The UK biotech sector has been boosted by news that Horizon Discovery plans to raise £25 million by listing on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market.

Horizon specialises in tools to support translational genomics research and the development of personalised medicines. Its technology creates genetically-defined and patient-relevant human cell lines, accurately modelling the disease-causing mutations found in cancer patients.

The Cambridge-based group notes that these ‘patients-in-a-test-tube’ are being used to identify the effect of genetic mutations on drug activity, patient responsiveness, and resistance, "which may lead to the successful prediction of which patient sub-groups will respond to currently-available and future drug treatments".

This approach of helping to identify the right drugs for the right patients has attracted a number of partners and Horizon has a number of big pharma deals in place, with the likes of Novartis, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim and, most recently, AstraZeneca. Revenues in 2013 reached £6.6 million, up 70% on the year before.

Darrin Disley, Horizon chief executive, said the company is at "a very exciting stage in its development", adding that the flotation will enhance its profile, "facilitating the expansion of our sales and distribution channels, expansion of our product lines and increasing opportunities to engage in leveraged R&D". It also "allows us to acquire additional IP and commercial offerings, including sales channels that will enhance our geographic reach".

The reaction to the flotation plans has been positive. Steve Bates, chief executive of the BioIndustry Association, said the listing is "a further sign that public market investors are once again recognising the potential of the bioscience sector in the UK and the London market".

Earlier this month, UK allergy specialist Circassia caused a stir by unveiling plans to raise £175 million with a flotation on the LSE's main market. Observers are waiting to see whether Europe's investors will once again start to embrace the biotech sector as their counterparts in the USA have with a vengeance; there have been a plethora of offerings across the Atlantic already this year.