Danish biotechnology company Zealand Pharma has dropped plans to float on the stock market, saying the move would be too expensive. The firm, which specialises in the discovery and development of peptide drugs, said it could not secure a high enough price for its shares.

Chief executive Eva Steiness, said: "Obviously, it is disappointing that we couldn't convince new shareholders of the value of Zealand's products and research at this time.” But she noted the firm raised almost 200 million Danish kroner (26 million euros) earlier this year and has cash reserves of 320 million kroner.

Zealand has three drugs in clinical trials, and says it can continue to fund their development as a privately-held company. The pipeline includes:

  • ZP10 (AVE0010) for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, which has been licensed to Sanofi-Aventis (Phase II);
  • ZP123 (rotigaptide or GAP-486), a gap-junction modifying drug to prevent ventricular arrhythmia. This drug was licensed to Wyeth (Phase II);
  • ZP120, a diuretic for the treatment of acute heart failure (Phase II); and
  • ZP1846 for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced diarrhoea (preclinical).