CAT profits attributed to arthritis royalties

By Wai Lang Chui

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pharmacology

Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT) posted a first-half profit for
the year that was attributed to royalty payments for its Humira
rheumatoid arthritis drug.

The biotech company posted a net income figure of £4.59m (€6.7m), which compares favourably to a loss of £16.5m at the same time last year. Revenues soared to £27.7m from £9.8m

Cambridge Antibody, which last week accepted a £567m takeover offer from AstraZeneca, could illustrate further proof of big pharma's growing interest in antibody technology to develop new drugs.

Spiralling costs and low success rates have forced pharmaceutical companies to switch focus on emerging technologies and antibody products to develop new drugs.

Along with the AstraZeneca takeover, there is speculation that biotechnology company MorphoSys, will engage in a partnership deal, possibly with Japanese drug maker Takeda Pharmaceutical.

Humira, which is marketed by Abbott Laboratories, was discovered and developed using CAT technology. CAT received £144.7m from Abbott last October, which was paid out immediately to CAT's licensors as part of the litigation settlement with Abbott in respect of arthritis drug Humira.

CAT also posted details of additional royalty income, which consists of royalties received on sales of Humira for the three months to December 31 (£6.9m).

Accrued royalties for the three months to March 31 (£6m), plus the first two of five annual payments of $9.375m, (the first received from Abbott in January, the second due in January 2007.

AstraZeneca's acquisition comes on the back of an existing strategic partnership formed in November 2004, in which the Anglo-Swedish drug maker took a 19.2 per cent stake as well as paying a 67 per cent premium to gain complete control over CAT's technology and establish a presence in the research and development of biological drugs.

For AstraZeneca, the deal is a chance to extend the drugmaker's drive into biological medicines as it looks to restock a depleted drugs pipeline.

Cambridge Antibody specialises in developing antibody-based treatments. Antibodies are the immune system's response to infections or foreign molecules, and drugmakers are trying to harness their power to fight disease.

>Cambridge Antibody​ is also developing a cancer treatment, called CAT-3888, and compounds for diseases including Crohn's, muscular dystrophy and psoriasis.

Related topics Preclinical Research

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