Mike Ward
& Shaun Brown
Staff writers

OXFORD - Europe's biotech flagships are letting in water. The latest European biotech company to hit the rocks is NeuroSearch A/S, which last Friday announced that Pharmacia & Upjohn, its partner for NS2710 anxiety treatment, had jumped ship and that another partner, Bristol-Myers Squibb, might follow suit.

NEUS shares plummeted 63 percent from DKK395 ($58.60) to close Friday at DKK145, wiping DKK1.6 billion ($237 million) off the company's market capitalization to DKK928 million.

This is the latest in a series of bad news that has undermined Europe's leading companies. Only three of Europe's largest 12 bioscience companies have increased their market caps this year (see A2). The top tier companies - which represented 63 percent of the value of all publicly quoted European bioscience companies at the start of the year, have seen $368 million (5.5 percent) wiped off their valuations. As a group they were worth $6.4 billion at week's end.