UK group Acambis saw its sales fall £7.2 million to £3.4 million for the first half of 2007, but managed to shave its loss for the period.

Sales in the first half 2006 were significantly bolstered by the group’s fixed-price 155 million-dose smallpox contract with the US Centres for Disease Control, as well as MVA3000 contracts and product sales of the oral typhoid vaccine Vivotif. For this year, turnover mainly stemmed from milestone payments received from the ChimeriVax-JE (for Japanese encephalitis) partnership with sanofi-pasteur and the remaining work under its contracts with the US Government for MVA3000, which is now winding down, the group said.

On the plus side, Acambis saw its operating loss for the period fall 32% to £16.2 million, as all expenses took a downturn: R&D dived 56% to £4.6 million; cost of sales dropped 21% to £2.6 million; sales and marketing fell 67% to £100,000; and administrative expenses were cut in half, coming in at £1 million.

Commenting on the results, Peter Fellner, Chairman of Acambis, remained upbeat about its future: “We are now beginning to make significant progress towards building a strong, independent vaccines company. We have put in place the right management team to deliver our strategy, based on their combined commercial, biotech and vaccines experience, and are well positioned to deliver value creation for shareholders.”