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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 August, 2003, 08:32 GMT 09:32 UK
Celltech profits surge
Petri dish, tests - Corbis
Celltech plans to start key drug trails later this year
Profits at Celltech Group have jumped 78% in the first six months of the year.

The first set of results unveiled under new chief Dr Goran Ando showed profits before tax and one-off items rose to 20.9m ($33.4m) from 11.9m in the same period last year.

The biotech firm also announced restructuring plans in a bid to streamline its business.

Under the plans the group said it would close its manufacturing facility in California, adding it had already cut 100 jobs in the UK and France.

Dr Ando said: "I am delighted with the continued strong financial performance seen in the first half of 2003."

He also announced the firm was set to start key trials of a treatment for inflammatory bowel disease, a potentially crucial product for Celltech.

'Exciting times ahead'

The group also added it had delivered on the promise of rapid integration with Abingdon-based rival Oxford Glycosciences (OGS), which it acquired in July.

A number of OGS cancer research projects have been adopted by the enlarged group - including a treatment for Gaucher's disease which was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Dr Ando added: "We see an exciting period ahead for Celltech... reaching important milestones with our development pipeline.

"Celltech has in place all the components required to turn it into a top tier global biotechnology company."

However, as a result of the OGS takeover, restructuring and redundancies Celltech was hit by costs of 69.5m.

That meant that at the bottom line, the firm's losses actually widened to 44.7m from 34.9m a year before.

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