UK biotech Cambridge Antibody Technology managed to trim back its losses for the fiscal year ended September 30, thanks to a one-off payment resulting from its lawsuit settlement with Abbott Laboratories over royalties for arthritis drug Humira (adalimumab).

Net losses were reduced to £1.58 million from more than £38 million in the prior year, while revenues climbed dramatically to £194 million from £15.9 million, helped by a strong performance by Humira, which achieved sales of $959 million for the first nine months of 2005.

In October, CAT settled the long-running Humira lawsuit by agreeing to a reduced royalty rate of a little under 2.8%, in return to a one-off payment of $255 million – some of which will be used to pay its own licensing commitments relating to the drug - and five annual payments of £9.4 million a year.

CEO Peter Chambre said the company was now able to plan for the future with a ‘higher degree of certainty than has been the case for the past three years’.

Nomura said that the results were a little better then expected, but noted that CAT is still sitting on a slightly sparse product pipeline, following the failure of glaucoma drug Trabio (lerdelimumab) in Phase III testing. The UK biotech currently has two in-house product candidates, and one product partnered with Genzyme, in clinical trials.

CAT started a Phase I trial of its monoclonal antibody CAT-354 for the treatment of severe asthma last year, and will initiate additional studies in the first quarter of 2006. Earlier this month the company acquired two additional clinical candidates from US company Genencor: CAT-3888 for hairy cell leukaemia, in Phase II trials, and an improved follow-up CAT-8015 in preclinical development.

Meanwhile, the company started a Phase I trial of GC-1008 in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in October alongside Genzyme.