Living Cell Technologies annual loss up by a third on drug trial costs

The full-year loss was primarily due to the cost of running the Phase IIb clinical trial of NTCELL in Parkinson's disease.

Living Cell Technologies, the ASX-listed biotech company with New Zealand-based operations, said its full-year loss was 33 percent up on higher costs associated with its latest drug trials.

The Melbourne-based company reported a net loss of A$4.09 million, or 76 cents per share, in the year to June 30 versus a loss of A$3.09 million, or 69 cents, a year earlier.

Living Cell Technologies has developed a treatment for Parkinson's disease using choroid plexus brain cells from neonatal pigs, called NTCELL. According to the company, the cells are implanted into a damaged site in the brain and then function as a "neurochemical factory" producing factors that promote new central nervous system growth and repair disease-induced nerve degeneration.

The full year loss was primarily due to the cost of running the Phase IIb clinical trial of NTCELL in Parkinson's disease and the cost of manufacturing NTCELL for the trial, the company said. Research and development expenses rose to A$4.4 million from A$3.2 million in the prior year.

Its cash and cash equivalents increased to A$7.5 million from A$5.3 million due to a private placement to institutional and professional investors in November 2016 raising a net A$5.9 million, partially offset by NTCELL manufacturing, clinical trial costs and ongoing corporate expenses, it said.

The company said treatments in the Phase IIb clinical study were completed at the end of April and "we are now eagerly waiting for the results to be unblinded in November." It has previously said if successful, the company will apply for provisional consent and launch NTCELL as the first disease modifying treatment for Parkinson's disease in 2018.

The shares last traded at 12.5 Australian cents and have gained around 45 percent so far this year.

(BusinessDesk)