LONDON - Vanguard Medica Ltd., of Guildford, Surrey, said it will drop two of six drugs in clinical development following completion of Phase II trials.

The decision followed a “re-evaluation of the commercial potential“ of the two compounds, VML 295 and VML 262, both for the treatment of mild to moderate plaque psoriasis.

The company will return the rights to the licensors, and does not expect to invest any more money in the two compounds. Vanguard's share price fell by £0.10, to £3.20 (US$5.39), when the news was announced last week.

VML 295, a leukotriene antagonist, was licensed from Eli Lilly & Co., of Indianapolis, and was being developed by Vanguard for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. Vanguard had anticipated launches in both indications in 2002. VML 262, licensed from Strathclyde University, in Glasgow, Scotland, is an extract of the Calendula officinalis plant. It has been shown to be effective in the topical treatment of psoriasis.

Vanguard said the decision will “release resources for new opportunities and is in line with he company's strategy of concentrating on projects with strong clinical and commercial potential.“

The company also released results for the six months ended June 30, showing a loss of £9.98 million, compared to £9.94 million for the same period of 1997. There was £49.2 million in cash, compared to £44.5 million a year earlier. *

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