Plant closure hits ProStrakan

City A.M. Reporter
HIGHER distribution costs and a potential manufacturing problem with an anti-nausea patch overshadowed ProStrakan’s first core profit yesterday, which rose on higher sales of drugs for cancer pain and age-related diseases.

Shares in the pharmaceutical firm closed down 7.5 per cent at 74p, after an inspection forced it to halt production at the manufacturing plant for its Sancuso anti-nausea patch.

Numis analysts also said distribution costs rose five per cent in the period, and that higher
operating costs would continue.

“With today’s confirmation of the excellent drive in sales, our downgrade on future operating expenditure is disappointing,” they said in a note.

“The potential Sancuso manufacturing issue could be a bump in the road but should be temporary.”

The company posted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) of £1.2m for the six months to the end of June, against a £4.3m loss a year earlier, on 23 per cent higher revenue of £45.4m.

Aveva Drug Delivery Systems, the maker of Sancuso, which had sales of £4.6m in the period, halted manufacturing for 8-12 weeks following an inspection by America’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ProStrakan said.

“It’s a fluid situation and we don’t quite know what the outcome will be,” Totten said.
“We are working with the manufacturer and the FDA towards making sure there is either
no or minimal disruption to product supply.”

Sales of Abstral, a formulation of fentanyl, used to treat sudden bouts of severe pain in cancer patients, rose to £7.4m.