Snake anti-venom adds bite to profit hike at pharma firm BTG

City A.M. Reporter
STRONG demand for snake anti-venom and cancer drugs helped BTG lift revenue 30 per cent to £143.4m in the half-year to the end of September, the firm said yesterday.

The speciality pharmaceutical company was also boosted by the successful US launch of a treatment to prevent toxicity caused by cancer chemotherapy and growing royalties from Johnson & Johnson’s prostate cancer drug Zytiga.

Profit after tax for the period was 44 per cent higher at £18.3m.

BTG had already flagged a good first-half performance last month, when it raised its full-year revenue guidance to £205m-£215m, up from a previous range of £190m-£200m. It reiterated that outlook.

Revenue for the company is skewed to the first half of the financial year, since the summer is the peak snake biting season in the US. Demand for its CroFab anti-venom drug was boosted this year by wholesaler stocking and higher prices.

The US commercial launch in April of chemotherapy toxicity drug Voraxaze also lifted results in the period.

Under chief executive Louise Makin, BTG has undergone a transformation from a group that buys up patents and licenses them out into a pharmaceutical company marketing its own products.

“We have moved a long way, particularly in the last four years, but we are ambitious, we have solid financials and we are in growth mode,” Makin said.

With £151m of cash, BTG is able to cast its net for potential acquisitions and Makin said she was hunting for deals that could add specialist products, particularly ones suitable for selling through the company’s US operations.