London's pharma sector gets a boost as Shield and Faron announce plans to float in the capital

 
Sarah Spickernell
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Until recently, the US was viewed as a much more promising place to float (Source: Getty)
The Chinese market turmoil has not destroyed confidence in the UK's pharmaceutical sector, as two companies today announced plans to float in the capital.
Newcastle-based Shield Therapeutics and Finnish Faron Pharmaceuticals are both planning to launch their IPOs on the London Stock Exchange in the near future, although neither confirmed definite dates.
Shield, which develops secondary care-focused medicines, said it hopes to raise as much as £110m by selling shares to institutional investors, and to use the proceeds to continue development and commercialisation programmes of its medicines.
Carl Sterrit, chief executive of the company, said:
This IPO will raise the additional funds needed to continue the development and commercialisation plans of our key products as we work to build a world-leading independent specialty pharmaceuticals business based in the UK.
Faron, meanwhile, believes its patented medicines will be appealing to investors in the UK, thanks to a series of patents they have been granted in several major markets.
Chief executive Markku Jalkanen said listing on Aim was an “important milestone” for the company.
It will strengthen our business and support our objectives of progressing our lead programme into a phase III study and the development of our pre-clinical cancer immunotherapy candidate, Clevegen.
This interest in becoming part of the UK market, both from a domestic firm and a foreign one, reflects the UK's recovery from a steady period of lack of funding in this area.
For years the UK has lagged behind the US, receiving very little investment while New York experienced such a biotech boom that Nasdaq'a biotech index doubled in value over the last two years.
But last year, the UK started to steal some of this interest. In 2014 alone, biotech IPOs brought the UK £408m – an eightfold increase from the year before. Investment, meanwhile, rose 71 per cent, its biggest jump in 10 years.

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