Strictly embargoed for publication until 7.30 a.m. on 22 September 2003
INTERNATIONAL BIOTECHNOLOGY TRUST plc
The Board of International Biotechnology Trust Plc today announces its unaudited
Preliminary Results for the year ended 31 August 2003.
Strong recovery in the biotech market since the lows of July 2002
Three unquoted IBT portfolio companies, together representing 16% of net assets (at
31 August 2003), have filed to go public on the NASDAQ, market conditions
Net asset value per share rose by 14.5% to 112.8p
NASDAQ Biotech Index rose 48.1% (sterling adjusted), Merrill Lynch Small Cap
Biotech Index rose by 26.5% (sterling adjusted) and the Bloomberg UK Biotech Index
fell by 5.0%
The return on IBT's quoted portfolio was 46.4% calculated on a monthly time-
weighted return basis assuming mid-month cash flows, and 29.9% on an unweighted
basis (ignoring the timing of transactions)
Write-downs of two unquoted companies resulted in a fall in net assets for the year of
£1.4 million or 2.9% of net assets at 31 August 2002
New investments in seven quoted companies; sales of five quoted companies
No new unquoted investments; follow-on investments in CancerVax and Affibody
Total net assets at 31 August 2003: £53.9million (31 August 2002: £47.9 million)
Andrew Barker, Chairman, commented:
"After three years of falling stock markets I am pleased to be able to report better results
following the recovery in markets generally and specifically the biotech sector. The valuations
of the unquoted companies are based on tangible third party priced events, which include
trade sales, initial public offerings (IPOs) and third party financings. We are encouraged that
three of our unquoted companies, Aderis Pharmaceuticals, CancerVax and Eyetech
Pharmaceuticals, (together representing 16% of net assets at 31 August 2003) have recently
filed to go public on NASDAQ, market conditions permitting.
Investor sentiment towards the biotech sector is currently very positive. At the time of writing,
although the biotech IPO window has yet to open in the US, twelve biotech companies have
filed to go public, and IBT has investments in three of these. We believe that most of our
portfolio companies, both quoted and unquoted, continue to make good progress and are
generally well financed.
The fundamentals for the biotech industry remain intact with favourable demographics and
high barriers to entry once products are approved. More and more biotech companies are
turning profitable, product pipelines continue to widen and mature and there are more late
stage compounds in development than ever before. The biggest issue facing the drug
industry is a lack of new product opportunities and biotech companies are well placed to take
advantage of this, as pharmaceutical companies are willing to enter rich strategic
partnerships even at early development stages. The prospects for smaller biotech companies
are consequently stronger than for some time.
The volatility of the biotech market does mean that IBT remains better suited to the longer-
term investor as the short to medium term direction of the market remains difficult to predict.
IBT offers investors exposure to an exciting industry with strong prospects through a portfolio
of companies with strong upside potential, diversified across the private and public markets
and by clinical area and geography."