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Moving on

It is not often that the evolution of a biotech company follows the script, but Movetis N.V. (Euronext: MOVE) has done just that. Since being spun out from Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) three-plus years ago, Movetis has raised a single private round, got its lead product approved, completed the second largest IPO of 2009, and last week announced it will be acquired by Shire plc (LSE:SHP; NASDAQ:SHPGY).

Movetis spun out of J&J in 2006 with a portfolio of GI programs led by Resolor prucalopride, a serotonin (5-HT4) receptor agonist that had completed three Phase III trials for chronic constipation. In parallel, the newco raised €49 million ($64.7 million) in series A money from a VC syndicate that believed the available clinical data would only need to be supported by additional preclinical work in order to get the product approved.

The round was led by Sofinnova Partners and Life Science Partners, and included Sofinnova Ventures; KBC; GIMV; Quest for Growth; and BIP Investment Partners. J&J also received an equity stake.

"The primary risk was around regulatory approval with Resolor, but the management team did a terrific job of using the first and only private financing and taking us through product approval and the public offering," Jim Healy of Sofinnova Ventures told Ebb & Flow.

Resolor was approved in Europe last October to treat chronic constipation in women not receiving adequate relief from laxatives.

Sofinnova Partners' Antoine Papiernik noted that the Movetis IPO itself was a testament to investors' views of Resolor's commercial potential. The €97.8 million ($146 million) offering was the largest IPO in Europe since Ipsen Group (Euronext: IPN) raised €170.9 million ($200.2 million) in 2005.

Overall, it was the second largest IPO of 2009, behind the $550 million offering by Talecris Biotherapeutics Inc.

"We had enough money to carry out our commercialization plan for Resolor, which was to market it to GI specialists in certain countries like Germany, Benelux and the U.K., while also partnering with a party that has a broader sales force than our own," said

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