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Ypsomed makes stock exchange debut

Shares in Ypsomed got off to a good start on the first day of trading

(Keystone Archive)

Medical technology firm Ypsomed, a key supplier to the biotech and pharma industries, has made a successful debut on the Zurich stock exchange.

Shares in the Burgdorf-based injection pen manufacturer were nearly eight times oversubscribed prior to the start of trading on Wednesday.

The issue price was set at SFr68, at the upper end of the projected range, resulting in a cash injection of more than SFr200 million ($159 million) for Ypsomed.

Trading on Wednesday opened at around SFr73 and closed nearly nine per cent higher at SFr74 - making the Ypsomed flotation one of the most successful stock market entries in recent years.

Around 40 per cent of the proceeds will be used to finance company growth, with the rest used to pay back loans to founder and chairman Willy Michel, who remains the main shareholder.

“The strong demand reflects the huge interest of both institutional and private investors in Ypsomed shares,” said Michel.

The firm, which was spun off from the Disetronic Group after its acquisition by Roche last year, employs around 800 people and reported sales of SFr200 million last year.

The flotation of Ypsomed, whose pens and needles are used in growth hormone, diabetes and infertility treatments, represents a rare flicker of life in a depressed Swiss and international market.

Timely developments

Ypsomed is the second Swiss life sciences company to go public this year. The last flotation – by Basilea Pharmaceutica – was the first Swiss offering in the biotech sector since Berna Biotech in 2001.

However, there are growing indications that the sector may now be succeeding in attracting much-needed investor support – not least due to the development of a new generation of simple-to-use drug devices.

New York-based drug devices company Chrono Therapeutics, another recent success story, has enlisted Swiss researchers to create a special watch that delivers drugs in micro-doses to high-risk patients.

It means that people with heart disease and asthma may soon be able to throw out their pills, needles and sprays.

The device, which doubles as a wristwatch, turns on and off automatically to release drugs at preset times in preset amounts.

This is particularly advantageous when dosing regimens require drug administration during sleeping hours.

Watch this space

Chrono’s founders believe that its system will be used to treat heart disease, depression, asthma, attention deficit disorder, hypertension and arthritis. Approval processes and clinical trials still have to be carried out.

A team of scientists and engineers from Basel University, Solothurn University of Applied Science and Basel University of Applied Science developed the device.

They worked in association with Chrono’s Dr Hans Ludi, a former head of product development at Bayer Diagnostics. The first prototype was delivered in August 2003.

Several other start-up firms are targeting new drug delivery markets, including Sensile Medical, a spin-off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne.

The company is developing an implantable glucose sensor and micro-miniature insulin pump for diabetes sufferers.

swissinfo

Key facts

Ypsomed shares hit the stock exchange on Wednesday at an initial price of SFr68, and closed the day at SFr74.
The Burgdorf-based firm is the leading independent developer and manufacturer of custom-made injection pens for pharmaceutical and biotech companies.
The float represents around a quarter of total capitalisation, with founder Willy Michel still the main shareholder.

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In brief

Ypsomed, the second Swiss life sciences company to go public this year, has raised more than SFr200 million ($159 million) in its initial offering.

The successful flotation is a sign that the sector is again attracting investor interest.

Ypsomed is one of several firms pioneering the development of new, easy-to-use drug injection devices.

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