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BRUSSELS, June 10 (Reuters) - Biotech group arGEN-X, which develops new drugs to treat cancer and autoimmune diseases, said on Tuesday it was planning an initial public offering (IPO) on the Brussels stock exchange.
The group did not disclose how much it intended to raise from the share sale, but Chief Executive Tim Van Hauwermeiren told Reuters he hoped the IPO would take place in the next month or so.
"Europe leaves on holidays at a certain point in July, we want to be listed before that," Van Hauwermeiren said.
For the planned transaction, the company has hired KBC Securities and Kempen & Co as joint global coordinators and joint bookrunners, Petercam as co-lead manager, and Wedbush PacGrow Life Sciences as selling agent.
Like peer Ablynx, which also has a research facility in Ghent, Belgium, arGEN-X bases its technology on the immune system of llamas, but unlike Ablynx it does not use tiny nanobody technology.
"We build our drugs based on conventional antibodies. Those animals can form a very powerful immune response to a cancer cell or another human disease," Van Hauwermeiren said.
ArGEN-X has two candidate drugs in clinical trials and others in pre-clinical development and has signed partnerships with major pharmaceutical groups such as Shire, Bayer and Boehringer Ingelheim.
The group said that if successful, these partnerships could trigger milestone payments of 1.3 billion euros ($1.8 billion).
$1 = 0.7345 Euros Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Miral Fahmy and Mark Potter