More MS news articles for Feb 2002

Angiotech trial results for MS drug expected soon

February 13, 2002
John Greenwood
Financial Post

VANCOUVER - Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc. yesterday reported it is making progress in its efforts to develop a treatment for multiple sclerosis, a program industry observers are watching closely. Analysts said the Vancouver-based biotech company is expected to post results of clinical trials within the next few weeks.

Last year, Angiotech received regulatory clearance to extend its Phase 2 MS study for another year. The main object of the study extension is to determine whether the treatment is safe, with and without other medication. The study will also try to find out the best dosage level for the treatment.

In the first quarter of 2002, Angiotech reported a loss of $3.2-million, or 21¢ a share. That compares to a loss of $2.5-million (16¢) in the same period last year.

Angiotech's lead product is a drug-coated stent technology currently in late stage clinical trials. It has been licensed to a number of leading U.S. stent manufacturers including Boston Scientific Corp. and Cook Inc.

The product is not expected to reach the U.S. market until 2003, however when it does the pay off to Angiotech is expected to be substantial as the market for drug-coated stents is estimated at several billion dollars.

The company had revenue for the three-month period ended Dec. 31 of $422,000, up from $173,000 in the year earlier period. Revenue was in the form of licence, option and research contract fees.

Research and development costs were $2.7-million in the quarter, down from $3.5-million in 2002. Angiotech said the decrease was due mostly to the completion of patient enrollment in the company's Phase 1 clinical trials for multiple sclerosis during fiscal 2001.

Angiotech said general and administrative costs jumped to $2.5-million from $1-million in the first quarter of 2000. It blamed the increase on higher personnel fees and costs as well as professional fees.

At Dec. 31, Angiotech had cash and short-term investments of $152.2-million, compared to $156.1-million at the end of the previous first quarter.

Since the end of September, shares in Angiotech have surged more than 20%, ending the session yesterday up 30¢ at $85.30.

On Friday, the company announced the receipt of a $3.3-million milestone payment from partner Cook Inc.

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