Ebb & Flow

The first quarter is already the biggest on record for European biotech fundraising, pushed by a handful of giant deals. With a week to go, $2.6 billion has been raised, beating the prior high of $2.4 billion in 3Q00.

The $900 million private placement by Shire (LSE:SHP; SHPGY) in February is the reason for the good quarter. But Basilea (SWX:BSLN) helped last week, with a CHF324.3 million ($268.5 million) rights issue and private placement underwritten by Piper Jaffray, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and UBS.

The funds are going to build a sales and marketing organization for BSLN's late-stage products, ceftobiprole to treat complicated skin and skin structure infections (cSSSIs) and alitretinoin for chronic hand dermatitis.

Both have completed Phase III, with regulatory submissions expected this year. BSLN also has a third candidate, isavuconazole, in Phase III trials for the treatment of severe invasive fungal infections.

BSLN slipped CHF2.40 to CHF245.10 on the week.

Four other European fundraisings pushed last week's total over $415 million (see B19 & B20).

The largest deal was an IPO for cartilage repair company TiGenix (Euronext:TIG), which raised E40 million ($53.2 million), giving it a valuation of E111 million ($146 million).

TIG sold 8 million shares at E5, in the middle of its proposed range of E4.20-E5.50, marking the first biotech IPO since the Feb. 27 market correction that did not have to trim its offer

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