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CeNeS stock rockets on takeover hint

Cambridge-based biotechnology company CeNeS saw its share price soar this week after it revealed that it was in talks with a prospective purchaser.

Cambridge-based biotechnology company CeNeS saw its share price soar this week after it revealed that it was in talks with a prospective purchaser. No offer has yet been confirmed though the firm, whose share price on January 31 had been sitting at rock bottom (around 30p), saw its value on the AIM market rise on speculation by more than 60 per cent (at 16:00 February 5). It declined to comment on the source of its takeover approach.

Late last year, the company said it had anticipated securing a licensing deal for its lead product in 2008, however, analysts were surprised by the potential takeover news this week having observed CeNeS's value decline progressively in 2007, lagging behind the UK pharma and biotech market significantly. According to reports, the company had been struggling to get any products to market, hampered by issues at the evaluation stage.

The firm's main therapy focus is analgesia, with its lead compound (M6G) in phase III studies for post-operative pain. It's also developing CNS 5161 for neuropathic pain (phase II) and CNS 7056, a short-acting sedative in preclinical tests. The company also lists a potential COMT (catechol-omethyl transferase) inhibitor candidate for Parkinson's disease and/or schizophrenia.

With CeNeS's strong focus on pain, Collins Stewart analyst Navid Malik speculated that any purchaser of the firm would likely also be a key player in the analgesia market. An announcement on whether or not an offer has been made formally is anticipated soon.

2nd September 2008

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