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Living Cell reports wider loss

NZN 22/02/2017 Rebecca Howard

Living Cell Technologies, the ASX-listed biotech company with New Zealand-based operations, reported a wider loss in the six months to December 31 on increased research and development.

The company said its consolidated operating loss after tax was A$2.1 million versus a loss of A$1.4m in the same period a year earlier. Its loss per share was A42 cents.

The main reason was increased costs incurred during the clinical trial of Living Cell's NTCELL product to treat Parkinson's disease, as well as the cost of security for the supply and manufacture of NTCELL, the company said.

Earlier this month it received approval to begin treating six patients in group 3 of the trial at Auckland City Hospital.

The aim of the trial is to confirm the most effective doses of NTCELL, define any placebo component of the response and further identify the initial target Parkinson's disease patient sub group. If the trial is successful it will apply for provisional consent to treat paying in New Zealand in late 2017, the Melbourne-headquartered company said.

It noted an increase in services provided to $55,556 from $30,373 reflecting the facilities provided its 50 per cent joint venture company with Diatranz Otsuka, now the company leases manufacturing premises. That joint venture is looking to accelerate development of DIABECELL, a cell therapy aimed at improving some of the symptoms of type 1 diabetes, using cells from a unique breed of pigs from the remote Auckland Islands

The company said its Callaghan Innovation Growth Grant income increased as a result of eligible research and development expenditure. The grant income jumped to $448,221 from $245,244. Expenses on research and development, however, jumped to $1.79 million from $911,012 in the same period a year earlier.

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