For Peptide now read Acambis


Pepide's change of name happened today.

The Fulbourn Road biotech company becomes Acambis in a bid to reflect the company's activities both sides of the Atlantic.

John Brown, chief executive, said there had been a competition to find a new name, but in the end he had chosen his own idea.

Dissecting it, he explained that 'camb' in the middle referred to both the UK and US companies being in Cambridges, while the 'A' represented a single entity and the 'is' equalled twice for the two now joined set ups.

The US company, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has been known as Oravax until today. Peptide bought it two years ago.

Also joining the party today is Baxter International, the US pharma giant that has bought a 20 per cent stake in Peptide/Acambis and saved it from the acquisitive arms of Cantab.

Industry speculation is now at fever pitch over the likely, though far from certain acquisition of Cantab by Acambis following two or three doses of bad luck in recent weeks for Cantab.

Dr Brown refused to be drawn on how close he was to taking over Cantab, and there is a reported half a dozen prospective purchasers.

Meanwhile, Acambis in Fulbourn Road is stepping up its activities now that Baxter is on board, and is recruiting both scientific and commercial staff.

The company specialises in vaccines for some of the world's most deadly and wide-spread diseases.