Cancer specialist goes for a dual listing

Cyclacel, the Scottish biotech company, yesterday became the latest healthcare group to reveal plans to float on Nasdaq and the London Stock Exchange.

The company, which specialises in pioneering cancer treatments, is planning to offer 16 million shares - about 26 per cent of the business - at an indicative price range of between 152p and 182p. This would give Cyclacel a market capitalisation of £91m.

Spiro Rombotis, the chief executive of Cyclacel, said the company was in a race to get its treatments to the market before larger pharmaceutical rivals. "We have the chance to be first to market in a massively important cancer field after Aventis unexpectedly terminated its development of a similar class of drug," Mr Rombotis said. He expects Cyclacel's lead drug, which treats a rare form of blood cancer, to reach the market as early as 2006.

"We have the opportunity to raise new funds when investors can see daylight in our plans.

"Without capital raising it would have been difficult to continue funding the pipeline and investing in the business," he said.

Mr Rombotis and the rest of the management team hold a 13 per cent stake in the business, which will be worth £14m when the company floats. The rest of the share capital is held by about 40 investors from across the globe. All existing shareholders are holding on to their holdings.

Cyclacel had considered floating in 2003, but was put off by weak equity markets and poor sentiment towards new listings. Its decision to float now follows a trend of biotech companies returning to the market.

Not all have been very successful, however. Ark Therapeutics floated in March, but the shares are trading well below its listing price. Norwood Immunology, the new vehicle for Rolf Stahel, formerly of Shire Pharmaceuticals, halved its valuation to £50m.

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