Drug IT group to float

A SUPPLIER of safety assessment software to drug development companies is raising £9.15million on London’s junior stock market to help it hit the acquisition trail.

Instem Life Science Systems, whose customers include GlaxoSmithKline and Astrazeneca, is placing 5,228,376 shares at 175p each on AIM, giving it a market capitalisation of £20.5m.

The Staffordshire-based company, whose flagship product is known as Provantis, provides software that helps pharmaceutical companies to assess the safety of their drugs.

It hopes to expand by developing new products and buying rivals in a highly fragmented market that it says is ripe for consolidation.

Chief executive Phil Reason said tax and spending pressures on the pharmaceutical industry were helping to increase demand for its products.

The group was hoping acquisitions would help it to speed up its growth in markets and regions such as China and Japan.

“The initial public offering will play a key part in helping us to achieve these goals,” he said.

Instem employs 102 staff at eight sites around the world and has more than 80 customers including seven of the top 10 pharmaceutical and biotech companies in North America, Europe, China, India and Japan.

MARK Brady at Brewin Dolphin is acting as broker and adviser on the Instem Life Science Systems flotation. Brady, the managing director of corporate finance at Brewin, joined the group’s corporate finance team in 1988, having qualified at tax and business services consultancy KPMG and became a director in 1993. He has experience in providing advice to clients on IPOs, takeovers and a range of other transactions involving private and public firms.

In addition, Brady is the immediate past chairman of the Quoted Companies Alliance and a member of the Yorkshire and North East Regional Advisory Group of the London Stock Exchange. He is also a regular speaker at events on quoted company issues.

Brady is advising Instem’s chief executive Phil Reason and his team.

Reason, 48, has developed a number of IT businesses in the life science and nuclear industries, through internal company growth and via acquisitions.