SYDNEY, Australia - After spending A$14 million (US$8.8 million) on biotechnology research and development, Amrad Corp. last week reported a loss of A$11.4 million for the company's fiscal half year to December.

Despite the latest figures representing a burn rate of A$20 million for the half year - on total revenues down 21 percent, to A$70 million (partly due to a discontinued pharmaceuticals business) - investors remained hopeful.

Focusing on recent announcements instead of an apparent increase in the loss rate, they pushed the share price up A$0.07 to A$1.49 by the end of the week.

Among other recent events for the company, Amrad and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in early February announced a A$50 million deal involving the licensing of a gene useful in genetic therapy for cardiovascular disorders.

Amrad is among the big spenders on biotechnology research and development in the small Australian market. With nine biotechnology projects at various stages in development, Amrad had A$51.2 million in cash and investments on the December balance date.

Other Australian biotech companies have reported mixed results for the December half. The pharmaceutical-biotech company CSL Ltd. announced that net profit was down 8.5 percent, to A$16.2 million; and Peptech Ltd., which announced a deal with New York-based Pfizer Inc. in December, reported a net profit of A$280,000 for the quarter ended in December.