Biofrontera AG, a German biopharmaceutical company, said it plans an initial public offering and a listing in Frankfurt during the first half of 2006, to take advantage of what it called strengthening market conditions in the New Year.
“Our goal is to have our IPO on the Frankfurt stock exchange,” said Anke zur Mühlen, a spokesman for Biofrontera, which has drugs in clinical trial. “We think now it’s good time to do an IPO as things are looking to recover in the first half. The company intends to build up a really big dermatology portofolio and to establish the distribution and marketing units so we need the money.”
The IPO plan of Biofrontera is the latest of a trickle of improving news from the long-battered European biotech sector, prompting some analysts to forecast better times ahead. At the end of 2005, three French biopharmaceutical companies announced IPOs after a six-year drought of new biotech listings in Paris. And such big pharmaceutical companies as Swiss Novartis have been actively seeking collaborations with smaller companies such as Astex Therapeutics. Astex, a British biotech company, said in December 2005 it has signed a research and development deal worth up to $520 million with Novartis.
“If these large companies are ready to shell money out for these deals, that helps build confidence in the sector overall and help unlisted companies obtain funds,” said William Powlett Smith, head of the UK biotech group at Ernst & Young.
Biofrontera intends to use the funds raised in the IPO to expand and broaden its pipeline of potential pharmaceutical candidates, Mühlen said.
The company, founded in 1997, focuses on dermatology and inflammation. It currently has three substances undergoing clinical tests. It hopes its first product, with potential peak annual sales of 180 million euros, will come to market in Europe in 2008.
“Biofrontera intends to market its own products in Germany and we intend to have partnership in other countries,” said Mühlen.