UK biotechnology company Antisoma saw its share price boosted in London this morning after it said it would cut its ties to the brain cancer drug AS1405 and use the resources to accelerate development of a second oncology therapy, code-named AS1411.

Trials of AS1405 will be suspended but Antisoma believes the compound “remains an attractive niche opportunity,” and has high hopes it will be able to out-license it for continued development.

In a Phase I study, AS1411 demonstrated broad anticancer activity, but the company now plans to focus on two unspecified tumour types in order “to gather specific evidence for activity in these cancers.” More details will be disclosed at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in mid-May.

Antisoma’s chief executive Glyn Edwards said: “One of our strengths is portfolio management. We're determined that our cash resources should be focused where there is the best prospect of a return for shareholders, and we are quite prepared to cut programmes when necessary to invest more in those with the greatest promise. Everything we have seen to date suggests that the case for extra investment in AS1411 is compelling.”