Bloomberg News

Wilex Shares Jump Most in 2 Months on UCB Partnership

January 09, 2009

Wilex AG, a German biotechnology company part-owned by billionaire Dietmar Hopp, rose the most in more than two months in Frankfurt trading after Belgian drug company UCB SA (UCB) said it will take a stake.

Wilex, in which SAP AG founder Hopp holds 28.5 percent, gained 45 cents, or 16 percent, to 3.25 euros, the steepest gain since Oct. 29, increasing the company’s market value to 39 million euros ($52.6 million).

Wilex will acquire and develop UCB’s preclinical oncology portfolio of five programs in exchange for 1.82 million new shares, the companies said in statements today. UCB retains the right to take the portfolio back.

Since it was founded in Munich 11 years ago, Wilex has developed Rencarex and Redectane, two drugs for the treatment and diagnosis of renal cancer that are entering final testing. Wilex has not posted a profit as a publicly listed company.

“We are convinced that with the help of UCB we can successfully develop the oncological portfolio,” Chief Executive Officer Olaf Wilhelm said in a conference call. Wilex will hire more researchers, increasing its workforce of 64, to develop the portfolio, he said.

The transaction gives Brussels-based UCB, a global pharmaceutical company with 10,000 employees and a 2008 sales target of 3.3 billion euros, 13.2 percent of Wilex. UCB plans to contribute 10 million euros in cash, Wilhelm said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joseph Mapother in Frankfurt at jmapother1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net


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