German drug development company Jerini saw its first-day share price bounce up and down after it debuted on the Frankfurt stock exchange yesterday, although it ended the trading period level at 3.20 euros.

Jerini specialises in the discovery of peptide drugs and has a lead product – icatibant for a disease known as hereditary angioedema (HAE) - in Phase III trials. The company said it would use the proceeds from the initial public offering, around 49 million euros, to fund the marketing of icatibant, which has been predicted to have a sales potential of around 200 million euros.

HAE affects around 10,000 patients in the USA and Europe, and is a debilitating genetic disease characterised by recurring swelling attacks in various parts of the body. These attacks can be painful and sometimes life threatening as they can constrict the upper airways and lead to suffocation. Icatibant is designed to reduce the effects of bradykinin, a naturally occurring peptide hormone that is elevated in HAE patients and causes the swelling attacks, and is due to reach the market in 2006, according to Jerini.

Last month, Jerini had said it was aiming to raise 64 million euros, but subsequently decided to lower the IPO price from 3.60 to 3.20 euros in the face of a European IPO environment that has been described as ‘open, but tough’ by analysts at Burrill & Co. It is the second biopharmaceutical IPO in Germany this year after Paion, a company developing an anticoagulant therapy, floated at a debut price of 8 euros, at the lower end of its target range. Paion closed yesterday at 7.76 euros.

Meanwhile, European biopharmaceutical companies have been making the most of the IPO window this year, with Speedel and Arpida of Switzerland and Ardana of the UK all taking the plunge. And two French companies - Ipsen and ExonHit - are also planning IPOs this year – the first involving French companies since NicOx in 1999.