FRANKFURT, Germany - GPC Biotech AG, of Martinsried, plans to go public this month. The IPO for the company at Germany's Neuer Markt will be led by Credit Suisse First Boston as issuing bank. SG Cowen and Robertson Stephens International are co-lead managers, and Cologne-based German bank Sal. Oppenheim Jr. & Cie will join the consortium as co-manager. The company will offer an undisclosed number of no-par-value shares at Euro1 each. Bookbuilding and listing will take place later this month.
"We are determined to exceed the volume of any previous biotech emission in Germany," Bernd Seizinger, CEO of GPC Biotech AG, told BioWorld International. That would mean topping the sum of DM117 million that Plasmaselect, of Teterow, Germany, raised earlier this year. Seizinger added that the decision to go public had been made during the last phase of the company's recent acquisition of Mitotix Inc., of Cambridge, Mass. (see BioWorld International, March 22, 2000). "By then, all of the internal milestones we had set for ourselves had been met - a critical mass of technologies and alliances, a presence in Europe and the U.S., and above all, products in an advanced stage of development. Some of them may be ready for clinical testing in about 12 to 18 months."
The lock-up period will last for six months, but according to Seizinger, some investors participating in the last financing round in the summer of 1999 already have agreed to a one-year post-IPO lock-up phase.
Seizinger said the decision had not been influenced by the recent declines of biotech stocks on Nasdaq. "At Neuer Markt, biotech stocks have shown a remarkable resistance compared to the U.S. market, so I am convinced that the German market will welcome us. Clearly, there is a demand for biotech stocks in Germany still." He added that a Nasdaq listing would be considered in a few years. "The establishment of a leading role and a visibility in Europe is the most important goal for the moment."
GPC has established 14 alliances with leading pharma and biotech companies and is concentrating on the development of novel compounds in nine projects focusing on the therapy of cancer, infections, and autoimmune diseases. "For example, we have identified 25 novel targets for antibacterials - a figure that is more than twice the number of targets the world's pharmaceutical industry identified during the last century," Seizinger said.
To date, GPC has raised more than US$70 million in private equity and German state and government funding. Combined earnings of GPC and Mitotix amounted to Euro8.1 million in 1999 and Euro1 million for the first quarter of 2000. Mitotix's sales declined during the first quarter this year due to a strategic decision to focus on the development of its own products. "That was exactly what we wanted," said Mirko Scherer, chief financial officer of GPC Biotech. "We did not want to acquire additional sales, but a strong product portfolio." Research and development costs were Euro15.6 million, net losses Euro15.6 million in 1999. "We do not expect to write black figures within the next [few] years," Scherer said, "but we expect to reach a break-even point by 2006."