Cambridge Antibody Technology Group plc (CAT) of Royston, Cambridgeshire has given up on its work toward a fat-destroying antibody, dropping its project in morbid obesity. The company said it had succeeded in developing antibodies that bind to human adipocytes (fat storage cells), but decided to discontinue the work following a review of the preclinical data.

The project was based on animal data which showed treating animals with antibodies that bind with and destroy adipocytes leads to a reduction in the number of adipocytes and loss of body fat.

CAT made the disclosure as it released financial results for the six months ending March 31, showing a loss for the period of #6.5 million (US$10.4 million), up from #3 million for the same period last year. There were no revenues. There was cash of #27.4 million at the end of the six months, down from #40.9 million on March 31, 1998.

The company also reported progress with J695, its fully-human antibody against IL12, which is a pro-inflammatory molecule associated with autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. This product will enter Phase I trials this summer, conducted by BASF Pharma and Genetics Institute. - Nuala Moran