Full-year losses have narrowed at Vernalis which has regained the rights to its Parkinson's disease drug development programme from Biogen Idec.
First up, the company's loss before exceptional items fell 75% to £2.8 million, while revenues were up 9% to £14.2 million, including £7 million in royalties from Menarini for the migraine drug frovatriptan; all the European frovatriptan royalties were reacquired from Paul Capital in March 2010.
Vernalis ended the year with £30.9 million in cash and equivalents, which it expects to last to the end of 2013. Chief executive Ian Garland added that “we have transformed Vernalis financially over the last two years and dramatically reduced our annual net cash burn", by £10.1 million (or 70%) to £4.4 million.
He said that "our strong balance sheet and focused strategy positions us well to create value for our shareholders in what is an inherently risky sector". Mr Garland ended by saying that "by realising value from our existing programmes and adding later-stage products through M&A and in-licensing, over time we aim to transition Vernalis from a cash-burning development stage company into a diversified self-sustaining pharmaceutical company".
The company also confirmed it has got the rights back to its next-generation adenosine A2A receptor antagonist programme, from Biogen for Parkinson's and potentially other neurological disorders.
The future looked very dark indeed for the programme last July after the partners stopped development of the A2A receptor antagonist vipadenant (V2006/BIIB014) based on a review of findings in preclinical toxicology studies. Now the lead molecule, V81444, is Phase I ready, said Vernalis, noting that the rights have been returned following Biogen’s strategic review of its priority programmes