Rising R&D costs mean that Swiss biotechnology company Basilea Pharmaceutica has posted a net loss of 126.8 million francs, around $114.8 million, for 2007, an increase of 49%.

The firm’s R&D expenditure increased 39.7% to 115.7 million francs, due primarily to the preparations of the regulatory filings for alitretinoin, a synthetic retinoid drug for patients with severe dermatitis of the hand, as well as Phase III trials of the latter and its broad-spectrum antifungal treatment isavuconazole.

Revenues rose 9.7% to 7.9 million francs and Basilea ended the year with cash and equivalents of 424.8 million francs. The revenue rise was due to upfront and milestone payments received from Johnson & Johnson for the antibiotic ceftobiprole.

Ceftobiprole has been filed for approval in the USA, Canada and the European Union and is the first broad-spectrum cephalosporin to show efficacy in a large clinical trial against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

Basilea expects regulatory reviews of ceftobiprole and alitretinoin to be completed during 2008 and has already started building up a commercial organisation in North America and Europe “to efficiently support its potential product launches”.