UK cancer drug developer Antisoma saw its net loss for the year ended June 30, 2005, soar to £7.1 million from the £600,000 for the prior year, reflecting a substantial fall in revenues and a heavier investment in the group’s clinical pipeline from the acquisition of US group Aptamera.

In February, the company completed its purchase of privately-held Aptamera through the issue of 66.5 million new shares, which valued the latter group at £16.7 million, including acquisition costs. The group noted that its decision to buy Aptamera was based on the strength of its lead drug, the aptamer AS1411 [[10/01/05c]].

Revenues for the year plummeted 65% to £6.3 million, on reduced in refunding of expenditure by Swiss drugmaker Roche (£400,000 versus £8.7 million for 2004) as well as declining recognition of revenues relating to its 2002 partnership with the firm (£5.9 million versus £9.4 million).

Cash and liquid resources dropped dramatically for the year, ending at £25 million compared to £38 million for 2004. According to the firm, the money injected into multiple programmes has advanced their progress to a stage at which Antisoma expects to reach significant development milestones in 2005 or 2006. The company holds sufficient resources to attain these milestones in the three clinical and two most advanced preclinical programmes, it noted.

On the plus side, total operating costs of £17.4 million were down from the previous year’s £21.2 million, as research and development costs were £4.1 million lower at £12.5 million, though these figures mask a substantial hike in investment in Antisoma's development programmes, the group said.

Commenting on the results, Glyn Edwards, Antisoma chief executive, stated: “This has been a year of great progress. We have succeeded both in advancing our established pipeline products and in bringing in an exciting new drug, AS1411, through our acquisition of Aptamera. We look forward with confidence to a year including many important development milestones and results, starting with the first findings from our Phase II study of AS1404 in lung cancer.”