Biotech firm puts float on ice over worries on crucial product

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A biotech company backed by Neil Woodford, one of Britain’s best-known fund managers, has put plans to list in London on ice.

San Diego-based Evofem, which specialises in women’s healthcare, had published a prospectus and intended to list this week on the Alternative Investment Market.

The company had planned to raise around $200 million (£140 million) to help launch new drugs into the market, but the deal was put on hold last night, the Evening Standard understands.

One potential shareholder said he would not be investing in shares because he was concerned about its timing. The flotation was to have proceeded about two months before the company knew whether it had approval from regulators in the US for one of its key products, a contraceptive gel worth $60 million a year to the company.

Woodford has a near 20% stake in Evofem, worth some £65 million. He  intended to increase this further if the flotation had gone ahead, sources said. Invesco, the firm where he used to work, has a near 50% stake.

Woodford will not charge a fee for one of his funds, Patient Capital Trust, after it lost value amid market jitters, it emerged today.

Evofem’s advisers JP Morgan and Cenkos declined to comment.

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March 23, 2016 |
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