Vernalis CEO insists he's hunting for new drug deals

The CEO of the UK's Vernalis isn't letting a recent clinical trial setback distract him from growing the company's pipeline. Chief Executive Ian Garland was out this morning talking up new plans to in-license experimental drugs or acquire companies with interesting development programs underway in cancer and the central nervous system.

"We look to further expand our pipeline through in-licensing and acquisition," Garland says. "Most likely these acquisitions will be in our areas of focus of oncology and CNS (central nervous system). In-licensing will most likely be preclinical through early human (testing) stage and acquisitions are likely to have unpartnered clinical-stage programs."

Vernalis' shares took a hit last month after the UK developer announced that one of its experimental drugs failed a Phase IIb clinical trial for diabetes-related neuropathic pain. But Vernalis has always managed to stay afloat in turbulent times. Once known as British Biotech, the developer had a two billion pound market cap at one point in the '90s. The company ended its last fiscal year with about $40 million in cash.

- here's the story from Reuters