SYDNEY — CSL Ltd. has given the Australian half-year reporting season a promising start for biotech companies by announcing a profit that increased by 11 percent to A$13.8 million for the six months ending Dec. 31, 1997.

Australian listed companies usually report profits for the half year to December and the full year to June, with the December-half reporting season now in full swing. CSL, of Parkville, is one of the largest of the Australian biotech companies and the first to report for the half year.

CSL's managing director, Brian McNamee, said the "pleasing" result was due partly to sales in the three core activities of bioplasma products, pharmaceutical vaccines and veterinary vaccines, which increased by 15 percent over sales for the previous December half year. Total sales for the half year were A$156.3 million.

Among other projects in hand, CSL has a vaccine for human papillomavirus undergoing Phase I trials in the U.S. with Merck & Co Inc., of Whitehouse Station, N.J. (See BioWorld International, Sept. 3, 1997, p. 3.) — Mark Lawson