Active Biotech sells SBL Vaccin to PowderJect Pharmaceuticals


Swedish Biotechnology Company, Active Biotech AB (Stockholm: ACTI), has concluded an agreement to sell its vaccines business, SBL Vaccin (SBL), to the UK leading vaccines company, PowderJect Pharmaceuticals plc (PowderJect; London:PJP), for up to US$70 million plus potential additional royalties.

The consideration will be structured by way of an upfront payment of US$50 million in cash and two cash payments of between US$5 to 10 million contingent on the successful and timely regulatory approvals of each of the traveller's diarrhoea vaccines, Dukoral and ETEC, at the European EMEA and the US FDA respectively. In addition to these cash payments, Active Biotech will also be entitled to royalties on the yearly net sales of Dukoral (above
US$40 million) and ETEC (above US$60 million) in Europe and world-wide respectively. These royalties will be payable above agreed sales thresholds and are subject to a cap of US$20million each.

In its 2001 1st Quarter interim report Active Biotech indicated it was seeking to separate and streamline its operations. This divestment enables Active Biotech to fully focus on the pharmaceutical research and development activities of its subsidiary Active Biotech Research in Lund. The proceeds from this sale will contribute to the further development of Active Biotech's drug candidate pipeline.

Sven Andréasson, President & CEO of Active Biotech, commented, "This sale endorses Active Biotech's strategy to focus on our pharmaceutical development activities, where we see the potential for significant value generation. The proceeds from the sale will enable Active Biotech to choose the optimal strategy for partnerships and alliances in order to maximise the value of our project portfolio.
After the successful completion of the Phase I trials of our lead drug candidates, SAIK-MS for multiple sclerosis and TTS for non small cell lung cancer and renal cancer, the company's focus is now on the Phase II clinical trials and to advance our early stage drug projects within immunomodulation and cancer.
PowderJect's vaccine focus represents a strong strategic fit with the core activities of SBL. It represents a logical and exciting new home for SBL by providing access to a wider portfolio of vaccine products and exposure to a dynamic and entrepreneurial team."

Paul Drayson, Chairman & CEO of PowderJect, added, "This acquisition is another key step in PowderJect´s strategy to become a major player in the global vaccines market. PowderJect now encompasses both the UK's and Sweden's leading vaccines companies, and we intend to build on this position of strength."

SBL generated revenues of SEK 238. 8 million in the year 2000 from the sale of proprietary cholera, tourist diarrhoea, and polio vaccines and from its vaccine distribution activities in the Nordic region. SBL is the leading distributor of vaccines in Sweden with a market share of some 60%.

The sale of SBL will substantially improve Active Biotech's financial position. It will generate a non-taxable capital gain in the order of SEK 150 - 175 million, which will be included in the third quarter results. The cash position of Active Biotech in July will be in excess of SEK 700 million.

The planning is ongoing for a possible new issue of shares, in order to enable further expansion of the company.

UBS Warburg advised Active Biotech in this transaction.

Lund, Sweden 3 July 2001

Active Biotech AB (publ)

Sven Andréasson
President & CEO

For further information please contact:

Sven Andréasson, President & CEO

Cecilia Hofvander, Manager Corporate Communication

Active Biotech is a biotechnology company focusing on research in and development of pharmaceuticals. Active Biotech has a strong R&D portfolio and pipeline products with focus primarily on autoimmune/inflammatory diseases and cancer. Main platforms include orally administered small molecules with unique immunomodulatory properties that can be used to treat autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, as well as a unique concept for use in cancer immunotherapy.

Active Biotech AB
Box 724, SE-220 07 Lund, Sweden
Tel +46 46-19 20 00
Fax +46 46 19 20 50