Antisoma has posted a dip in revenues and growing loss for the year, as the company strives to overcome the shock failure of its flagship cancer drug ASA404 and reshape its business focus.

The group saw its revenues slide nearly 20% to £20.3 million for the year, with a significant chunk - £19.7 million - reflecting half of the $60 million up-front payment from sanofi-aventis for the purchase of oral fludarabine.

A full-year loss of £18.7 million was recorded, marking a 14% rise on the £16.4 million booked for the year-ago period, as the effect of a dip in income was magnified by a 6.4% rise in operating expenses to £43.4 million.

At the end of March, Antisoma’s shares sank after an interim analysis of data from the ATTRACT-1 Phase III trial of its star drug candidate ASA404 in patients with previously untreated non-small cell lung cancer indicated that “there is little or no prospect of demonstrating a survival benefit”, signalling the end of the programme considered to be the company’s most significant asset.

But Antisoma stressed that as it no longer expects further revenue from the failed ASA404 programme, it has taken steps, as laid out in an interim management statement earlier this year, to reduce its cash burn and ensure that funds can sustain operations past key clinical data on its other key candidates in the pipeline - namely AS1413 and AS1411 - which is expected during the first half of next year.

Of particular interest is AS1413, which was awarded Fast-Track status by the US Food and Drug Administration in June for as a treatment for secondary AML. Shareholders will likely be keeping a very close eye on the drug’s progress, particularly as the company has said there is interest from external parties in licensing rights to it, which will now potentially include the US.

According to Antisoma, the drug has potential application in a number of cancer settings, and sales could ultimately run into hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

Looking forward, the group certainly remains confident in its potential for success. “We believe we have the product assets, people and financial resources to build value for the future,” Antisoma’s chief executive Glyn Edwards and chairman Barry Price said in a joint statement. And it seems that the group’s shareholders agree, as the stock closed up 4.3% at 5.75 after a day’s heavy trading on the London Stock Exchange following the results announcement.