Ebb & Flow

Movetis N.V. is looking to what could be the biggest European biotech IPO in the last two years, and if all the stars align, more than any new offering in Europe in more than five years.

The gastrointestinal disease company hopes to raise €85 million ($127 million) on Euronext Brussels at a price range of €11.25- €14.25 a share. The company said the offering could be increased to €112.4 million ($167 million) through the sale of additional shares and the exercise of an over allotment.

The last European biotech to raise at least €85 million was antibody company Ablynx N.V. (Euronext:ABLX) in November 2007. The last one to raise close to the upper bound was infectious disease and dermatology company Basilea Pharmaceutica AG (SIX:BSLN), which raised CHF205.8 million ($162.3 million) in March 2004.

If Movetis is successful, the big question will be whether the offering should be seen as a signal that European investors have regained their appetite for biotech IPOs.

Piper Jaffray banker Neil Mackison thinks not. "Movetis is a special case. Having just won approval for its constipation drug, it is clearly a company that has a commercial focus. While we would like the IPO market to open, I think it is still too early for pipeline IPOs," he

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