Business Week – Hepatitis drug boosts XTL.

Drug specialist XTL Biopharmaceuticals, which says its pre-clinical trials for its new hepatitis treatments are showing ‘promising results’, will announce maiden annual results on Monday.

The London-listed Israeli company reported progress on trials for its hepatitis B and C programmes in December. In a conference on hepatitis C and related viruses, XTL added it expected tests to go into clinical trial phase this year.

It also announced last Friday that it has acquired a stake in US-based iviGene Corporation.

XTL acquired 20% of iviGene for $1m (#680,000) and has the option of buying the remaining stake for $4m.

It also agreed to fund research conducted by the company over the next 18 months. In return it will have access to iviGene’s technology.

This is XTL’s second deal since January, when it entered into an agreement with Nasdaq-listed Dyax Corporation, a drug development firm. The companies will collaborate to identify and optimise human antibodies used to fight fungal and cancer targets. During its first year of listing on the London Stock Exchange, the company also won a US patent covering human monoclonal antibodies against hepatitis B.

Although XTL specialises in the development of therapy against all life-threatening diseases, its core products are anti-hepatitis therapeutics, made up of antibodies and administered as intravenous infusions.

‘XTL’s focus on developing an anti-HBV and an anti-HCV therapeutics fills a void in available therapies to treat life-threatening diseases,’ said a company spokesman. XTL claims that, according to the American Liver Association, viral hepatitis is the most common serious disease that infects two billion people worldwide.

The research method uses immuno-suppressed mice, which are given human immune systems and infected with hepatitis, against which the animal develops human antibodies. This method enables XTL scientists to develop human antibody-producing cells.

XTL raised #35.6m by placing 2.85 million shares on the London Stock Exchange in September last year. The company said it intends to continue the development of its current pipeline products, expand its portfolio, and enhance existing technology with the proceeds from the float.

The company is listed on the FTSE international pharmaceutical index and the techMARK, the London Stock Exchange’s hi-tech index.

For more company information visit


Results 30 June, 2000

Royalties: #1m

Research and development costs: #2.5m

Loss for the period: #2.7m

Capitalisation: #168m

Executive Directors:

Martin Becker, PhD, president and CEO, appointed November 1994. Jonathan Burgin, FD, appointed 1999

Auditor: KPMG

Company profile: Established in 1993, XTL Biopharmaceuticals listed on the London Stock Exchange’s techMARK index in September. The Israeli company is currently developing drugs for the treatment of hepatitis and has research agreements with Eli Lilly and Roche.

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