UPDATE 1-Circassia seeks $285 mln in bumper UK biotech IPO
* Allergy firm tests European market for larger biotech IPOs
* Follows boom in biotech offerings in United States
* Funds to help bring cat allergy vaccine to market
By Paul Sandle
LONDON, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Circassia, a company developing allergy treatments based on a discovery by scientists at Imperial College in London, aims to raise about 175 million pounds ($285 million) of new funds in one of Europe's biggest biotechnology IPOs.
The stock market debut in London will help to bring its cat allergy vaccine to market.
Chief executive and co-founder Steve Harris said the proceeds of the flotation in London would also support the firm's programmes in other common allergies such as house dust mites, grass and ragweed.
Biotechnology has proven to be a hot investment in the past year in the United States, triggering dozens of initial public offerings (IPOs) - but the sector has been slow to catch fire in Europe.
That makes Circassia an important test of investor appetite for larger biotech offerings, according to Robin Davison, an analyst at Edison. Continued...