British biotechnology shares continue to outperform the FTSE100 -an index of 100 leading British shares quoted on the London StockExchange. According to the latest BioIndex from accountants ArthurAndersen, biotech companies have also done better than either thepharmaceutical companies or health care sector so far in 1994.Nonetheless there has been a decline in the Andersen BioIndex, whichtracks the market capitalization of biotech companies quoted on theLondon Stock Exchange. The index is produced quarterly. In the firstthree months of 1994, the BioIndex fell by 5.6 percent. By contrast,however, the market capitalization of listed pharmaceuticals companieswas down 10.9 percent, with the health care sector off 15.1 percentover the same period.The index comprises 13 companies with a combined marketcapitalization on March 25 of 957 million (U.S. $1.4 billion). Onlytwo companies saw their market value increase over the past threemonths: British Biotechnology Group (BBG) increased by 32 percentto 166 million (U.S. $250 million), while Cantab Pharmaceuticalsrose 13 percent, to 45 million (U.S. $67.5 million).BBG announced promising results from early clinical trials of its anti-cancer compound batimastat. Its share price rose to 465p (U.S. $6.97)from its flotation price of 425p (U.S. $6.37).The biggest declines were in the value of Chiroscience, a newly floatedcompany whose value declined by 21 percent, to 81 million (U.S.$121 million); and Proteus International, down 31 percent to 80million (U.S. $120 million). Andersen ascribes the decline in the valueof Proteus to the resignation of UBS as joint stockbrokers for thecompany, "despite announcing alliances with several drug companiesin the first three months of this year, including American HomeProducts and Medeva."

-- Michael Kenward Special to BioWorld Today

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