Ebb & Flow

One of the signs of a maturing sector is when the fortunes of one company don't cause either panic or euphoria in the rest of the group. Two examples in Europe last week - one on the downside, one on the upside - reflect the growing sophistication of investors.

Paion (FSE:PA8) crumbled E2.36 (26%) to E6.79 last week after the company suspended a Phase III trial of desmoteplase for stroke because the trial's data monitoring committee wanted to review safety data.

While Paion's shares were off E3.29 (37%) to E5.71 on Wednesday after the news, neither the European group as a whole nor biotechs trading on the Frankfurt exchange suffered. On the day, the BioCentury Europe Index inched up 0.6%. No other biotech on the FSE moved up or down by more than 1%.

On the flip side, Friday's positive Phase III pain data from NicOx (Euronext:Nicox) also had no impact. The stock was up E0.80 to E13.60 on the day, for a gain of E1.20 (10%) for the week. French biotechs had mixed moves on Friday, including a 2% decline by BioAlliance (Euronext:

BIO) to E12.55; a 4% gain by Cerep (Euronext:Cerep) to E7.07; no move by ExonHit (Euronext:ALEHT), which ended the week at E4.72; and a 1% decline by Transgene (Euronext:Transgene), which closed at E9.10.

On the week, the BioCentury Europe Index, which tracks a basket of 19 continental stocks, tacked on a 2% gain.

As it turns out, the investment barometer should be tested again on Monday this week, as Paion on Saturday announced the DMC had recommended lifting the hold with no changes in the protocol (see "Stroke Frustrates Yet Again," A7).

Full steam ahead

Even without Saturday's turnaround, there were no hints Paion's news would affect the IPO market in Europe. Indeed, Genfit threw its hat into the ring, while Innate and Santhera could list this week.

"I'd characterize the markets as

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