LONDON - Genetix Group plc, a gene discovery equipment company, plans to float on the London Stock Exchange and raise #27 million (US$39 million), of which #17 million will be invested in the company and #10 million will go to selling shareholders. The market capitalization will be #95 million to #115 million.

Gary Corsi, finance director, told BioWorld International, "The money will allow us to extend the sales and marketing infrastructure, particularly in the U.S., and to increase spending on R&D. We have made our sales to date with a very small sales force, and now plan to open two offices on the East Coast [of the U.S.] and two on the West and one in the Far East."

This will enable Genetix to benefit from the surge in spending on research into genomics and proteomics as a source of new drugs.

The company's main products are Q-Pix for the production of DNA libraries, and Q-Array for the production of microarrays. It has a subsidiary, GenPak Ltd., which provides DNA sequencing and protein synthesizing services. Users include Celera Genomics, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Glaxo Wellcome and Novartis. Genetix recently broke into the Chinese genome research market, selling five Q-Pix machines to the Academy of Sciences in Beijing.

Genetix, based in New Milton, Hampshire, was founded in 1991 by Mark Reid, managing director, and until now has been privately financed. The company has grown steadily to reach a turnover of #7.3 million and operating profits of #3.2 million, for the year ended December 1999. Reid is selling 30 percent of his 80 percent stake in the company, with a value of about #10 million.

Corsi said there is a long list of R&D projects to be financed by the fund raising, including new products and improvements to existing machines. "Our R&D operation is extremely cost effective, amounting to less than 5 percent of sales, and yet we have consistently pulled through innovative products."

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