British biotech company sets up shop near Annapolis

November 23, 1993|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,Staff Writer

Maryland's budding biotechnology industry took a modest step forward yesterday when British Bio-technology Group plc, of Oxford, England, announced the opening of its U.S. clinical research and regulatory affairs subsidiary near Annapolis.

"This is another milestone in Maryland's growing biotechnology industry," Mark L. Wasserman, secretary of the state Department of Economic and Employment Development, said during a news conference.

Peter P. McCann, vice president of research and development for British Bio-technology Inc., the U.S. subsidiary, said it would begin operating with a staff of only five to 10 people. He saw that number increasing to between 15 and 20 over the next year.

Dr. McCann said the Annapolis office, housed in the Power Technology Center building, will serve three primary roles:

* To clinically testing the parent company's work in developing drugs, including those for the treatment of cancer and others to slow down or prevent the onset of AIDS in patients infected with HIV.

* To work with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in gaining the government's input into research as well as its approval for new drugs.

* To attract U.S. investors.

"To make ourselves better known among analysts and to attract American investors, we need to have a presence in the U.S.," Dr. McCann said.

Dr. McCann said the company would like to increase the share of its stock held by Americans from the current 15 percent to 50 percent or more.

The parent company was formed in 1986 and has grown from 16 workers to about 400, Dr. McCann said, but has not yet marketed any products.

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