KBC launches biotech fund

KBC, the Belgian bank, has opened subscriptions to its first private equity fund focused on the worldwide biotech sector. The fund will be a closed end listed investment vehicle and will be listed on the First Market of Euronext in Brussels once the first closing has taken place, which is expected to be on March 12. The subscription price is A15 per share.

The Asset Management and Securities divisions of KBC are launching the fund, known as KBC Private Equity Fund Biotech. The financial management of the fund will be led by Youri Amerjckx with Ruth Devenyns, who is head of KBC’s sciences group, providing information and advice.

According to research carried out by KBC of the total of approximately 2,600 biotech companies worldwide, 368 (or 14 per cent) are quoted. In the US, that proportion is approximately 30 per cent. In Europe, which has seen a biotech boom in recent years, with the creation of around 800 new companies between 1996 and 1999, the percentage of quoted biotech companies is almost five per cent.

It also found that of 64 biotech companies which floated on the stock market during the latter half of 1999 and 2000, as a rule, an average increase of +176 per cent between the time of the last private investment and the IPO was seen. This sample was taken over an average period of eight and a half months.