Largest placement ever for European biotech

Danish Genmab achieves the biggest private placement by a European-based life science company.

Genmab has the distinction of raising the largest ever private financing round for a European life sciences company.

The Danish developer of human antibody treatments announced today it had completed a $40.5m (E42.3m) financing round backed by leading international investors.

The financing round was led by Genmab's original backers, Geneva-based Index Ventures.

Apax Partners and Lombard Odier & Cie, a private Swiss bank, were among the new investors in the round.

Other existing investors who comitted new funds include BankInvest, Lonmodtagernes Dyrtidsfond, A/S Dansk Erhvervsinvestering and Medarex, another biotechnology company.

A pleased Genmab CEO Lisa Drakeman said: “We didn't set out to establish a record but we are very happy that we have.”

She also revealed that investment bankers in Europe and US had warned Genmab off launching an IPO in the current difficult market.

“Uniformly the bankers recommended that Genmab do another private round before an IPO,” she told PrivateEquityOnline from her Copenhagen office.

“This [financing round] was a good way to bring some capital into the capital and give us a chance to do more things than we do now, and give us more flexibility about the moment we do go public.”

Drakeman wouldn't comment on the European biotech sector generally, preferring to outline the reasons for Genmab's successful round.

“Our technology is very good. We are using the most advanced antibody technology available. We have a very experienced development team, we have a product in the clinic and three more coming behind.

“So I think this company had a lot to offer investors,” she said.

However, Drakeman was cautious about any future IPO plans: “We'll just watch the market and see if the window opens.”