LONDON - Core Group plc, which focuses on drug delivery, this week reported results for the six months ended June 30 showing losses up to £2.5 million (US$4.2 million) from £1.9 million in the same period of 1997. The company said this was on plan, with the increased loss due to rising development costs. There was £19 million in cash at the end of the period, down from £25.3 million as of June 1997 and sufficient to fund the company, based in Irvine, Scotland, through to the end of 1999.

In August, Core received clearance from the FDA for a pivotal clinical study of its lead compound, Moraxen, a rectally administered formulation of morphine for terminal cancer patients. Patient recruitment into the trial will begin before the end of this year. A key objective for the next 12 months is to build a network of marketing partnerships for Moraxen in Europe.

Core also said it is seeking partners who need a delivery system for novel peptide molecules, for its Oral Sustained Action Technology system. This biodegradable microsphere system has been tested in vivo and the results indicate controlled release of a model peptide drug over a 45-day period. - Nuala Moran^