French drug delivery specialist Flamel Technologies saw its second quarter revenues rise 14 per cent to $5 million (€4.4m) over the same period of 2002, boosted by milestone payments from GlaxoSmithKline and Servier.
Flamel is developing new versions of undisclosed GSK and Servier drugs, as well as a new sachet formulation of GSK's Augmentin (amoxicillin/clavulanate) antibiotic, using its Micropump controlled release technology for oral delivery of small-molecule drugs. At present Flamel makes most of its money from licence and research revenue, and the company's activities in contract manufacturing and services brought in just $900,000 in the last quarter.
Flamel saw its net loss climb to $1.7 million in the second quarter, compared to just $68,000 a year earlier, as the cost of developing its long-acting Basulin (insulin) product swelled R&D spending by 74 per cent to $4.7 million. Currency factors also played a role in this, according to Flamel, which noted there was an increase of 23 per cent in the value of the Euro against the US dollar during the 12-month period.
Despite posting a loss, the French company has undergone something of a renaissance in the last few months after a difficult period in early 2002 when its former partner for Basulin, Novo Nordisk, pulled out of the project.
Basulin is based on its Medusa protein delivery system and in a recent study exhibited a pharmacokinetic profile that was similar to Aventis' recently-introduced long-acting insulin Lantus (insulin glargine), which achieved sales growth of 90 per cent in the first half of this year to reach €199 million.
Flamel is confident that it can position Basulin as a Lantus rival, but also that the development of the drug will raise the profile of its Medusa technology, which can be used to improve delivery of therapeutic proteins (a market currently estimated at around $27 billion).