Biotech Comes of Age: Bioline Floats at Half-billion Shekel Market Cap

Raised NIS 211 million, selling 45% of its shares

Bioline Therapeutics today pulled off its initial public offering in Tel Aviv, raising NIS 211`million at a company valuation of NIS 494 million, making this the biggest flotation by a biotechnology company in local history.

No less than 45% of its shares were issued to the general public.

Bioline was floated by the underwriting companies of Clal Finance Batucha, Leader, Excellence-Nessuah, Gaon, Africa Israel and Altshuler-Shaham.

After the offering, Bioline's leaders were invited to open trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange next Monday, when trading in the company's shares will debut.

Bioline was founded in 2003 by leading lights in Israeli life sciences, including Teva (TASE, Nasdaq: TEVA), the venture capital funds Giza and Pitango, and the university knowhow commercialization company Hadasit. Until its flotation, these and other shareholders invested $23 million cash in the company. They have also committed to investing $10 million more. Also, the Canadian bank Pan-Atlantic converted an NIS 38 million shareholders loan into equity.

The company hit the market at a run when the institutional phase of its IPO was 3.4x oversubscribed. At the public stage, Bioline meant to raise NIS 42 million, and was greeted by six times that figure in demand. The auction closed at the maximal share price, of NIS 7.40.

In November 2004, Bioline won a tender to set up a biotechnology incubator with support from the Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

The company is working on the development of ten drugs, of which three have reached the stage of clinical trials, or are about to, and two are at advanced preclinical development stages.

The company will be using the proceeds from its initial public offering to carry out clinical trials of  BL-1040, an anti-schizophrenia treatment.

In the first nine months of 2006 Bioline lost NIS 42 million. Being at an R&D stage, it has no customers, or revenues.