Germany’s MediGene says that it is looking into the possibility of selling a stake in its UK subsidiary as part of a plan to reduce its research costs.

The Martinsried-based firm plans to refocus its early research and preclinical programmes in a way that will lead to “a significant reduction in research expenditures in 2009 at the latest”. To accomplish this, it is looking at alternative financing options for the mTCR (monoclonal T Cell receptor) technology research programme being carried out at its unit in Oxford.

One possibility involving “outside financing discussed with potential investors” is the spin-out of the programme into a separate research entity, MediGene noted. In such a case, the firm would become the new entity's largest individual shareholder with an option to clinically develop selected projects at a later point in time.

Chief executive Peter Heinrich said that "our goal is to further streamline our business model” and the firm will focus on projects “in the fields of oncology and autoimmune diseases that are already well advanced in their development”. Heading those projects is the rheumatoid arthritis drug RhuDex, an orally-available CD80 inhibitor and cancer treatment EndoTAG-1.

MediGene is also looking to set up its own sales activities in certain European countries. It will initially be employed in promoting Oracea (doxycycline), a dermatology product for the systemic treatment of the skin condition rosacea which was acquired just over a year ago from US firm CollaGenex.