LONDON - Peptide Therapeutics Group plc said last week it will disclose Phase II data on its hay fever and oral typhoid vaccines by the end of this year, and will seek licensees in the first half of next year.

The hay fever vaccine, designed to prevent rye grass allergy, has completed a double-blind, placebo-controlled study in 100 patients at four centers in the U.K. SmithKline Beecham plc, of London, which has already licensed Peptide's broader allergy vaccine - designed to prevent all allergic responses - has an option to license this product. Peptide Therapeutics, based in Cambridge, said SmithKline will make a decision following presentation of the final Phase II trial report.

Three-quarters of the 80 volunteers in the oral typhoid trial, which is being performed at the Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland, in Baltimore, have now been recruited. Peptide Therapeutics said that, so far, the safety profile is consistent with the Phase I, in which there was no vaccinemia and the compound was highly immunogenic.

The company also announced results for the six months ended June 30, showing losses of £4.3 million (US$7.2 million), compared to £2.7 million for the same period in 1997. Revenues fell sharply to £199,000 from £2.5 million. However, the 1997 figure included a £2.4 million milestone payment from SmithKline for the generalized allergy vaccine.

Expenditure on research and development fell to £4.5 million from £5.4 million, and the company expects research and development spending to remain constant in the second half of this year. Overall cash burn was on budget at £4.9 million and the company had a cash balance of £15.9 million as of June 30.

“We have continued to progress our product pipeline and now have three products undergoing Phase II trials, with a further three due to enter clinical development within the next twelve months,“ said John Brown, CEO. *