|Successor||company merged into Vernalis|
|Headquarters||Oxford, United Kingdom|
Keith McCullagh, 1986–1998
Elliot Goldstein, 1998–2002
Tim Edwards, 2002–2003
Brian Richards, 1986–1998
Christopher Hampson, 1998–2002
Peter Fellner, 2002–2003
Number of employees
British Biotech was a British-based biotechnology company founded as British Biotechnology Limited in 1986 by former G D Searle managers Keith McCullagh and Brian Richards. It was the first British biotech company to be publicly listed when it was floated on 1 July 1992.
In 1996, despite having no compounds on or near the market, the company was temporarily valued at nearly $2.5 billion, largely on the basis of its two main development drugs: marimastat (a novel matrix metalloprotease inhibitor for cancer treatment) and zacutex (for pancreatitis).
In February 1998, Dr Andrew Millar was dismissed as Head of Clinical Research and went on to make allegations that "the Board were running a business plan consistent only with extreme and unfounded optimism". These events were the subject of an inquiry by the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology in August 1998 which absolved Dr Millar of any responsibility for the company's problems.
Subsequent investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Food and Drug Administration, London Stock Exchange and the European Medicines Evaluation Agency found that British Biotech had wilfully misled the public about the progress of marimastat and that unblinding data before the end of clinical trials does not necessarily invalidate the results. Marimastat underwent Phase III trials in collaboration with Schering-Plough Corporation. Further development of zacutex was abandoned due to poor clinical trial results.
In 2003, British Biotech merged with RiboTargets and then into Vernalis. The British Biotech company name disappeared after this merger and remaining staff integrated into the Vernalis organisation in Winnersh, Berkshire.
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