UK allergy specialist Circassia has caused a stir by unveiling plans to raise £175 million with a flotation on the London Stock Exchange's main market.

The company focuses on immunotherapies for the treatment of allergies such as cat, grass, house dust mite and ragweed, developed using Circassia’s ToleroMune technology. The latter  was initially developed at Imperial College London and up to now the company has raised £105 million to date from institutional investors.

Chief executive Steven Harris said the proceeds will provide the funds for the launch of Circassia's cat allergy treatment, Cat-Spire, which is in Phase III "but it will also contribute to delivering the final clinical phases of our ragweed, grass and house dust mite allergy programmes". He added that the cash will also be used to accelerate earlier-stage programmes.

The IPO has attracted attention for its size and also for the fact that Europe lags way behind the USA at the moment in terms of such fundings for biotech's. Steve Bates, CEO at the BioIndustry Association said it could "provide a boost for the whole sector", adding that "it is great to see public market investors in the UK showing an interest in potential bioscience IPOs. I hope…Circassia is the first of many".