Parisian IPO boomlet continues with Sensorion setting terms

The quick-fire pace of biotech IPOs in Paris is set to continue. Inner ear disease specialist Sensorion is the latest to set terms for an IPO that will see it join Cerenis Therapeutics (EPA:CEREN), Ose Pharma (EPA:OSE) and Poxel (EPA:POXEL) in a Parisian class of 2015 that has already almost swelled to the size of last year's crop.

Sensorion Managing Director Laurent Nguyen

Montpellier, France-based Sensorion is swinging for a €12 million ($12.9 million) IPO to finance the advancement of its pipeline of inner ear disease drugs through early and mid-phase clinical trials. Around one-third of the cash is earmarked for a Phase II trial of SENS-111, a histamine H4 receptor antagonist originally developed by Spain's Palau Pharma as a treatment for allergic rhinitis. Sensorion has repurposed the drug as a possible treatment for acute vertigo or tinnitus and advanced it into Phase Ib using up to €4 million it raised from Innobio and Inserm Transfert Initiative in January.

Sensorion spun out of Inserm--the French public health research institution--in 2009 and set about building a pipeline of drugs for diseases affecting the inner ear. The next drug scheduled to enter Phase II is SENS-218, a drug designed to prevent complications arising from lesions in the inner ear. Sensorion plans to allocate another third of its IPO haul to a Phase II trial of SENS-218, which is expected to get underway in the third quarter of 2016. The rest of the IPO cash will be divvied up between a preclinical program to protect the inner ear following chemotherapy and general tasks.

While the figures involved in the Sensorion listing are small, its willingness to go to public investors for cash is indicative of an upbeat start to 2015 for Parisian biotech IPOs. With Cerenis and Ose following Poxel on to the Paris exchange this week, the city is nearing the same number of life science IPOs that it managed in the entirety of 2014. Biotech market analyst Biocom tallied five IPOs last year, putting Paris just behind London on the list of the most active European exchanges. If the city can even come close to keeping up the pace set over the first few months of 2015, it will blast past last year's marker.

- read the prospectus (PDF, French)