November 5, 2014 / 9:02 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Molecular Partners makes muted Swiss market debut

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ZURICH, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Molecular Partners rose slightly above its offer price on Wednesday, as it became the first biotechnology company to list its shares on the Swiss stock market in five years.

Shares in the Zurich-based company, which is developing eye and cancer treatments, opened at 23.95 Swiss francs ($24.85), up 0.2. percent on its 23.40 offer price.

This is the company’s second attempt at a flotation after it postponed its original listing on Oct. 21, as an equities sell-off hit newly listed stocks and curbed investor demand for more offers.

On Monday, it resumed plans for the offering, saying a recent upturn in financial markets and the uncertain appetite for IPOs in the coming months had prompted it to take the gamble now.

The company priced the offering below the original price range of between 28 and 35 francs a share, raising gross proceeds of about 96 million Swiss francs ($100 million) from the issue.

Biotechnology companies are seen as a particularly risky bet given the uncertain nature of drug development, and Molecular Partners’ performance will act as a test of appetite for further listings.

By 0849 GMT, the stock was trading just a sliver above its offer price at 22.45 Swiss francs.

Biotech saw a renaissance in the United States last year with dozens of listings. Europe has been slower to catch on, but several European firms have tested the capital market in recent months.

Molecular Partners’ listing is the sixth IPO in Switzerland this year, but the first floatation by a biotech stock since Evolva and Mondobiotech in 2009. (1 US dollar = 0.9636 Swiss franc) (Reporting by Caroline Copley; editing by Susan Thomas and Louise Heavens)

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