Biocompaticles International (BII.L) in

UK’s Biocompatibles in deal to combat ageing

LONDON, March 4 – Britain’s Biocompatibles International (BII.L) agreed to buy Germany’s CellMed AG for up to 22.2 million euros ($29.3 million) on Friday, gaining access to an experimental Botox-style drug to combat ageing.

Biocompatibles, which focuses on the treatment of heart disease and cancer, said it would pay an initial sum of 5.2 million euros, including 3.0 million in cash and the rest in Biocompatibles shares.

Of the maximum consideration, around 70 percent is payable in Biocompatibles
shares and the rest in cash. Both firms specialise in bead technology, in which a potentially toxic drug is encapsulated in a bead, a delivery vehicle which regulates a drug’s release into the body.

“This is exactly the kind of deal we wanted to do … to add to our bead technology programme, Chief Executive Crispin Simon.

Biocompatibles said it would prioritise three of CellMed’s products which it hoped to launch in Europe by 2008, including a treatment to address the $700 million anti-ageing market.

The therapy would be used to treat wrinkles. “It’s more biocompatible than Botox,” said Simon.

Biocompatibles also said group turnover increased by 23 percent to 2.6 million pounds in 2004. The firm ended the year with 45.2 million in net cash, ahead of
analysts’ expectations.

Simon said the group had delayed spending in some areas but that none of its programmes had been compromised. But some analysts were still cautious on the outcome of the acquisition.

“On the surface, this small acquisition appears to fit very well … (but) we require further detail to enable us to assess the valuation impact of this acquisition,” analysts at Nomura Securities said. Biocompatibles shares rose 2-1/2 percent in early trading to 276-1/2 pence.