LONDON ¿ Pharming Group NV, of Leiden, the Netherlands, which specializes in the production of therapeutic proteins in the milk of transgenic animals, reported annual revenues up by 53 percent to EUR8.1 million (US$8.9 million) for the year ended Dec. 31, from EUR5.3 million for 1997. Losses rose to EUR17.4 million from EUR12.4 million. The company said this increase was due to the cost of technology acquisitions of EUR7.1 million; a charge of EUR1.3 million relating to the closure of its farms in the Netherlands; and an increase in expenditure as human-glucosidase and lactoferrin progress further in development.
At the end of December 1998, the company had cash of EUR71.3 million, which it said will last until the launch of its first product, alpha-glucosidase for the treatment of Pompe¿s disease. In July 1998, Pharming floated on Easdaq, the Pan-European exchange, raising EUR64.1 million. It has also said it will seek a joint listing on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange during the current quarter.
During the fourth quarter of 1998, Pharming won approval for its clinical study of alpha-glucosidase in the treatment of the glycolipid storage disorder Pompe¿s disease, which is being carried out in the Sophia Children¿s Hospital in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Last week, the company said no adverse side effects of the compound have been reported and the use of the drug appears safe. It is developing the compound in a joint venture with Genzyme Corp., of Cambridge, Mass.
On the basis of observations from the current trial, two pivotal, multicenter studies will start in the second quarter of this year in Europe and the U.S. George Hersbach, president and CEO, said the company remains ¿committed to the success of this potentially lifesaving therapy, and [is] on track to launch the product in early 2000.¿ n