Shares in UK biotechnology group Cambridge Antibody Technology inched up 1.7% to 758 pence in early morning trading on September 12, following news of a cut in the firm’s nine-month loss and a substantial jump in turnover.

The company reported a loss of £21.6 million, or 44.5 pence per share, for the nine months to June 30, falling 23.9% from the same period of 2004, as cash inflow was given a boost from the sale of over a fifth of the group’s shares in Germany’s MorphoSys during the third quarter, generating net sale proceeds to CAT of £2.1 million.

Sales for the period leapt 19.8% to £12.1 million, driven by a clinical milestone payment from Massachussets, USA-based Dyax, in addition to other revenues stemming from a patent dispute settlement with MorphoSys reached in 2002.

R&D expenses fell 14.4% to £27.4 million, as external development costs dropped 33.3% from the same nine months of last year to £9.2 million, reflecting a reduction of spending on the Trabio programme (lerdelimumab). The firm terminated work on its glaucoma candidate after a second Phase III trial failed to meet its primary endpoint earlier this year [[23/03/05c]].

General and administration costs rose to £10.6 million from £8.0 million, primarily due to the CAT’s ongoing litigation with US healthcare major Abbott Laboratories over the rate of royalties due from sales of the arthritis drug Humira (adalimumab), which resulted in expenses of £3.3 million versus £1.5 million for the like, year-earlier period. In addition, the group recorded a 30.8% jump in G&A staff costs to £3.4 million.