Cancer drug developer, Antisoma, which recently agreed to acquire Aptamera of the US [[10/01/05c]], disappointed investors this morning with a doubling of operating losses for the six months to the end of December 2004, versus the corresponding period in 2003 [[11/02/04h]].

Revenues for the six-month period also proved somewhat of a disappointment, narrowing from £9.3 million to £4.8 million. All revenues recognised during the six months arose from Antisoma’s agreement with Roche [[18/11/02b]] – £4.5 million was recognised from the £23.2 million upfront payments received after the deal was signed, together with £0.3 million in relation to development costs of the lead ovarian cancer drug, R1549 (formerly pemtumomab) and R1550 for breast cancer. The reduction in revenues came mainly as a result of the wind-down of the R1549 programme [[26/04/04c]], and the transfer of responsibility for the R1550 clinical programme to Roche [[23/11/04f]]. On a brighter note, research and development costs for the period declined by 35% to £5 million, and the company ended the six months with some £32.3 million in the bank.

Following the discontinuation of R1549 and transfer of development of R1550 to Roche, Antisoma is expecting both the costs and revenues associated with the development of these products to be minimal. The firm had received upfront amounts from its Swiss partner totalling £23.2 million, of which £19.2 million has been recognised to date – leaving a £4 million, which will be fully recognised by the end of December 2005.

Barry Price, Chairman of Antisoma, commented: “We look forward to a series of major milestones in 2005, with important progress expected on all four of our products in clinical trials.” This includes the first Phase II findings from studies on AS1404 in the treatment of lung cancer, and data from the Phase I study that Roche is performing on R1550 in breast cancer.