An initial public offering (IPO) can come with many benefits, such as raising capital, increasing public awareness, and growing a company’s market share. However, initiating an IPO can be quite challenging, especially for companies who are new to the process. For this reason, the pan-European stock exchange Euronext started an annual pre-IPO program, which is designed to support entrepreneurs in learning about capital markets.
Available for life sciences companies in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland, the TechShare program is now taking place for the fifth time. Starting in September 2019 and ending in April 2020, this year’s TechShare program is comprised of three complementary modules: academic campuses, technical sessions, and individual coaching.
The 2018/2019 TechShare program involved 135 participants and 80 partners. “I would definitely recommend the program to other companies,” says former TechShare participant Claudia Ulbrich, CEO of Cardior Pharmaceuticals, a German company. “The program offers the opportunity to get in touch with experienced market participants without having the pressure of a concrete deal. I learned that the European stock market is a lot more attractive for an IPO than I had previously realized.”
Marc Martinell, CEO of Spanish biotech Minoryx Therapeutics and former TechShare participant agrees: “The TechShare program allowed me to get a 360° view on the whole process and the requirements needed for going public. As we are getting closer to the read-out of a pivotal phase II/III study for our leading drug candidate, we are exploring all opportunities to accelerate and strengthen its path to market. An IPO is therefore an attractive path for Minoryx, but requires careful planning and execution.”
Meet the 2019/2020 TechShare program participants!
This year, 132 tech companies from 12 countries across Europe are participating in the TechShare program. Amongst them are 22 biotechs that are working on a large variety of fields, including agriculture, immuno-oncology, neurology, and ophthalmology.
Spanish biotech AlgaEnergy, for instance, works on the different applications of microalgae in agriculture, cosmetics, and human and animal nutrition. Founded in 2007, AlgaEnergy employs 81 people and is planning to expand commercially and geographically in the future.
“We have a very ambitious growth plan, which is mainly limited due to financial resources,” says Carlos Rodriguez-Villa Förster, Managing Director of AlgaEnergy. “We plan to continue the important revenue growth we have been experiencing and to reach a break-even point in the next 24 months. It is likely that we will go public after that.”
Rodriguez-Villa Förster decided to participate in the TechShare program to gain firsthand knowledge from Euronext. “I want to understand the benefits of an IPO, the costs related to it, and the detailed process of going public, as well as assess different options and their suitability for our company, and to learn from others’ experiences,” he explains.
Another participant of this year’s TechShare program is Legacy Healthcare. Founded in Switzerland in 2012, Legacy Healthcare is a biopharma company focusing on botanical drugs in the fields of immuno-dermatology and oncology supportive care. The company currently has three cosmetic products on the market and three drugs in different stages of pre-clinical and clinical development.
“Legacy has developed the first broad-spectrum therapy for all forms of alopecia, the greatest unmet need in dermatology,” says Marcos Val, CFO of Legacy Healthcare. “Our first drug candidate is currently in phase II and III for pediatric alopecia areata, chemotherapy-induced alopecia, and androgenetic alopecia. We expect it to reach the market by 2022. An IPO is therefore a serious option for our future fundraising needs.”
During the TechShare program, Val is hoping to learn the “must-haves” of regulation, compliance, and communication, including guidance on whom to partner with and how. “We are thankful for the opportunity to engage with such an experienced and hands-on ecosystem,” says Val. “Hopefully, the program will provide us with key learnings from real-life business experiences and a structured and guided approach to building a successful IPO right from the start.”
Origenis too has reached an important stage in its growth. The German biotech has developed a portfolio of compounds inhibiting kinases that play a role in different neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Recently, these candidates have started moving towards clinical development and based on this success, Origenis is planning to create further portfolios for new preclinical development candidates.
“The proven success of our discovery platform, allows a broad application in many indications,” explains Peter Seufer-Wasserthal, CBO of Origenis. “However, bringing projects to a preclinical development candidate stage requires a solid financial basis. The TechShare program will help the management team to prepare for future financing needs. And we are hoping to learn about opportunities on Euronext and necessary steps leading to a possible IPO, as well as broadening our European network.”
SparingVision is a French company founded in 2016, which focuses on the discovery and development of innovative therapies for the treatment of blinding inherited retinal diseases.
“We recently secured a series A financing round and are currently raising our series B,” says Florence Allouche, President of SparingVision. “The next step after series B will be an IPO, and I know we need to start preparing well in advance for this important milestone. At the TechShare program, I am hoping to be updated on the financial markets’ expectations of biotech companies going public and how we can best position SparingVision for a successful IPO.”
“We also want to learn about valuation, the level needed to attract the attention of major institutional investors, how to prepare our company for an IPO, what skills the management team and board of directors need, and how to manage relationships with analysts,” Allouche adds.
Which candidates do Euronext choose for the TechShare program?
In order to apply for the TechShare program, your company should be a technology venture with a scalable business model and aspiration to grow. Participants of the program come from very diverse tech sectors including biotech, medtech, hardware, robotics, cleantech, software, and fintech. Additionally, Euronext considers the financing path, the next development projects and the entrepreneurs’ vision during the selection process.
The required maturity stage depends on your business. As a biotech company, you can be either at the stage of pre-revenues or already generating sales to apply for the program. Every year, biotech companies represent about 20% of the class globally, which now constitutes a wide network of biotech alumni around Europe.
Why not put next year’s TechShare program into your calendar to learn more about the use of capital markets and the IPO process, network with fellow tech companies from all over Europe, and talk to experts in the field. If you are interested in learning more about the program, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Images via Shutterstock and the TechShare participants
Author: Larissa Warneck, Science Journalist at Labiotech.eu