Celltech Chiroscience, the recently merged biotechnology group, is to sell the loss-making Rapigene division which conducts rapid genetic analysis. Part of the gene-to-drug strategy of John Padfield, the former chief executive of Chiroscience, it was hoped that Rapigene would build up revenue from its Masscode system - a screening method for identifying variations in human DNA . This method of DNA analysis has huge potential but because it currently loses money, Celltech is unlikely to raise more than $5m.
Shares in SmithKline Beecham and Glaxo Wellcome soared last week on hopes that a merger between the two UK drugs giants was back on again. Speculation was partly fuelled by reports that SmithKline's chief executive, Jan Leschly, is to retire early. Mr Leschly has opposed the deal since last February when a previous attempt at a £100b merger with Glaxo collapsed acrimoniously.
Sources and References
Celltech seeks to dispose of Rapigene
Garnier under the microscope
Glaxo and SmithKline tipped to merge