IPO pay off for French biotechs

Europe’s first gene therapy company has floated on Euronext: Gensight raised €40m in its IPO. And it is not the only French company that has taken the leap in an uncertain market climate - Alzheimer’s expert Pharnext also went public.


Gensight Biologics, a developer of therapies for neurodegenerative retinal diseases and diseases of the central nervous system and gene therapy specialist, went public on 13 July. The company raised €40m on EnterNext, the Euronext subsidiary dedicated to promoting and growing the market for SMEs. The capital will go towards the clinical development of Phase III of Gensight’s gene therapy GS010 in treatment of Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. The company’s stock market debut makes it the first listed gene therapy company in Europe. GenSight Biologics’ admission and issuing price was set at €8 per share – a price the stock has managed to maintain since.

Pharnext has not been so lucky. The Alzheimer’s specialist listed on Alternext on 18 July, only to see its admission price of €10.82 per share drop to €10.30 within a day. However, the company managed to raise €31m in its IPO, money that will be used to finance a Phase 3 study of type 1A Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease for adults, initiate a paediatric study and launch Phase 2b for Alzheimer’s disease.

So far, the biotech sector has not been able to continue the stock markets successes of 2015. So far in 2016, there have only been sporadic listings.


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