France shining star in biotech IPO sky
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France shining star in biotech IPO sky

27.03.2015 - Europe is once more proving that it can be a good bet for biotech companies going public. A newly established EU-wide lobbying initiative could help the IPO boom on its way.

With biopharma companies Cerenis and OSE Pharma, France is taking the lead with the most IPOs this year so far. It just goes to show that biotechs aiming to going public are now less likely to look across the Atlantic for public funding. But there is still a long road ahead: a new IPO task force aims to implement changes to make the costs of IPOs more attractive to biotechs.

Exceeding its own expectations, Labège-based Cerenis Therapeutics raised €53.4m this week with its IPO on Euronext Paris through the sale of 4.2 million shares at its top price of €12.70. The French company, which focuses on the development of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) therapies, had aimed to collect €35m. Since going public, the company is now valued at €225.9, pulling in Californian VC Sofinnova Partners as its main investor.

Next up this week with another triumphant IPO on Euronext Paris was immunotherapy developer OSE Pharma S.A. Like Cerenis, the French biotech pushed out all the stops and surpassed its original target of €16m, scooping up €21.1m through the sale of 2 million shares at €10.80 each.

But not all European exchanges are profiting from the same burst of activity as Euronext Paris. Aside from London’s AIM and Euronext Paris, the other exchanges in Europe have yet to experience the same influx of biotech IPOs.

According to experts, the low number of IPOs lies with the high regulatory and administrative costs of going public in Europe. With the aim of making it more financially feasible for SMEs to float, a new consortium has been established with experts from across the EU with direct knowledge and experience of IPOs – EuropeanIssuers, the European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association and the Federation of European Securities Exchanges (FESE). Created after the release of the European Commission’s Green Paper on the Capital Markets Union, Philippe de Backer, MEP and Chairman of the IPO Task Force, announced the publication of the EU IPO Report: “Rebuilding IPOs in Europe; Creating jobs and growth in European capital markets”. The Task Force has agreed on recommendations on how to improve this key component of Europe’s capital markets in the technology sector, such as biotechnology. The consortium has now begun lobbying the European Commission to introduce changes inspired by those that sparked the US biotech boom. They have suggested slashing the regulatory and administrative costs of an IPO by 50%. The FESE estimates that up to 10% of an IPO that raises less than €50m is swallowed up by fees. For a small IPO of €6m or less, the sting is even sharper: 15% of the amount raised goes towards costs.

“The European IPO markets need to work better for the real economy. Although Europe continues to build and grow businesses with the potential to be world class, the failure of the IPO market to facilitate their access to capital hampers their growth and ultimately their potential to create jobs,” said de Backer. “We need policymakers, regulators, and industry to work together to deliver reforms to regulation,” he continued.

French biotech Cellectis also made headlines this week with its second listing on Nasdaq New York when it collected US$229m (€211m) in an upsized IPO by offering 5.5 million American Depository Shares (ADS) at US€41.50 (€38). The Paris-based company develops cancer immunotherapies based on gene-edited CAR T cells and has been listed on Euronext Paris since 2007.



24.03.2015 Poland has announced the closing of a new venture capital fund at US$42m (€32m). The fund, which is the first of its kind in Poland, is dedicated to the Life Sciences with a strong connection to Central and Eastern Europe.


23.03.2015 A BASF-led consortium aims to decrease bio-based production costs using industrial biotechnology. The Horizon2020 funded consortium is the sixth project of the SPIRE Public Private Partnership and has a budget of €14m.

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20.03.2015 There are no signs of inertia creeping into the European biotech industry this spring. A total of eight IPOs are set to go public by the end of the year’s first quarter.


17.03.2015 Pharma giants GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) will be key collaborators in a new global fund for dementia research to address the rising threat posed by dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.


19.03.2015 French venture capital firm Seventure Partners has raised a further €25m for its microbiome-focused Health for Life Capital Fund. It now stands at €100m.


12.03.2015 With around 1,400 companies and 2,400 participants, the springtime counterpart of BIO-Europe enjoyed a successful premiere in France this year. The overall mood of the European biotech industry was positive, and the French hosts in particular reported new initiatives.


11.03.2015 Belgian cell-based therapeutics developer and CMO MaSTherCell SA has been acquired by US biotech Orgenesis Inc. for €23m.


10.03.2015 The Gates Foundation has dipped into its purse to bring infectious diseases vaccines to the poorest countries. German vaccine specialist CureVac is set to receive US$52m for their mRNA platform technology.

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05.03.2015 The IPO wave in the biotech sector shows no signs of slowing down. An Irish life sciences fund set up by former Elan executives plans to raise €325m with its IPO, whilst Summit Therapeutics has announced its IPO pricing of US$34m on Nasdaq.

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No liability assumed, Date: 28.03.2015