ARK celebrates listing

European biotechnology company Ark Therapeutics has successfully listed on the London Stock Exchange. The shares being sold in the IPO have been priced at 133 pence per share, raising £55m and giving the company a market capitalization on listing of around £168m.

Ark was founded in 1997 when it secured £3m seed financing provided by Merlin Biosciences, which remained with the company through all four of its funding rounds. In April 2000 the company raised £15m from lead investor Apax Partners and other shareholders Merlin Biosciences, Techno Venture Management, BioFund, Concordia and Sampo. A further £14.5m round was raised in August 2001, led by BankInvest of Denmark. Existing investors Biofund, Merlin, Nomura International and TVM also participated in the round.

Nigel Parker, Ark chief executive, said: “We are delighted to have successfully completed our IPO, the first in our sector on the UK main market for a number of years. The funds raised will place ARK in a strong position to take its late stage product portfolio through to commercial launch. We look forward with confidence to our future as a quoted company.”

The offer comprises an aggregate of 41,555,996 shares all of which were new ordinary shares issued by Ark with the exception of 142,000 shares, which were being sold by three existing Finnish shareholders. The offer generated a broad base of interest and was more than three times oversubscribed at the offer price. As a result, the company has attracted a good geographic spread of investors from the UK, continental Europe and the US.