Ebb & Flow

Germany's Jerinihas been tipped as a potential European IPO for more than a year, but the company has always maintained that it would go when the climate was right. The company has decided that now is the time, and last week announced plans to raise E40-E60 million ($48.5-$72.8 million) on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

The first half of the year wasn't conducive to an IPO, noted CEO Jens Schneider-Mergener. Biotech was still reeling from Tysabri's safety surprise and the COX-2 hangover. Moreover, in Europe, Jerini watched infectious disease company Arpida (SWX:ARPN) sink 26% in its first week of trading after going public in early May (see BioCentury, May 9).

At the same time, Jerini was getting closer to the kinds of inflection points that investors like. Schneider-Mergener said institutional investors started showing increased interest because the company has a product in Phase III trials, a near-term data event and enough cash in the bank to finish the trials.

Prior to the listing, Jerini will have about E40 million ($48.5 million) in cash, provided in large part by the completion of a E46.5 million series B round in February. Moreover, IPO investors will have a near-term inflection point, as Jerini hopes to announce Phase III data for its Icatibant to treat hereditary angioedema (HAE) by mid-2006. Another potential milestone would be a U.S. partnership for the compound.

Another then-and-now difference is where Jerini stands in the competitive queue for HAE compounds. Last year, Dyax (DYAX) and Genzyme (GENZ) were planning to seek approval of their DX-88 based on data from a pair of Phase II trials. But the companies scuttled those plans last November and later decided to run a Phase III trial (see BioCentury, Nov. 1, 2004).

At that time, DYAX still expected to file for approval ahead of Jerini. However, the partners delayed the Phase III to discuss the protocol with FDA and determine whether to use an IV or subcutaneous formulation. The companies now plan to start the trial by year end.

Jerini, meanwhile, hopes to seek approval of Icatibant in 2006. Schneider-Mergener

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