Ebb & Flow

With 21 U.S. IPOs already floated in the States since last October, European investors have been waiting for the European biotech window to crack open. One could argue talk is still cheap, but many now believe that Europe will see a steady trickle of companies going public in the coming quarters.

In France, cancer companyImmuno-Designed Molecules and in vitro diagnostics play bioMerieux each have filed a Document de Base, the first step in stating an interest to list on the Paris exchange. As an alternative, bioMerieux is considering raising capital from private investors through the sale of a 35% holding in the company.

In the U.K., scuttlebutt is that vaccine company Microscience will announce in the next few weeks its intentions to list in London with a market cap of about £100 million ($178.7 million).

Austrian infectious disease company Intercell also was the subject of U.K.-based IPO gossip, as Financial News, a British publication, speculated the company was talking to several banks about a possible IPO.

The company certainly is keen on filing, but is taking a wait-and-see approach. "We are seriously thinking about listing some time in the future, but for now we feel the European markets are too uncertain to make a final decision of when, where or what value," said CFO Werner Lanthaler.

The company also is anticipating two news events before a decision is made. "We are expecting to announce in the next few weeks a corporate deal, and in the summer Phase II study results of our hepatitis C vaccine," Lanthaler said. The HCV vaccine containing 5 HCV peptides and poly-L-arginine is being tested in patients who are refractory to interferon-ribavirin combination therapy.

In Germany, media speculation about upcoming biotech IPOs followed last week's publication of Ernst & Young's annual report on the German biotechnology sector. E&Y said that four German biotechs had

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