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AIM-listed biotech explores US float over ‘lack of UK interest’

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London-listed biotech company e-Therapeutics intends to cease trading due to a “lack of institutional UK interest”.

Founded in 2001, e-Therapeutics is a computational drug discovery firm that develops RNA interference therapeutics.

The company, which listed on London’s alternative market in 2009, issued a statement announcing its plan to raise £28.9m through the sale of 192,666,667 shares to funds managed by M&G, Richard Griffiths and existing shareholders.

The statement also announced its proposal to end trading on AIM and “explore the option of listing on Nasdaq in due course”.

CEO Ali Mortazavi said e-Therapeutics had stuck with AIM despite the “dramatic rise in the US biotech indices” in 2023.

However, Mortazavi said after an attempted capital raise roadshow in February and March of this year, “the board was extremely disappointed by the lack of institutional UK interest”.

The biotech CEO said the failure to secure “sufficient engagement from the vast majority of institutional investors” approached by the firm reflected the “risk appetite of the UK markets”.

“This trend has been a consistent theme over the last four years,” he said. “As such, we believe that there is a limited available audience on the AIM market.”

The decision from e-Therapeutics continues a trend of dissatisfaction from the tech sector over access to investor capital in the UK public markets.

Several UK-based tech companies, including Arm and Imagination, have opted for US listings, commonly citing greater access to capital in New York.

Among those currently listed in London, almost a quarter said there was no advantage in having floated in the UK and 60% found their experience as a publicly quoted company last year as negative, according to a YouGov survey.

A survey of unlisted UK tech firms from equity management platform Ledgy, however, found 72% favoured London as an IPO destination.

The government has made clear its intentions to boost the appeal of the London markets, with the UK financial watchdog tasked with reforming listing requirements to draw more IPOs to the capital.

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