headcount down to nil at Antisoma

UK News | May 24, 2011

Kevin Grogan

Permanent headcount down to nil at Antisoma

Troubled Antisoma says that it has no permanent members of staff and is continuing to look at options for the company.

In an interim statement, chairman Grahame Cook has been reflecting on the firm's future following the failure in Phase III of AS1413 (amonafide) in secondary acute myeloid leukaemia. Development of the drug was discontinued  in February and at the time the company said it was seeking a transaction to maximise value from its remaining product assets and cash resources.

Mr Cook noted that Antisoma held cash and equivalents of £15.0 million at the end of March. It has scaled back operations to the point where "permanent headcount has now been reduced to nil and the board has been cut to five members".

Programme costs "have been reduced to a minimal level", the chairman added, saying that the board continues to consider options for the company". Further announcements will be made "if and when there are material developments to report".

Antisoma has had a bad time of late in terms of clinical setbacks. The failure of amonafide was bad enough but the stock really sank in March 2010 when its Novartis-partnered drug ASA404 failed to show any survival benefit in a late-stage trial in patients with lung cancer. Novartis pulled out of the pact in November.

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