UK gene therapy group Oxford BioMedica has side-stepped the current economic gloom and doom posting a solid set financial results for the year 2008, with substantial sales growth and lower net loss.

The company saw its net loss for the year plummet to £10 million from the £15.3 million booked for 2007, as revenues rocketed to £18.4 million from £7.2 million, marking results that are “in-line with expectations”, according the firm.

Sales growth for the year was driven by a £7.6 million milestone payment from sanofi-aventis regarding the firms’ agreement over the cancer vaccine candidate TroVax, as well as £10.5 million of deferred revenue from 2007, the group said.

Oxford BioMedica remains relatively upbeat regarding its future despite a series of setbacks during the year. Its stock took a battering in July after TroVax failed to reach its targets in a late-stage trial in renal cancer. But following an interim analysis of data, the firm says its confidence that TroVax could still offer a potentially safe and effective new anti-cancer treatment has been restored.

In September, Oxford BioMedica’s share price took another downturn after newly-appointed chief executive Mike McDonald jumped ship less than two months after taking the helm, seriously denting investor confidence.

“I am acutely aware that our share price is disappointingly low and does not reflect the underlying strength of our business,” said current chairman Alan Kingsman. But he insists that “despite the difficult economic climate and the events of 2008”, Oxford BioMedica is “well-positioned for the future” and “will emerge as one of the UK’s leading biopharmaceutical companies”.

Enough cash to 2010
After an extensive assessment of resources and spending plans for the coming year, the company says it estimates that current cash reserves should be able to support its activities into the second half of 2010, but it added that ways to “extend our cash for operations” are being looked at.

Clearly stating his confidence in the company’s ability to wade through the current turbulent economic times, Chief Financial Officer Andrew Wood said he believes Oxford BioMedica “is more resilient than most to the weakness of financial markets.”