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12:00 AM
Mar 29, 2004
 |  BioCentury  |  Finance

Ebb & Flow

While the IPOs sails drooped in the U.S., Basilea (SWX:BSLN) - one of Europe's leading spinout companies - made it to market last week and commanded a market cap of more than a half a billion.

BSLN raised CHF205.8 million ($162 million) through the sale of 2.1 million shares at CHF98. Although the price was below the mid-point of its proposed range of CHF90-CHF115, and the shares closed Friday down CHF1 to CHF97, the infectious diseases and dermatology company closed the week with a market cap of CHF718 million ($565 million).

CSFB; Morgan Stanley; and swissfirst served as underwriters.

BSLN, in which Roche (SWX: ROCZ) has a 32% stake, has two programs that have completed Phase II studies: BAL5788, a broad spectrum intravenous cephalosporin to treat skin and soft tissue infection (SSTI) requiring surgical intervention; and BAL4079, an oral retinoid to treat chronic hand dermatitis. Both are expected to enter Phase III in the second half. BAL8557, a water-soluble azole, has completed Phase I testing for fungal infections and is expected to move into Phase II studies this year.

BSLN is the first biotech company to list on the Swiss SWX market since 2001, when profitable vaccine company Berna Biotech(SWX:BBIN) listed at CHF912 and a market cap of CHF912 million ($513.1 million).

In terms of market cap, BSLN is the third largest biotech on the exchange behind cardiovascular and metabolic specialist Actelion (SWX:ATLN), with a market cap of CHF3 billion ($2.4 billion), and Serono (SWX:SEO; SRA), valued at CHF12.8 billion ($10.1 billion). BBIN, which had a stock split in 2002, closed Friday at CHF11.90 and a market value of CHF447.4 million ($352.4 million).

Earlier this month, Ark (LSE:AKT) became the first biotech company to go public in more than 30 months on London's main list. It sold 41.6 million shares at 133p, raising £55 million ($102.7 million) and valuing the cancer and vascular disease company at £168 million ($314 million). Last week saw AKT take its first underwater dive, as the shares closed Friday off 5.5p at 128p and a market cap of £161 million ($296 million).

Biocon weigh in

India's bellwether biotech IPO also brought in big numbers at its closing, as Biocon finished its deal with a $700 million valuation. The profitable enzyme and protein manufacturer raised $70 million through the sale of 10 million shares at Rs315 ($7) through DSP Merrill Lynch; HSBC (India) and Kotak Securities. The company, which also is developing biogeneric insulin and has a marketed statin program, expects to begin trading on April 15 on the National Stock Exchange (Mumbai) and the Bombay Stock Exchange. Biocon filed on Jan. 23, but did not provide a price range for the shares. On Feb. 24, it amended the filing to provide a price range of Rs270-Rs315.

U.S. cold front

While Basilea and Biocon found footing, U.S. IPOs barely found a toehold. Anadys (ANDS) snuck out after severely watering down its deal, and Memory's plans were stalled.

Memory isn't talking, but Edgar Online listed the deal as postponed as of Thursday night, and the syndicate is calling the deal "delayed." The CNS company was hoping to sell 5 million shares last week at $13-$15 through UBS; SG Cowen; Banc of...

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