Ferd floats pharmaceutical group

The offer price of NOK23 per share gave the omega-3 pharmaceutical developer a market capitalisation of NOK6.9bn (€900m). The offer was oversubscribed and saw Ferd cut its investment from 93% to 58.3%. Senior management members and certain senior employees will have a combined holding of approximately 2.4%, with institutional investors owning approximately 38.3% and retail investors, including other employees, around 1%. The company, the directors and Ferd are subject to a 180 day lock-up.

Pronova BioPharma, formerly known as Pronova Biocare, was backed by Ferd in January 2004 when Ferd Private Equity Fund I acquired 80.1% from Norsk Hydro and indirectly acquired the remaining interest in April 2005.

Pronova BioPharma, formerly known as Pronova Biocare, has one commercial product, called Omacor in Europe and Asia, and Lovaza in the United States. It is the first and only EU- and FDA-approved omega-3 derived prescription drug, one which can help to combat heart disease. The drug was launched in 2005 in the US and in major European markets, such as France and Spain, and pharma research agent IMS Health has reported that global end-user sales of the product have increased from US$144m in 2005 to US$306m in 2006. The current annual run rate for end-user sales is estimated at US$500m, and the company estimates that approximately 600,000 patients are currently on a prescription for Omacor/Lovaza.