October 25, 2018 / 3:14 PM / 23 days ago

Italy's Dompe Farmaceutici mulls listing as part of shift to biotech

MILAN, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Family-owned Italian biopharmaceutical group Dompe Farmaceutici is considering a listing of its shares as it looks to focus more on its biotech business and treating specific diseases.

“In 3-4 years we could consider a flotation perhaps in the U.S.,” Chief Executive Sergio Dompe said.

Dompe, son of company founder Franco Dompe, said other options also existed, including a reverse merger - or buying a listed business - in the United States, one of the company’s key markets.

The CEO said private equity firms, as well as some European and U.S. industrial players, had made contact with a view to buying the company.

“I told them not to bother since I will never sell,” he said.

Italy has a thriving pharmaceutical sector. But it is fragmented and analysts believe it could benefit from consolidation.

In June, family-controlled Recordati was snapped up by a consortium of investment funds controlled by CVC Capital Partners in a deal worth about 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion).

Dompe Farmaceutici, headquartered in Milan, employs around 800 people and had sales last year of 250 million euros.

Earlier this year the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its new product based on cenegermin - the first drug for the treatment of rare eye disease neurotrophic keratitis.

Dompe, who hopes to be able to market the new treatment in China, said the new cenegermin-based drug was a game changer that could help boost margins over time and support investments in research and development.

“I’m looking to make this company a pharmaceutical biotech business with a focus on particular diseases,” Dompe said.

$1 = 0.8786 euros Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Mark Potter

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