Genetic Therapy cut its losses in 1st quarter


Genetic Therapy Inc., a Gaithersburg biotech firm, cut its losses by nearly a third in the first quarter as it received additional funding for research from its Swiss backer.

The 9-year-old company, which is pursuing genetic-based cures for a variety of diseases, yesterday reported its quarterly revenues were up 86.6 percent to $2.8 million compared with $1.3 million for the same period a year ago.

This was primarily due to increased funding from Sandoz Pharma Ltd. The Swiss company, which is part of the giant international conglomerate Sandoz AG, stepped up its support in June for research in brain cancer, according to Marc R. Schneebaum, Genetic Therapy's chief financial officer.

The infusion of capital cut the company's quarterly losses to $2.4 million, or 18 cents a share, from $3.4 million, or 26 cents a share, for the same period a year ago. "In the biotech field, that is a favorable development," Mr. Schneebaum said.

The company is developing gene therapy for such diseases as cancer, cystic fibrosis, and Gaucher disease. It involves placing a genetically altered cell in a diseased organ to fight a disease or correct a genetic defect.

The company's stock got a boost in March when Genetic Therapy announced it had received a patent for the process of introducing genetically engineered human cells into patients. The stock went from $7.75 a share on March 16 to $11.75 on March 22. It has drifted down, closing yesterday at $9.75 a share.

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