Switzerland’s Basilea Pharmaceutica, which has three high-profile compounds in late-stage trials, says that its net loss for 2006 increased 71.6% to 85.1 million Swiss francs (£34.8 million), while revenues fell from 30.5 million francs to 7.4 million francs, though the total in 2005 did include a 24.9 million franc payment from partner Johnson & Johnson.

The company said the results were in line with expectations, though the sums were actually better than analyst consensus estimates, as they reflect a 14.4% rise in R&D expenditure to 82.8 million francs.

This figure is principally due to increased investment for Phase III trials of alitretinoin, a synthetic retinoid drug for patients with severe dermatitis of the hand who do not respond to topical corticosteroid treatment. A first regulatory filing is expected next year followed by a potential launch in 2008. Basilea also spent heavily on the preparation and initiation of Phase III studies of the antifungal isavuconazole.

A good deal of cash has also been spent on developing ceftobiprole, the antibiotic partnered with J&J, which is the first broad-spectrum cephalosporin to show efficacy in a large clinical trial against the superbug methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). A filing is expected in the middle of this year.

The firm ended the year with 176.6 million francs of cash and equivalents and chief executive Anthony Man said that these funds will help Basilea participate in the commercialisation of ceftobiprole and alitretinoin next year. The company recently announced that it is looking to set up its own sales force, initially to co-market ceftobiprole with J&J.