(Refiles to add British in headline)
* Phytopharm gets FDA go-ahead for Phase II trial of Cogane
* Oxford BioMedica reports positive two-year ProSavin data
* Phytopharm’s shares up 10 pct, Oxford gives up gains
(Adds further details, analyst reaction, shares)
LONDON, June 14 (Reuters) - British biotechs Phytopharm PYM.L and Oxford BioMedica OXB.L reported progress in the development of Parkinson's Disease drugs on Monday, sending shares in both companies higher. Phytopharm said it had received U.S. approval to begin Phase II clinical trials of Cogane, its lead Parkinson's drug, which had been shown to reverse some types of brain function degeneration in the laboratory.
Chief executive Sandy Morrison said patient enrolment was expected to begin in late 2010, although definitive results were about two years away.
“Nevertheless this is an important next step towards bringing a potentially disease-modifying new therapy for Parkinson’s disease closer to market fruition,” he said in a statement on Monday.
Shares in the group were 10 percent higher by 0947 GMT, as KBC Peel Hunt analyst Paul Cuddon said the FDA go-ahead was an important technical step.
“The ultimate value inflection point for the company will be results of the Phase II trial for Cogane, which is now expected in late 2012,” he said.
Oxford BioMedica, meanwhile, said new data from its ongoing trial of gene therapy ProSavin showed continued benefits after two years, with two out of three patients showing a 30 percent better motor function, and the drug was safe and well tolerated.
The company said the results would enable it to escalate the dose, subject to approval, and modify the administration of the drug, which is injected into the brain.
Chief Executive John Dawson also said the data strengthened the firm’s hand in negotiations with prospective partners.
Shares in the company as much as rose 10.1 percent to a three-month high, before giving up the gains, and were flat at 0947 GMT.
KBC Peel Hunt’s Cuddon said while the data was broadly positive, it was not significantly different from the analysis performed after six, 12 and 18 months.
“It’s reassuring to know it’s consistent, although further trials will need to be performed on much larger groups of patients to tell us if this 30 percent imporvement is real,” he said. (Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Mike Nesbit)