Shares in UK biotechnology firm Protherics jumped 30% on the London Stock Exchange this morning after the firm revealed it may be entering into acquisition talks.

Rumours had already started circulating, triggering the share price rise and the subsequent statement issued by the firm, in which it said: "Protherics notes today’s rise in the company’s share price and confirms it has received approaches from a number of parties interested in acquiring Protherics, which the board is considering. However, there can be no certainty that any formal offer will be made, nor as to the terms on which any offer might be made. A further announcement will be made in due course."

Investors have been getting somewhat excited over the prospects for the firm's angiotensin vaccine therapy. In June, Protherics revealed that the first patient had been enrolled in a mid-stage trial of the high blood pressure vaccine, with the results expected in the first half of 2009.

If things go well, ATV could be a massive product. The global market for anti-hypertensives is worth around $30 billion and the vast majority of existing therapies are tablets which need to be taken on a daily basis, usually for the rest of a patient's life. However, Protherics notes that many people with high blood pressure fail to take their medicines as prescribed, and it is estimated that 70% of patients with hypertension do not have their blood pressure adequately controlled.

In contrast, a vaccine approach to the treatment of high blood pressure may require only three injections and a booster after six months.