UK biotechnology company, Acambis, posted a £26.2 million pound profit in 2004, which was ahead of consensus estimates, but some 34% lower than the £39.6 million recorded in 2003 [[02/03/04b]], in what the firm’s chief executive, Gordon Cameron, said had been a year of “ups and downs” for the company. Revenues for the year came in at £85.5 million, which is also in line with estimates [[23/11/04a]], but almost half the £169.1 million recorded in 2003.

Acambis has been profitable since 2002 thanks to various governmental smallpox vaccine supply contracts [[11/03/03f]]. However, these have slowed in the past few months – in September, the US government said it would not be completing a smallpox vaccine order [[20/09/04b]]. The company was also hit last year when recruitment into two Phase III trials of its smallpox vaccine, ACAM2000, was suspended after three cases of the heart condition myopericarditis were observed [[13/04/04f]].

And, for the coming year, the firm says that revenue from its contract with the US Government will likely decline further. This, coupled with a forecast increase in spending for the year as the firm aims to drive its pipeline and expand the business, “may mean that we need to make a choice between remaining profitable in the short-term and making the required R&D investment,” the firm said in a statement. “Given that choice, it is clearly appropriate that we should invest in the products for the long-term value they can generate,” it added.