Amateur hour

Managing relations with institutional buyers takes skill, hard work and consistency, but it can be done: after all, these are professionals who understand the stock market. Managing relations with retail investors, on the other hand, may be impossible: companies can't possibly contact them directly, and as a group they know little about the workings of the market and even less about what makes biotech tick.

The impact of retail ignorance was dramatically illustrated last week by the movement of British Biotech plc's stock following the Oxford company's announcement of interim Phase II results of Marimastat in a variety of cancers.