Victims' agony as drugs firm goes bust (5/7/2006)

The article omits to mention that this drug - TGN1412 - with its disastrous and 'unexpected biological effect' was genetically engineered.

Victims' agony as 'Elephant Man' drugs firm goes bust
Daily Mail, 4th July 2006

The victims of the 'Elephant Man' drug trials have been left in even more misery after the company which made the drug went bust.

Six men suffered multiple organ failure when they were the first humans to try the drugs in London in March - with the head of one victim swelling to three times its normal size.

They are all hoping for a huge compensation payout to help them through the rest of their lives, but that hope was hit last night by the news that the German pharmaceutical firm TeGenero had filed for insolvency.

A spokesman for TeGenero said the 'unforeseeable adverse reactions' caused by the drug, known as TGN1412, 'have made it impossible to attract the investment necessary for the company to continue operations'.

It had already emerged that the firm involved had just GBP2million insurance. The men were paid just GBP2,000 for taking part in the trials.

Solicitor Martyn Day, who represents four of the victims, said: 'This new development is a huge shock on top of everything else. These men are ever more concerned that their future is looking very grim. I've just spoken to a couple of the victims and they're absolutely shocked to the core.'

TGN1412 was manufactured as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, leukaemia and multiple sclerosis.

A report by the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority in May found that Parexel - the company which ran the trial at Northwick Park Hospital, North-West London, for TeGenero - failed to follow proper procedures for carrying out the tests.

However, it concluded that the adverse reaction which left the men fighting for their lives, was the result of an 'unexpected biological effect'.

The lawyer for two of the victims, including Ryan Wilson, 20, who only returned to his North London home last week and still faces having fingers and toes amputated because of gangrene, said there was still hope the men would receive compensation.

Solicitor Ann Alexander said: 'We've got very good grounds to make a claim not only against TeGenero, but also Parexel, and they have got lots of money.'

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