Monday, July 20, 1998
Shire Pharmaceuticals (LSE:SHP), Britain's leading entrepreneurial life sciences company, is building up a head of steam that could see it breaking away from the U.K. biotech pack. The company has been delivering on its promises (see Cover Story), and the market is prepared to reward the company for doing so. Even before details of promising Phase III results of its potential Alzheimer's treatment were unveiled last Saturday, SHP stock motored in a positive direction, closing Friday up 12 percent on the week at 487.5p. Market observers are now viewing SHP as the U.K.'s best candidate to make the transition from an entrepreneurial business into a sustainable emerging pharmaceutical company.
BBG RESPITE: Shire notwithstanding, British Biotech (LSE:BBG;BBIOY) found itself in a position it has not been in for some time: BBG shares rose 12 percent last week to close at 34.75p, on almost 11 million shares. Although a 3.75p increase may not look like much, with 659 million shares outstanding BBG's market capitalization jumped £24.7 million (US$40.3 million). The view of buyside institutions such as Perpetual is that the share price already reflects the full brunt of the Millargate revelations (see Noteworthy, A4). With a closing market cap of £230 million and £132.8 million in cash, BBG has a nominal technology value of just under £100 million.