UK company, Protherics, has tumbled back into the red, recording a pre-tax loss of £2.9 million pounds in the year to the end of March, versus a pre-tax profit of £0.8 million a year earlier [[26/05/04d]]. However, the firm says that this was largely expected, due to a series of planned investments and the continued weakness of the US dollar.

Protherics ended the 12-month period with £7.3 million in the bank, boosted by a £10 million fundraising round last summer, for investments in manufacturing and sales and marketing [[13/08/04g]]. Sales of the rattlesnake antivenom, CroFab (crotalidae polyvalent immune fab), were £11.4 million for the year – slightly down on the £13 million recorded last year on the back of a reduction in the royalty rates from partner Altana and the weak US dollar. CroFab is currently the only product marketed for crotalid (pit viper) bites in the US, and Protherics believes it has captured about half of a potential $80 million-dollar US market.

DigiFab (digoxin immune fab), for the treatment of digoxin toxicity and overdose, brought in £5.9 million, against £5.7 million last year, with dollar weakness moderating an 11% volume increase from partner Altana. The company estimates that the US market for this product is worth around $25 million, and believes that this is shared about equally with GlaxoSmithKline’s rival, Digibind (digoxin immune fab). Altana is estimating an increase in both sales and market share in the coming year, but Protherics believes that its German partner will be lowering its own average inventory levels, which may lead to decreased revenues to Protherics. The product was filed with the European regulator last August, and the firm is eyeing winning the thumbs up from the UK regulator before the year is out. Approval would open up a European market worth around 5 million euros.

For the coming year, Protherics is expecting much of the same in financial terms, as the US dollar remains weak and it continues with its planned investments.