The UK’s Antisoma says that its half-year operating losses have narrowed 18.8% and is predicting a strong 2007 on the back of progress through the pipeline of a number of drugs.

The loss was £7.8 million while revenues for the six months ended December 31 were £300,000, down from £1.3 million in the like, year-earlier period. The company ended the year with cash and equivalents of £33.6 million.

Antisoma’s chairman Barry Price said the company had ended the year on a high, most notably after having announced positive data from three Phase II trials of AS1404 in lung, prostate and ovarian cancer. Preparations are being made for a Phase III trial in lung cancer progressing through talks with potential marketing partners for the drug. Dr Price noted that “interest in licensing AS1404 has been considerable and we are confident that we will reach an agreement with a strong partner during the first half of 2007.”

Roche, which had first refusal on AS1404 through another licensing deal with Antisoma, chose not to exercise its option to take the drug into Phase III in June, leading to a dramatic fall in the UK firm’s share price. Sanofi-Aventis, AstraZeneca and Pfizer have been rumoured to be interested in a partnership.

Regarding the rest of the pipeline, AS1411 is progressing to Phase II trials in renal cancer and acute myeloid leukaemia and a Phase I study shows promising activity in renal cancer. Plans are being made to begin a Phase II trial of the anti-MUC1 antibody drug AS1402 during this year and first trials of the antibody-cytokine drug, AS1409, in melanoma and renal cell

carcinoma, should start in 2007.

In December, Antisoma raised £26.3 million, before expenses, through an oversubscribed placing of almost 74 million new shares and “the proceeds will enable us to press ahead with the development of our promising pipeline,” Dr Price concluded.